Chinese medicine uses a wide variety of methods to treat pain, injury, or enhance stamina and performance. Some treatment methods are specialties of what is known as Die Da Ke (跌打科), or "Fall and Hit Medicine" - the medicine martial artist physicians focused on.
In China, herbal medicines are the primary therapy associated with Chinese medicine. Herbal medicines can be taken internally as teas, powders or pills, and are commonly used to treat chronic or acute pain, or traumatic injury. The use of herbs externally on the body is a special treatment method in the Die Da Ke (跌打科) specialty that is much less commonly seen in the west today. Topical herbal formulas can be used as poultices, creams, liniments, compresses, or other formats. To learn more about the various forms of herbal medicines please click here.
Dr. McCann makes external herbal formulas by hand in the traditional way, including poultices, creams, liniments and compresses. Some formulas can be purchased for home use, or for use in the martial arts training hall or, for other athletes, the gym.
Acupuncture is one of the other main methods of treatment in Chinese medicine. Acupuncture is very effective in treating pain, and there is copious research that proves its efficacy with, for example, back pain, headache and migraine, pain of arthritis, etc...
One of the powerful acupuncture methods of martial arts medicine is known as Six Harmonies Acupuncture (六合針法). Six Harmonies Acupuncture is based on the theory of Six Harmonies from the internal martial arts of Xingyi (Hsing I) and Taijiquan (T'ai Chi Ch'uan), and also on the Daoist concept of unity between humanity and nature (天人合一). In this method the acupuncturist chooses points almost exclusively away from the site of pain rather than simply, and less effectively, needling where it hurts.
Other External Therapies
In addition to acupuncture and topical Chinese herbal medicine, Die Da Ke (跌打科) practitioners utilize methods such as cupping. Gua Sha (刮痧), or scraping therapy, is another external treatment method and is the ancient and original version of modern methods such as Graston Technique. Manual therapies such as soft tissue manipulation (i.e., massage) and joint mobilization are parts of Chinese Tuina (推拿).
Movements taken from the martial arts can be tremendously useful in increasing strength and flexibility, improving balance in people with certain health concerns, calming the mind, and increasing general wellbeing. Moreover, modern research shows that all types of exercise can increase energy, treat certain diseases such as hypertension and high cholesterol levels, improve mood, and improve sleep. One of the movement therapies we practice and teach is Taiji Therapy, a type of movement therapy based on a set of exercises called Silk Reeling Skill (Chan Si Gong 纏絲功) taken from the classical Chinese martial art Taijiquan 太極拳. For more information on Taiji Therapy please click here.
The foods we eat contribute to our health, including our pain levels, or our ability to recover from injury. Chinese medicine uses the combination of ancient food cures based on centuries of observation, combined with a modern scientific understanding of nutrition to offer help to martial artists, athletes, or other people dealing with pain or injury. Click here to read some traditional food prescriptions for pain management.