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Glossary

Glossary

Acupuncture – A application of TCM which inserts needles on very specific points of the body to treat and heal.

Cupping 拔火罐 – Ba Huo Guan – Alternatively called fire cupping, a form of TCM in which glass or sometimes bamboo cups are heated with fire and placed on directly on the skin.  Cupping is thought to relax muscles and ease tension, draw toxins out of the body, and reinvigorate Qi and blood circulation. It is most commonly used for the common cold, pneumonia and bronchitis, and extreme muscle tension.

Decoction – The potent herbal liquid produced from the boiling, and reboiling, of medicinal herbs.
To make a decoction, first lightly wash the herbs. Then bring a pot of water to boil, add the herbs and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for specified length of time (depends on the herbs). Pour herbal liquid into a large glass or bowl, keeping the herbs in the pot.  Add more water to the pot.  Boil, then simmer again. Add hot herbal liquid to the glass. This is the decoction. Drink combined herbal liquid as prescribed.

Dosha – Ayurveda concept of different types of energies that are always present in the body in varying amounts. Doshas are formed by the Five Ayurveda Elements of Ayurveda combining in different proportions. Typically we speak of Three Doshas (Tri Dosha):

  • Vata (space and air),
  • Pitta (fire), and
  • Kapha (water and earth).

Five Elements 五行 – According to the textbook, Fundamental Theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, “the Five Elements refer to the movement and change of the Five Elements of the world, namely wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Chinese ancients recognized in their long period of life practice that wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are the essential materials in human life[… These five materials] explain the motion and changes of inter-promotion and inter-restriction among all things and phenomena in nature.” Everything found in nature and life can be categorized within the 5 elements, including materials/objects, flavors, personalities, organs, etc. They interact to support and promote each other and to restrict and control each other.

Five Flavors 五味 – According to the textbook, Chinese Material Medica, “the traditional meaning of the five flavors refers to the true savor of both food and medicinals. These flavors include pungent (spice), sweet, sour, bitter, salty, as well as bland and astringent [usually grouped with sour]. In ancient times it was realized that the flavors of Chinese medicinals had definite relationship with the efficacies. […] It should be noted, the ‘flavor’ in five flavors goes beyond the personal sense of taste and becomes an abstracted theory based on clinical experience.” The five flavors are categorized into the five elements, and each flavor serves a different function within the body.

Functional Foods – Foods that are thought to have medicinal or various healing properties associated with them.

Meaningful Use – A qualification to receive federal funding for health information technology, such as using Electronic Health Records in a meaningful way.

Meridian – Meridians are central to TCM and understanding why/how acupuncture and acupressure works the way it does. Meridians are channels along which energy and Qi flows through the body.  The 12 Standard Meridians each connect a different major organ with a specific surface level channel.

TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine – An ancient form of healing that originated in China.  TCM considers the person’s unique constitution in diagnosing and treating, instead of looking at individual symptoms.  TCM’s approaches include acupuncture, tuina, herbal medicine,  and diet therapy, as well as moxibustion, cupping, scraping, tajiquan, and qigong.

Tonify – To strengthen or improve quantity and quality. A TCM verb meaning is good for.

Tuina 推拿 – Tuī Ná – A form of massage or manipulation that is one major component of TCM.

Yin 阴 – Cold, female, dark, winter, weak, moon, passive, quiet. The front side or lower part of the body is the yin part. Women are expected to have more yin as yin is female.

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