Glossary Of Terms

Here is a small glossary of common terms used in Chinese Medicine.


Point:  A spot in the body that affects many different systems including the brain when stimulated by acupuncture or other methods.  Often times it moves around a little bit when it is out of balance.  An acu-point is a bio-electric or nerve related phenomena, it's not an anatomical thing.

Channel:  Many times labeled "meridian", a channel is like a blood vessel that conducts Qi energy throughout the body.  There are 12 main and 8 extra channels that have or share points in the body. There are other sets of channels that are very important, they don't have their own points; all told there are about 72 main channels. There are endless numbers of smaller channels throughout the body; while blood vessels, connective tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and nerves also circulate Qi energy. 

Qi:  Also spelled Chi, it is a type of Life Force energy that is the basis of biological life. It can be likened to the energy of oxygen and metabolism.  It is non material; what is noticed is the action of it, or it's effects.  It is fundamental to understanding how the body functions, rather than what makes it up.  Qi is more like the software and electricity running through the body, or like the magnetic field surrounding a magnet.  Every organ has it's own Qi.  Qi can be used up, lost and also can be restored, cultivated and built up.  The word Qi is an umbrella term for all kinds of energies and systems in the body and natural world.  The three main types of Qi in the body are Jing, Qi and Shen, which are known as the "Three Treasures."

Acupuncture:  The use of needles or other methods to stimulate points in the body to restore harmony and re-create balance for the purpose of helping the body and mind to heal itself.  Other methods include moxabustion (heat therapy), cupping, massage, electric stimulation and Medical Qi Gong.

Herbal Medicine:  The well tested and proven formulas of the most brilliant Chinese physicians of the past and present.  All formulas can be adjusted to fit the needs of each specific patient, while standardized formulas provide healing for most types of diseases.

Moxabustion:  Heat therapy to points or regions of the body utilizing herbal compounds either directly on the skin or above it.  The heat penetrates deeply to stimulate the body to heal itself.  Most people feel extremely good after receiving moxa treatments.

Tui Na:  A type of traditional Chinese massage that utilizes the principles and techniques of Chinese Medicine.  It can include joint and spine manipulation and figures prominently in the beginnings of Chiropractic Medicine.

Qi Gong:  Also spelled Chi Kung, it is an exercise system that focuses on increasing Qi flow in the body to promote healing.  It is low impact and very effective.

Shiatsu:  This massage is native to Japan and uses many parts of the Chinese Medical approach.  The emphasis is on using thumbs, hands and other body parts to deeply stimulate the point and channel systems along with associated muscles and joints.


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