Mainstream Versus Chinese Medicine
Mainstream versus Chinese medicine have been ongoing for countless years. Ye olde east versus west. In that regard we decided to bring in a professional in order to unlock the mystique of these ancient procedures and their efficacy in our modern world.
To this end we have it in mind to do a short series of articles, each one showcasing a facet of this mysterious practice. There is a lot to it. Everything from herbal remedies to acupuncture, to mind/body relationships.
Chinese Health Care Practices
The expert is Logan Grundy, R.TCM.P, R.Ac (registered traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and registered acupuncturist). Logan plies his craft in the Koa Acupuncture Clinic located in Kelowna, B.C. Canada and the Rose City Wellness Clinic in Vernon, B.C. Canada.
His scope of practise includes acupuncture, electroacupuncture, herbology (internal and external), cupping, guasha (a form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization), as well as individualized lifestyle, exercise, and dietary recommendations.
In short, healing the body inside and out.
He will lead us through the myriad avenues of Chinese medicine. Here is an interview that will hopefully answer some of your questions and explain this ancient art in greater detail:
What made you go into this field? How has any of it helped you, personally?
After finishing high school I thought I would never go back to school. However after a stint as a rappel firefighter, I decided it was time for a less rigorous career. I’ve always had an interest in sports, health and optimizing our physiology and life. I never had the interest to be a general practitioner so I was between physio and acupuncture and chose acupuncture because I had so much experience with it and such good results. From around 10-12 years old I was going for acupuncture regularly to help with a very weak immune system. Now I have no issues with my immune system and rarely get sick in a year and if I do it is very mild.
That is the first story in how it has helped me. But since then it has formed my general outlook on health and lifestyle practices; that being good eating habits, sleep, exercise, balancing worldly stress with relaxation and time in nature. Where I use it most now is just to keep my body out of pain. From 7 years of fighting fires and lots of hockey and football as a kid I definitely have been hard on my body. I will often needle myself or get a coworker to do it just to keep the small stuff from becoming any bigger of an issue.
Explain the difference between mainstream versus Chinese medicine. East versus west, sort of.
In very simplified language I would generally say Chinese medicine is preventative and western medicine is acute medical care.
The thought process is different. Western medicine most definitely has its place but western medicine is very politically/ big pharma/ insurance company driven. It is more often looking at symptoms and masking the problem.
Chinese medicine looks at the bigger picture of why that symptom is present and addresses it from both ends. Providing both symptomatic relief but also the cause of the symptom and deciphering what the bigger picture is and what caused it in the first place.
I think Chinese medicine also requires more from the patient to get better than western medicine does. We guide the body in healing, where western medicine can at times be strong enough to deal with the problem without the person doing anything.
Example: Western medicine’s approach to diabetes.
Often if we just addressed the issue earlier they would never get to the point of having type II diabetes. But doctors don’t have time to talk to patients about proper diet and exercise. Often it gets to a point where they have diabetes that needs to be medicated and the person still hasn’t made the lifestyle change.
Chinese medicine, yes acupuncture and herbs are used to help guide their body in the right direction but really the biggest change will come from a lifestyle change. So I take more time to talk to them about what needs to change and then use my medicine to assist that process.
List all the treatments you perform as well as therapy, nutrition and Chinese herbal medicines with just a little explanation of each.
Generally, treatment is all-inclusive depending on what the patient needs. Acupuncture is performed in nearly every treatment, but also might include an herbal formula for the patient to take home or add some cupping after the needles. Something like that, or give them an exercise to perform at home that will benefit their condition.
Acupuncture, electroacupuncture, cupping, guasha (a form of scraping also often called graston), soft tissue work/ Chinese massage/ tuina, herbs (singles, formulas, internal, external, often I will do pill form for patient compliance), physical rehabilitative exercises, nutritional suggestions/ supplementation,/ recommendations for the nervous system often breathing related or sleep hygiene.
Acupuncture is the insertion of small needles into the body at specific locations to elicit specific responses from the body.
Electroacupuncture most often gets used in musculoskeletal pain patients. Use it for its effects on the nervous system, increase in blood flow and decrease in inflammation as a result. It can also be powerful in blocking pain signals by releasing our natural endorphins.
Cupping creates a negative suction in the cup which causes decompression of the layers of tissue and increases blood flood and draws out metabolic waste.
Guasha, depending on how you do it, can serve a couple of purposes. It can provide proprioceptive feedback to the body, has an effect on the fascia, increases in local circulation, and creates an anti-inflammatory response.
Soft tissue work – after acupuncture there is a window of opportunity where tissue is more pliable. This is a great time to work on adhesions and fibrotic tissues
Herbs – topically mostly for pain or dermatological use. Internal use is very broad. Mechanism of action can be viewed through an eastern or western lens.
The multi-facets of this ancient practice are fascinating and so much more practical than “traditional” medicine. In this series we will delve more deeply into their methods as well as the reasoning behind these successful cures.
We will explore, with Logan’s help, what Chinese herbal medicines work the best for what ailments. And we’ll learn why they work so well, as well as where we can obtain them.
We hope that thus far we have helped to demystify or clarify the fundamentals of mainstream versus Chinese medicine and Chinese healthcare practices. Stay tuned for the upcoming article on herbal medicine the Chinese way.