What Is Oriental Medicine? 


Acupuncture is only one part of a 3,000 year-old medicine that has been practiced primarily in East Asia until recently, when it came to the United States in the 1970’s. Oriental Medicine includes Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese styles, all of which are similar yet embrace their own unique form. Oriental medicine and Western medicine are very different in their diagnosis and treatment approach, yet are both necessary for many of the complex conditions of today. Western medicine views the human body as a collection of separate systems. A patient being treated for a cough is only treated for their cough. This is where Western Medicine has excelled with regards to specialized physicians. If you suffered a heart attack, you would expect to see a Cardiologist, not a Podiatrist or Urologist. However, Oriental Medicine sees every functional process of the body as an intertwined and connected web, each element directly relating to the other. This is why your acupuncturist will ask you questions about your sleep, bowel movements and energy level even if your chief complaint is shoulder pain. The collection of symptoms creates a unique Pattern that is specific to each patient. For example, 10 different patients could each report a chief complaint of headache yet receive 10 different Pattern diagnoses, and therefor 10 different sets of acupuncture points and 10 different Chinese herbal prescriptions. Similarly, 10 other patients could report completely different complaints yet all receive the same Pattern diagnosis, same points, and same herbs.

While treating the body as a whole is the foundation of Oriental medicine, treating the symptom is still an important part, as this is often what brings the patient in the door in the first place. Using a “Root-Branch” approach can address the cause of the ailment (the Root) as well as relieving the manifested symptoms (the Branch). Someone suffering from insomnia may notice improved sleep after just one visit, but it is important to continue to peel back the layers until the root of the insomnia is addressed.

Acupuncture may be the most well known part of Oriental Medicine, as it has gained increasing popularity in the mainstream. Additional treatment modalities include, but are not limited to, Fire Cupping, Moxabustion, Electrical Stimulation (“E-Stim”), Gua Sha (scrapping the meridians with tools), Tui Na (Chinese medical massage), Bleeding & Plum Blossom, Oriental Nutrition, and Chinese Herbal Medicinals. One or more of these modalities may be combined with your acupuncture treatment to ensure the best results. 

Eastern Traditions Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 1643 Boulder Street, Suite 104. Denver, CO 80211. (720) 551-8408