Turning to Chinese Medicine on World Health Day





Turning to Chinese Medicine on World Health Day
by Carrie Elizabeth Sklar

Now that the time for New Year's resolutions is long behind us, many people have forgotten pledges they made to themselves to stay healthy throughout 2004. On World Health Day, April 7, we are again reminded of the importance of our health and well-being.

The 3,000-year-old practice of Chinese medicine has many easy and practical solutions to staying healthy. Massage, acupuncture, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are also effective ways to improve the body's overall health and vitality. They increase the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluids, reduce muscular tension, relieve pain, and release endorphins. Improved circulation brings fresh oxygen to body tissues, which eliminates waste products from inside the body and enhances recovery from diseases. By keeping the body balanced, Chinese medicine can both restore and maintain health.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong exercises consist of gentle movements carried out in a continuous, non-strenuous and systematic manner that allow every part of the body to exercise. Tai Chi and Qi Gong ease muscle tension and release blocks in the body's vital energy, or "Qi", and keep muscles strong and supple. The gentle movements and low physical impact of these activities make them perfect for aging bodies, those recovering from injury, or people looking to change up their exercise routine.

Acupuncture has been cited by the World Health Organization to treat over 43 conditions. Because of its many health benefits, more and more Americans are using Chinese medicine for healthcare. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 42 percent of all Americans are using complimentary therapies like Chinese medicine, spending more than $34 billion annually.

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine estimates that nearly one out of every 10 adults in the United States has tried acupuncture, and a survey conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association in 2003 indicates that 47 percent of those polled have tried massage therapy for pain relief.

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