Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese and East Asian Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest continuously used systems of medicine in the world. Its historical use dates back over two thousand years. Unlike traditional allopathic medical care (Western medicine), TCM takes a holistic view of the person and places equal importance on mental, emotional, and physical symptoms, viewing the mind and body as interlinked parts of a whole. Diagnosis is achieved, not by focusing on a single symptom, but by considering the pattern formed by the overall functioning of each system of the body. When the body’s individual systems are able to work in harmony, energy can move freely throughout the body, resulting in improved health. There are several components to TCM, including:
- Dietary guidance
- Lifestyle counseling
Acupuncture involves using extremely thin steel filaments to redirect and rebalance the body’s natural energy systems. There is a growing body of evidence that acupuncture may help alleviate muscle tension, pain, and anxiety, and improve mood, energy, sleep, and digestion.
Cupping has recently become popular in sports medicine after many Olympic swimmers were seen sporting the distinctive round marks that follow a good session. Cupping has been used across the globe by many cultures as a traditional remedy for alleviating muscle pain and promoting tissue regeneration.
Moxibustion, or moxa, is a traditional modality in which a dried preparation of the herb mugwort, frequently in a smokeless charcoal form, is burned on or near acupoints in order to introduce energy into the system. It may help promote circulation and healing.
Traditional Chinese herbology is a comprehensive system based on the empirical research of TCM practitioners over the last two thousand years. The Chinese government has sponsored many clinical trials that support their use for many health conditions. Herbology practitioners first learn several hundred individual herbs and then move on to study several hundred commonly used formulas, as well as their customization for each individual’s presentation. Unlike traditional European herbalism, the herbs in each formula are chosen to complement one another and work as a team.
The traditional Chinese dietary system regards food as medicine, assigning specific qualities to each individual ingredient. By considering the person’s presentation and pattern of symptoms, a diet can be chosen that can help bring balance to the system.
Traditional Chinese medical lifestyle counseling is informed by Daoist ideals, which emphasize harmony and balance. By considering the individual’s presentation, emotional state, and daily schedule, we work together to find solutions that promote healthy lifestyle choices while respecting the client’s dignity and autonomy.
Sue Cook, MS, MSW, L.Ac, is our Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner & Acupuncturist and has a Master’s degree in Traditional East Asian Medicine from Pacific College of Health and Science and a Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. She has been in practice as an acupuncturist for the last eight years and is in the process of becoming a licensed social worker.
“I love to use acupuncture in supporting my clients in their journey to reconcile and heal their bodies and mind. I have worked extensively with trauma survivors, people with chronic illnesses and pain, and LGBTQ2IA emerging adults. I am sex/kink/polyamory-positive, body-neutral, and sex-worker affirming. I strive to acknowledge and to combat the systemic impact of White supremacy, including its relationship to fatphobia, transphobia, and ableism. I use my own personal experiences dealing with chronic pain and trauma to fuel my compassionate, common-sense approach to treating my patients. My specialties and current interests include sports injuries, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, trauma recovery, sexual and reproductive health, IBS, and autoimmune diseases. I am honored to be working with such a skilled and thoughtful team of healers! I believe that trauma is a story that is written on both the body and mind; it is important to bring the body back to a place of safety in order for the mind to recover. I am so excited to be able to be part of a group that recognizes the importance of a holistic approach to trauma recovery.” – Sue Cook, MS, MSW, L.Ac
If you are interested in learning more about this healing process, please contact Sue Cook, MS, MSW, L.Ac, our Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner & Acupuncturist. We will walk you through our process, arrange an initial intake session and discuss individual healing options. If you decide to book an acupuncture appointment, here is what you should know before your session:
Please wear comfortable, loose clothing to your acupuncture session. We recommend you eat something light about an hour beforehand so your blood sugar remains steady. After we conduct a detailed interview, you will lie on a massage table to receive the needles. Acupuncture needles are much thinner than the ones used for vaccinations, so they cause minimal discomfort, similar to the sensations of plucking an eyebrow hair or eating sour candy. Acupuncture can induce feelings of deep relaxation and even euphoria, so please allow yourself some free time after your session to enjoy your renewed wellbeing.