RIK EHMANN, LAc MQP
Asian Medicine is a unique and complex form of medicine built on a foundation of four pillars. The Chinese symbol for acupuncture is actually a two part symbol which translates as “acupuncture and moxabustion”: these are the first two legs of Asian Medicine and were primary methodologies that formed part of the foundation of Asian Medicine. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine filiform needles in acupuncture points, moxabustion is a traditional Chinese therapy using an herb called moxa (motherwort) to warm regions and acupuncture points; both are done with the intention of stimulating circulation and inducing a smoother flow of blood, thereby increasing the quantity of the blood available to the body. This increases the supply of nutrients available and speeds the removal of toxins. The third leg is herbal therapies and may actually predate acupuncture and moxabustion. Herbal therapy developed from food. Thus you will find many of the spices we cook with included in the Asian pharmacopoeia: ginger, turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon are examples of such spices. The pharmacopoeia has expanded over the intervening millennia to include thousands of other natural substances to create a rich, deep form of medical intervention that is an integral part of Asian medicine. Herbal and food therapy combine to increase the vitality of the blood, thereby assuring a richer supply of nutrients. The fourth pillar is the use of Asian bodywork, a combination of exercise and massage techniques. Many of the massage techniques developed from methods of healing injuries sustained in martial arts. The exercise forms developed as extensions of natural movements and are employed with the intention of activating and strengthening the body’s natural protective state. Asian medicine is a living medicine and continues to grow, incorporating modern techniques and modalities when it finds them effective and safe.
Asian medicine is a functional medicine. It seeks and addresses the root cause of disease and in that way mirrors traditional American medicine. American medicine was originally functional medicine also; diagnosis addressed the root cause of disease and the patient was often treated with herbal and other natural remedies.