Traditional Chinese Medicine in Boca Raton
Eduardo Aversano, L.Ac, Dipl. O.M.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
The primary concern of Traditional Chinese Medicine, inclusive of acupuncture, lies in the attempt to bring harmony to the patient. It is based on the principle that health depends on the balanced function of the body’s Vital Energy (Qi—pronounced “Chi”). Qi means matter on the verge of becoming energy. Disease represents an imbalance of that energy which manifests in the form of physical, mental, and/or emotional problems. The aim of treatment is to restore the harmony between the two equal and opposite qualities of Qi: the Yin and the Yang.
These opposites aren’t forces or material particles, nor are they mystical speculation. They are a theory based on the philosophical idea of two complementary poles. They can be described as names used to show how two things stand in relation to each other and in relation to the whole. In the Chinese language, the word YIN means nothing else than “the shady side of a mountain” and YANG “the sunny side of the mountain.” For example, no human being can be looked at separate from his or her relationship with other human beings; nothing exists on its own.
Yin and Yang, in relation to the human body, is looked upon as the following:
- Yin: Inside, structure, solid, right, front, below waist, interior, medial, fluid.
- Yang: Outside, function, hollow, left, back, above waist, posterior, lateral, energy.
A Brief History of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the U.S.
TCM came to the West in the 1960s-1970s. Before then TCM was considered by Westerners to be like witchcraft or magic because it was so different from allopathic (Western) medicine. (Even now some still people have that attitude; for them, only western science and medicine carry the truth and anything that is different is merely superstition). Others had a different view and, for them, the Chinese system and culture was older, holistic and more spiritual, and they concluded that it must be better. For them, TCM represented a religious system rather than the rational collection of knowledge and studies that it is. Both groups were, and are, far from the truth: one by putting it down due to ignorance, the other by putting it on a pedestal.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based upon manuscripts and research that began 2,000 years ago and continues today. In TCM certain aspects of the human body are considered important, aspects which are not considered important in Western medicine, and vice versa.
TCM also uses terminology that can seem strange to the western mind. For example, TCM uses words for certain diseases such as wind, dampness, or heat. Modern medicine doesn’t use these terms but it treats the same diseases.
Why Traditional Chinese Medicine is Different
As one can see, there are two different ways of reasoning and two different ways of curing. Western medicine is mainly interested in diseases and their causes. Practitioners will examine a symptom and try to discover what’s behind it or the specific cause of the disease. A good diagnosis in Western medicine is based upon a detailed description of a part of the body. This is called analytical thinking.
In TCM, on the other hand, practitioners concentrate on the physical as well as the emotional and spiritual aspects of the patient. All the information is important. They ask about the symptoms as well as other pains and ailments, digestion, sleep, bowels, urine, emotions, and more. All of this is put together in what is called The Disharmony Pattern. The Disharmony Pattern is a reflection of an imbalance in the body.
TCM diagnosis doesn’t reflect a disease but describes the state of the person. TCM practitioners ask, “Why does this person have this problem (disease)?” They do not ask, “Which X is the cause of Y?” but instead “What is the connection between X and Y?”
How Traditional Chinese Medicine Works
In TCM we don’t make an analysis but, instead, we find a synthesis by grouping everything related to the person, from the symptom to the physical and emotional aspects. Putting all of this together is the basis for treatment. The therapy involves restoring balance and harmony to the body.
Here is an example:
Three different people go to the hospital for stomach pain. Western medicine may take x-rays and or perform an endoscopy to find out if the patient has gastritis. However, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner looks at the symptoms differently:
Patient #1: This patient is strongly built and has a red face and low voice. He is assertive, even aggressive. Has constipation and his urine is a dark color. His tongue is yellowish and has a greasy coating. His pulse is strong and full. The TCM practitioner discovers that the pain gets worse with pressure and gets better with cold compresses. In this case, The Disharmony Pattern is “damp heat invading the spleen/stomach.”
Patient #2: This patient is skinny, his face is grayer but his cheeks are red. He is constantly thirsty and has clammy palms. He has insomnia, night sweats, and a tendency to become constipates. His tongue is dry and slightly red with no coating, and the pulse is weak and slightly fast. Here The Disharmony Pattern is “deficient Yin of the stomach,” which is very different from Patient #1. In this case, a different treatment will be prescribed.
Patient #3: This patient doesn’t like cold, has a pale face, gets tired easily, and needs lots of sleep. He has anxiety and worries easily. His tongue is pale and wet and his pulse is weak. This patient reports a dull, annoying stomach pain that feels better with massage and heat. It feels also better after food. Here The Disharmony Pattern is one of “deficiency of colds influencing the spleen and stomach.” This patient will receive a different treatment from the others.
While all three patients arrive with the same complaint, they all have different compositions and will all receive different individualized treatments.
As you can see in Western medicine, the disease is only a part of a person’s personality while in TCM we recognize other characteristics before recognizing the diseases. The Chinese system is therefore not less logical but less analytical.
The two systems are opposites and, for that reason, they are actually very compatible. Western and Chinese medicine can easily be administered at the same time and with excellent results.
Eduardo Aversano’s 36 years of experience combined with his warm and gentle approach make him one of the most sought-after experts in Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Hamptons and around the world.
We would love to answer any questions you have about Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Please contact us to schedule your consultation with Eduardo.
A Note from Our Founder
I wish to thank all my teachers: Dr. James Tin Yau So, Zhou Yunxian, Cheng Xinnong, Guo Xiao-Zong, and Dr. An for helping me understand TCM and giving me all the tools and knowledge to treat patients successfully for the past 36 years. My special thanks go to my teacher and friend Dr. Ted Kaptchuk, who was the inspiration in my path to becoming a healer. – Eduardo Aversano