• Dr. Monica L. Hilton, DACM, LAc

What is TCM?



Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world dating back over four thousand years. Its basic principles are rooted in the philosophy of Yin and Yang in which all things are interconnected. Many of the concepts associated with Chinese medicine theory, such as qi (pronounced “chee”) have no true equivalent in Western medicine. Qi is the vital force behind the body’s many functions and is responsible for maintaining the body's healing abilities. It flows through the body via pathways called meridians or channels. When qi flows freely the body is healthy but when its flow becomes imbalanced or blocked it can lead to illness, pain, or weakness. Factors that influence qi flow include diet, sleep, exercise, lifestyle, emotions, and the environment.


TCM works to correct these imbalances by promoting an even flow of qi throughout the body thereby restoring health and wellness. In addition to acupuncture TCM treatments include Chinese Herbal Medicine, Cupping, Moxibustion, Gua Sha, TCM Nutrition, Tui Na, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong. Let’s review the TCM treatment methods offered at Hilton Acupuncture:


Acupuncture is the most recognized treatment method of TCM and consists of the insertion of fine, hair-like needles into specific points along the body. There are 365 classical acupuncture points, each with a distinct therapeutic action. Acupuncture points are selected based on the patient’s symptoms and diagnosis according to TCM theory. Acupuncture can be used treat a variety conditions from pain to fatigue to hypertension. You can review a list of conditions we treat here.


Cupping uses glass cups or globes to promote the circulation of qi and blood. It also has the ability to warm the meridians, remove obstructions, and open the pores to help draw toxins out of the body. Cupping is often used to treat respiratory conditions such as cough and asthma, gastrointestinal disorders, and certain types of pain.


Moxibustion requires the burning of the Chinese herb Ai Ye (Mugwort) to warm the meridians and stimulate the flow of qi and blood. It is often used to treat what we call cold or stagnant conditions but it can also be used to prevent illness and maintain health. Common conditions treated with moxibustion include acute & chronic pain, digestive issues, fatigue, frequent urination, and some gynecological disorders.


Chinese Herbal Medicine involves the use of berries, seeds, bark, flowers, and leaves for medicinal purposes. Some animal products and mineral substances are also used. Several herbs are combined to form a Chinese herbal formula based on the patient’s constitution and TCM diagnosis. Chinese herbal formulas can be prescribed alone or in conjunction with acupuncture treatment.


TCM Nutrition focuses on using foods for their energetic properties to correct imbalances within the body. Dietary recommendations are made based on the patient’s needs according to TCM theory and diagnosis. Like Chinese herbal medicine, foods are selected based on their function, temperature, flavor, and ability to influence a specific organ or channel.


Our practitioner may use one or a combination of the treatment methods listed above to address your healthcare needs. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a great investment in your quality of health and overall well-being. Contact us today to learn how Hilton Acupuncture can help you on your journey to optimal health. 😊



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