The 5 Pillars of Healing in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system that has been practiced in China for thousands of years. TCM practitioners believe that an illness occurs when qi, the vital force that flows through the body of every living being, stagnates due to a blockage. Unlike western medicine which focuses on treating diseases, TCM looks at one’s entire well-being.

Acupuncture Mama is the leading acupuncture therapist in Sonoma County who provides the healing practices of traditional and herbal Chinese medicine through their acupuncture services. There are five pillars of TCM-Moxibustion, Tui Na, Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Qi Gong. These 5 pillars work together to provide total wellness. Our team of professional acupuncture therapists has compiled a list of each of the pillars and how they are used in overall wellness.


Moxibustion or Maxa involves burning rolled sticks of the herb Mugwort on or near the body’s meridian. This is done to warm and penetrate the acupoints and meridians. Like every other TCM technique, the aim of moxibustion is to improve the flow of Qi and promote overall wellness.

Moxa is usually burnt an inch or two above the surface of the skin. People report experiencing warmth that moves along specific meridians after a moxibustion treatment. Moxibustion is used to treat several ailments such as ulcers, back pain, and headaches.

Tui Na

Tuina or tui na is an ancient form of massage. Like acupuncture, tui na focuses on healing energy blockages by targeting acupoints, but tui na practitioners use fingers instead of needles. Depending on the type of massage used, Tui na practitioners change the speed and force of pressure applied.


Unarguably the most popular TCM technique, acupuncture involves inserting needles through the skin at specific points on the body to heal energy blockages. Acupuncture works by stimulating the brain to produce feel-good hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and oxytocin.

Acupuncture is used to treat everything from mild headaches to serious mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. It is drug-free and non-invasive. Any pain or discomfort after a treatment usually dissipates within 24-48 hours. Acupuncture can be used as a standalone treatment or combined with other therapies to treat health problems.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Many TCM practitioners consider Chinese herbal medicine in Sonoma County the most important pillar of TCM. TCM practitioners have been using herbal remedies to treat specific ailments for thousands of years.

Chinese herbs can be consumed as a tea, tinctures, or herbal pills. Some commonly used herbs in Chinese herbal medicine include kudzu, Dong Quai, Lycium, astragalus, ginkgo, ginseng, Gotu kola, ginger cinnamon, and red yeast rice.

Depending on one’s health condition, a TCM practitioner may combine different herbs. There are four types of herbal formulae-ministerial, deputy, assistant, and envoy.

Qi Gong

Qi gong focuses on promoting overall health through specific postures, breathing techniques, and movements. The TCM technique works by warming muscles and ligaments, toning vital organs, and promoting circulation. It can help reduce blood pressure and cope with frustration and stress.

Acupuncture Mama is a trusted acupuncture clinic serving Sonoma County. We use acupuncture to promote physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. To make an appointment, call (707)303-7200.

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