Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been evolving over the past 2,000 years, and is very much a phenomenon in the United States.

TCM builds on the idea that to achieve overall wellness, a connection of mind and body must be established. The combined energy of a person’s qi (vital life force), other complementary forces called yin (passive) and yang (active), and the TCM-specific five elements--fire, water, earth, wood, and water--can deliver on-point treatment for a great number of issues, the practitioners believe.

It's now common to see many a beauty influencer gushing over Gua Sha, which is a time-honored face muscle manipulation device used to bolster skin’s firmness and delay aging. Gua Sha’s application isn’t solely restricted to the face, as the scraping method is also used across the body to address chronic pain.

You may have also heard of “cupping” which is used as part of TCM. The method focuses on the release of the stagnation of blood and lymph, thereby improving the qi flow, which, in turn, treats many respiratory diseases, such as the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis.

However, it is only natural to speculate whether these treatment options really do work wonders. To understand this, we must first learn what TCM is all about.

What is TCM?

TCM, like Indian Ayurveda, is one of the oldest forms of healthcare, which is centered around natural treatments like acupuncture, herbal remedies, dietary advice, and exercise (tai chi). It is a holistic approach to healing by establishing mind-body harmony. Oftentimes, people steer clear of such old methods, doubting their merits to deliver effective and long-term results, but here are 25 good reasons why such views about TCM are baseless:

1. TCM could solve many organ-related issues

“Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats a number of issues and approaches treating ailments from a holistic perspective. A variety of symptoms are treatable such as pain, IBS, colitis, infertility, neuropathy, arthritis, insomnia, stress, and depression. TCM can treat chronic and/or acute problems as well,” Simone Wan, founder of new Traditional Chinese Medicine brand IN:TotalWellness, told Forbes.

Herbs and spice on board
Herbs and spice on board Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

2. It outweighs the risk factors of western medication

“Both women and men of all ages visit me in my clinic. I’ve seen infants for colic and people in their 90s for pain. Western medicine plays a huge role in people’s health care. Sometimes a client would visit me to avoid using Western medicine as many pharmaceutical medicines come with risky side effects,” said Wan.

Daily medications placed on a container. Pixabay

3. It gives effective cancer protection

According to a study published in The Journal of Traditional & Complementary Medicine, TCM has a rich antioxidant profile that lowers oxidative stress and inflammation, thus protecting cells, tissues, and organs against cancer.

cancer magnified
The "Big C" shouldn't be a cause for shame. PDPics - Pixabay

4. TCM is majorly non-invasive

TCM encompasses herbal medicines and some mind-body practices. Even though several procedures would require stimulation of muscles or oral consumption of herbs, only acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin and many strategic points in the body.

Scientists have discovered the science behind acupuncture's ability to lower blood pressure. Photo courtesy of Reueters/Shannon Stapleton

5. TCM is gaining recognition on the global stage

Heeding the years-long campaign by TSM advocates, the World Health Assembly, the governing body of the WHO, gave its nod to integrate the therapy into mainstream healthcare. Many medical communities called out the move, citing the toxicity of certain Chinese herbs. But there is a growing body of evidence that TCM has found a place on the global stage as a trusted clinical practice, as many opened up about benefiting from a broad range of conditions.

Herbs and spice on board
Herbs and spice on board Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

6. You are allowed to remain fully clothed during the procedure

While many may not like the idea of stripping down for a stranger during massage practices. TCM, during Tui Na (traditional Chinese massage therapy), doesn’t require you to be naked.

Massage Therapy
If you can, get the knots out of your tight neck and shoulder muscles with a professional massage. Image from DR-HO'S

7. The health benefits of Tai Chi (shadowboxing)

Tai Chi or shadowboxing is a gentle form of exercise that is an integral part of the TCM method. Aptly described as the "meditation in motion," it gives you both mindfulness and myriad other health benefits.

tai chi
Tai chi is a low-impact form of exercise often described as "meditation in motion." Photo courtesy of Pixabay

8. TCM is deemed safe for even those with crucial heart or lung conditions

Research over the years has built a compelling case for TCM as the safest way to treat many medical problems, including stroke, heart disease, and even psychological disparities.

stroke 1
Do you know the signs of a stroke? Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

9. TCM has a robust market size

TCM now boasts of a market size that reached past the 18 million mark in 2021, which proves more and more people are joining the growing network.

Traditional Chinese medicine
Employees work at a traditional Chinese medicine shop in Shanghai, China, September 16, 2015. Reuters/Aly Song

10. TCM has a different approach to health altogether

TCM practitioners believe that emotions and physical health are intrinsically connected and they, therefore, aim to regulate a person’s emotional reactions to treat the overall health.

Photo from Pixabay

11. Cupping is an old method to improve posture

This healing method involves placing cups on the skin to create suction. The pressure, in turn, unlocks vital energies that heal many conditions like poor posture, muscle strain injury, etc. Celebrities from Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Victoria Beckham to Michael Phelps, Ian Kennedy, Steven Adams, and Alexander Naddou, all have tried their hands at integrative therapy and reaped benefits.

