Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese medicine relies on the principal of qi, or life force, and how it cycles through the body. Fundamentally, these practices work off the idea that disease, illness, and ailments are all caused by an imbalance of qi.

The Foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Qi imbalances, according to traditional Chinese medicine, are caused by changes in yin and yang. These opposites yet complementary forces make up qi’s quality. Yin composes the portion of qi that is cold, negative, dark, and feminine while yang represents the other half of qi that is warm, positive, light, and masculine.

According to TCM, when your yin and yang are balanced, you feel healthy. When either yin or yang are out of balance, this is when your body registers a sickness, disease, or ailment. Since TCM believes this is where illness originates from, its practices focus on bringing balance back to your flow of qi.

How Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Help?

Traditional Chinese medicine can help with a number of conditions. Many people find relief from the pain associated with longterm chronic ailments with the help of various TCM methods.

While TCM can have a number of applications, it’s often used to help:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Pain / Pain management
  • Depression
  • Diabetes, specifically its associated complications
  • Fertility disorders
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Nausea
  • Obesity
  • Recurrent cystitis
  • Pulmonary disease
  • And others

What to Expect During My First Visit?

During a first visit, you can expect your TCM practitioner to assess your health. TCM professionals use a combination of FOUR specific diagnostic methods.

1. Inspection (Visual Cues)

You can consider this as bodily clues. Your behaviour and appearance will be observed and assessed. Particularly, most professionals will look at the colour of your face, appearance of you tongue, and other physical indicators.

2. Auscultation or Sounds (2 & 3 are under Non-visible Cues)

The body makes a lot of noises, from breathing, coughing, and the sound of our voices. A practitioner will listen to these sounds and assess from there.

3. Olfaction or Smell

Smell can be a strong indication something is out of balance. A practitioner of TCM is going to note all smells, including body odour and breath.

4. Inquiry

This is the portion where the TCM professional listens to your experience of your pain or ailment. This will often be prompted through questions specific to your pain, sleep cycle, energy levels, digestive system, and other bodily functions. To understand your body holistically, questions will also be asked about your medical history.

5. Palpation or Touch

The touch portion of the assessment can vary greatly depending on the type of pain or illness you’re experiencing. The TCM practitioner will likely take stock of your pulse points and may feel at the areas where you are experiencing pain. Other touch points may be explored by the TCM professional as they deem necessary.

The Next Steps for Traditional Chinese Medicine

Once you’ve completed an assessment, your practitioner will recommend a course of treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine isn’t just one type of medicinal practice; it’s many. From Tui Na treatment (acupressure) and moxibustion to electroacupuncture, gua sha, prescription of Chinese herbal formulas, and others, the options for your treatment are many.

Learn more about the types of therapy offered at Clayton Heights by our certified professionals:

Tui Na treatment (Acupressure)

Tuina massage stimulates the flow of qi to promote balance and harmony within the body using many of the same principles of acupuncture. It’s similar to acupuncture in the way it targets specific acupoints, but practitioners use fingers instead of needles to apply pressure to stimulate these points.


Moxibustion is a form of therapy that entails the burning of mugwort leaves. This is a small, spongy herb that is believed to enhance healing with acupuncture. As such, the leaves are burnt close to the skin’s surface using a stick to apply heat.‌ The practice is derived from Chinese medicine.

What is moxibustion good for?

Moxibustion is used for: Pain due to injury or arthritis, especially in “cold” patterns where the pain naturally feels better with the application of heat. Digestive problems and irregular elimination. Gynecological and obstetrical conditions, including breech presentation in late term pregnancy. (malposition)

Electrical stimulation acupuncture

Electroacupuncture uses two needles in each meridian point, or acupuncture point, and then connects to a machine that passes a small electric current through the needle. ‌ Sometimes we add electrical stimulation or e-stim, an electrical current transferred through the dry needle that can help accelerate the pain-relief process. … On low frequency, the H-wave helps stimulate smooth muscle fibers to increase blood flow, which helps heal specific muscles or areas of inflammation more quickly.

Gua Sha

Gua sha is a traditional Chinese healing method in which a trained professional uses a smooth-edged tool to stroke your skin while they press on it. This motion raises small, red, rash-like dots that show under your skin called petechiae. 

Tim uses Gua Sha for excessive body heat (in Traditional Chinese Medicine Term)


Acupressure is an ancient healing art that’s based on the traditional Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture. With acupressure, you put pressure on specific places on your body. These places are called acupoints. Pressing these points can help release muscle tension and promote blood circulation.

Ting Yuen Tjiong, TCM (Tim)

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Patient Forms and Resources

For new patients, our Patient Intake Form is available online for you to print and complete at your leisure. We also have WCB and ICBC forms available for download.

Patient Intake Form Clayton Heights Chiropractic

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