From a Westerner's point of view, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is old fashioned and perhaps even obsolete. The methods are usually different from Western Medicine and can often seem like they come from fantasy novels. A closer look, however, can show someone with an open mind that some of the practices make a certain amount of sense.
The first thing to understand with TCM is the ways it differs from Western Medicine. The two main ways it differs are in diagnosis of ailments, and treatments. In Western Medicine, doctors often use symptoms as a means to isolate the organ that is causing problems. This approach can be short sighted, in that a medication that fixes a problem in one organ, can cause another organ to have problems. This can result in patients either taking a bunch of medications to fix the side effects of the first medication, or having to decide which symptoms and side effects they can live with. In TCM, symptoms are seen as an imbalance in the body. Medicines are given to return the body to balance. Looking at the body as a whole allows the practitioner to lessen symptoms while creating minimal side effects.
Treatments in TCM are where Westerners start becoming skeptical. Instead of a pills, syrups and injections, TCM focuses on herbal medicines, food cures, and massage. While certain things can be easy to accept (ie, such and such herbal tea contains anti-oxidents, therefore it's good for treating certain symptoms), Westerners usually remain skeptical because of some of the more extreme medicines used in TCM (ie, powdered seahorse, rhino horns, shark fins). This is where my theory regarding TCM comes into play. Do research before trying a TCM treatment and use only the ones you are comfortable with.
I personally drink certain herbal teas because I either know their properties or can believe that their reported properties work. Certain teas are helpful to your body and that can be proven. Food cures can be similar to what a Western nutritionist will tell you. And who is going to argue that a massage isn't good for most people? Take the herbal medicines and food cures that seem right to you and refer to Western Medicine for any symptoms you can't treat with TCM. I will be posting articles on certain teas and herbs that can be used to help keep your body in balance over the next few weeks. I hope you come back to read them and give them a try.