"Cupping therapy is one of the most ancient and revered healing techniques,” Dr. Jessica Duncan Propes, Atlanta-based doctor of chiropractic specializing in sports injury management, recovery, and wellness care, told Forbes.

female athlete training
Female athlete working out. Scott Webb / Pixabay

12. Some TCM herbs have aphrodisiac qualities

Some TCM herbs, such as horny goat weed, Bird’s nest, Ginseng, and Goji Berries are known to boost your performance between the sheets. It is known to boost many kidney and liver problems as well.

Studies show that having sex may come with a variety of health benefits. Pixabay

13. TCM can treat depression

Depression is a multi-genetic syndrome. Antidepressants don’t go a long way in treating the psychological condition, as the body grows resistant to them. Traditional Chinese Medicine has historically been proven to treat depression effectively up till today.

Depression screening can save lives. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

14. TCM dietary therapy corrects organ imbalances

TCM dietary therapy is considered a powerful tool to treat organ imbalances. Through different branches of TCM, namely acupuncture, herbal therapy and Qi Gong (therapeutic movement exercise), optimal healing results can be provided to the body.

chinese herbal medicine
People have used traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, so it's no surprise that an herb known as the Thunder God Vine shows promise in treating rheumatoid arthritis (possibly) better than current medications. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

15. TCM slows down aging

TCM has profound anti-aging values, and the statement is backed up by many peer-reviewed studies. The naturally active chemicals in the herbs can treat aging-associated disorders.

People continue to seek the best treatments for wrinkles that appear in most parts of the body as people age. Pixabay

16. TCM aids digestion

Digestive health works hand in hand with overall benefits, and many TCM herbs like Cinnamon bark, Hawthorn berry can effectively tone down the digestive fire of an irritated stomach and improve overall gut health.

The stomach and brain connection is complex in how it regulates appetite. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

17. TCM improves sleep apnea

Getting a restful snooze through the night may seem like a distant dream for those with a sleeping disorder. Sleep disorders are usually attributed to an irritated stomach and dwindled blood circulation. Consuming a hot cup of chrysanthemum tea before bed cools down the stomach, whilst adding some Goji berries to the tea improves blood circulation.

Deep Sleep
With so many factors that can disrupt your sleep, it is difficult to get a full eight hours of sleep every night. GhostBed

18. TCM is helpful for dementia patients

Dementia is a brain disease that destroys brain cells and the cognitive abilities of a person, especially among those who have crossed 60 years of age. The most common type of dementia, named Alzheimer’s Disease, can be very well addressed by acupuncture, a study said.

Positive attitudes towards aging, social stimulation, a healthy BMI, and adequate sleep have all been linked to a reduced risk of dementia. Anders Nord/Unsplash

19. TCM is beneficial for young kids

Debunking the myth that TCM is ineffective for young children, a study noted that it prevents a number of illnesses from occurring and after that recurring. There has also been a growing trend of parents trying out TCM to build up immunity in children.

Kids Lunch
An image showing kids eating lunch together. Amanda Mills/Pixnio

20. TCM improves bone health

The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that osteoporosis is a systematic bone disorder characterized by reduced bone mass and microarchitectural degeneration of osseous cells, which makes them vulnerable to fracture. A study noted that through TCM-related herbal medication, acupuncture, food, and exercise, bone regeneration is possible.

Breaking a bone can impact almost every aspect of a person's life. Getty Images Christopher Furlong / Staff

21. TCM treats Candidiasis

Candidiasis is a condition that stems from the overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called Candida albicans. The major concentration of this fungus is seen in the mouth, vagina, intestines, and other organs. Acupuncture is a potent method to fight off Candida as well as recurring yeast infections and thrush in the mouth.

Your mouth may be able to tell you about your mortality. Bradley Gordon (CC BY 2.0)

22. TCM has remedial properties against COVID-19

Last year, a WHO panel recommended the use of traditional Chinese medicines, saying they help treat the symptoms and thereby reduce the risk of progression from mild-to-moderate cases.

The Benefits of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
The Benefits of Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond Usplash

23. TCM can cure infertility

Move over painful IVF sessions, as TCM has a bountiful source of attributes that can solve many issues with the reproductive system and restore fertility.

Nearly half of all American women do not have a child. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

24. TCM helps reduce stress

TCM methods, such as acupuncture and moxibustion, generate relaxing responses and the healing compounds in the herbs manage stress levels, and promote calmness, tranquility, and rest.

people stress
The scientific reason why controlling your breathing can help you keep calm in stressful situations. Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

25. Acupuncture enhances one’s appearance

Cosmetic acupuncture, alternatively known as facial acupuncture, is also a part of TCM, which improves skin elasticity in the regions like head, face, and neck. As a result, skin health appears plumper and appears healthy from within.

Acupuncture offers a number of health benefits, including reduced stress, body pain and improved fertility. Pixabay