Photo of a woman being treated by acupuncture

What does a treatment with a Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner (R.TCMP) entail?


Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM as it is often called is a medical system that dates back more than 2500 years. It encompasses many components such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, body therapies, and tai ji. TCM is uniquely different from yet in complement of western medical therapies.  According to TCM theory the energy of life or qi circulates throughout all the layers of the body through a system of channels called meridians.  Along these meridians lie over 500 acupuncture points that can be stimulated to allow the body to rebalance from the negative impacts of life or disease.

Acupuncture: As one major component of TCM, acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin, sterile needles into the skin at specific acupuncture points throughout the body. This helps to stimulate the flow of qi or energy within the body and stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities.  Today’s western science has revealed that acupuncture affects the body’s nerves and muscles, brings increased blood flow to areas, and stimulates endorphins, neurotransmitters and hormones. These influences can make acupuncture effective at relieving the discomfort and pain associated with a variety of conditions.

Herbal Medicine & Nutritional recommendations: Herbal medicine and food therapy encompass the second major component of TCM. According to TCM principles it is believed that food is medicine. Registered TCM Practitioners are trained in dietary management in accordance with Traditional Chinese Medicine principals. They are also educated in the use of vitamins, minerals and common herbs.  A personalized herbal formula may be created for you in addition to dietary guidelines to help treat conditions.

External Body Therapies:

Cupping: Cups made of thick glass or plastic are placed over particular points on the body. A vacuum is created within the cup to create gentle suction over the skin. This process opens up the skin’s pores to stimulate blood flow, break up obstructions and create a place for toxins in the body to be released. Cupping can be helpful for deep-set muscle pain in the neck, shoulder and back and for internal conditions resulting in fever, cough or asthma.

Moxibustion: Moxibustion is the use of ‘moxa’, a dried version of the mugwort plant. Moxa is formed into a number of shapes then safely ignited over top of cold regions of the body or specific acupuncture points.  The warmth of moxa helps to stimulate circulation that can be helpful for chronic fatigue, digestive issues, fluid accumulation and areas of coldness and weakness, such as areas with arthritis.

Gua Sha: Gua sha is an external treatment also called “scraping” or “dermal friction”.  It involves firmly rubbing a person’s skin with the smooth edge of a ceramic spoon or specific gua sha device. The purpose of gua sha is to release excesses in the body and stimulate healing. It can be helpful in cases where a stubborn old injury has resulted in scarring and poor range of motion.

Tui Na: Tui na (pronounced ‘twee nah’) is a therapeutic form of massage and acupressure that is used in TCM to relax and energize the meridians of the body.  It can be a helpful addition to treatments for back, neck, shoulder and knee pain, as well as the alleviation of stress and headaches.

Tai Ji: Tai ji (pronounced ‘tie gee’) was originally developed as a form of self-defense in ancient China but has evolved to become a self-paced gentle form of low impact exercise.   Often termed ‘meditation in motion’, tai ji links breath to movement, and provides stress relief and conditioning.