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Chinese Medicine

Chinese Medicine or East Asian Medicine is a broad term to encompass the theories and practices of an ancient, complex and diverse medical system.  We are talking 3,000 years old ancient.  While in the United States, Chinese Medicine is almost synonymous with acupuncture, truly that is only one branch of the medicine.  Chinese Medicine can pull from a deep tool box of acupuncture, nutrition, bodywork, herbal medicine, Qi Gong and other therapies.  Its diagnostic method relies on few tools, instead using observation and inquiry to track patterns and is truly comprehensive in a way that differentiates it from allopathic medicine.  

What I love about Chinese Medicine is its perspective on the human being as unique and complex, but also a reflection of the natural world.  While diseases can have a scientific explanation, Chinese Medicine works to uncover the development of that disease and its inter-relatedness to other systems.  Ideally, with this understanding, we can also prevent the onset of illness by recognizing patterns. 

Often the terminology of Chinese Medicine is pulled from observations of nature and its influences - dryness, heat, cold, stagnation, damp.  While this gives the terms an almost poetic quality, it is also something that we can inherently relate to, because these influences permeate everything.  There is also a body of knowledge that underlies these associations and how to address them.  It is far more than metaphorical.

Emotions also play a very important role in our understanding of the development and progression of illness.  Different emotions manifest in the physical body in different ways and can inhibit our ability to heal.  There are also positive spiritual and emotional manifestations that we can tap into when moving into a state of health.  Working in this direction brings us into closer proximity to our Ming, destiny, and into greater harmony with our environment.

While I could go on about the beauty of Chinese Medicine theory, there is also a growing body of evidence for how acupuncture works scientifically.  The difficulty lies in that there are lots of explanations, many mechanisms, and no unified theory.  It is not just one thing that is happening.  There are neurological effects, hormonal effects, connective tissue changes and more, all associated with acupuncture.  And then there are the non-needling aspects of treatment, like the therapeutic relationship and the relaxing environment, that cannot be included in studies, but are nonetheless influential.  

If you are interested in learning more, I am happy to talk.  While this page may be a bit of a ramble, I have taught a fair bit on the subject of acupuncture and how it works and I am happy to tell you more.  (I taught the first year acupuncture class for several years and still teach an intro to Chinese Herbal Theory course).  Here are some other resources:


The Web that Has No Weaver by Ted Kaptchuk

Between Heaven and Earth by Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Korngold 

The Uncharted Body and The Spark in the Machine by Dr. Dan Keown - really amazing descriptions of how acupuncture works biomedically

Read more on the blog:


Herbal Medicine




Chinese Medicine - Amber Hincks Acupuncture in Beaverton, ORAmber Hincks offers Acupuncture in Beaverton, OR

Dr. Amber Hincks LAc FABORM
Beaverton, OR