January 9, 2009
Hit Medicine: Oriental Medicine, Martial arts, and Trauma
Traumatic injury is as old as the human race. In the Orient, as in the West, orthopedic and trauma medicine is a specialized practice. Practitioners of Asian trauma therapies are trained in specific evaluation methods, acupuncture techniques, bodywork, exercises, herbal treatments, and external applications (compresses and herbal applications).
Traditionally, throughout Asia, trauma medicine has been associated with martial arts. In China it is generically known as “Hit Medicine” because of this association. Injury from falls, impact trauma, cuts, sprains and strains, and other major and minor injuries all come under this category of Hit Medicine. Treatment of the whole body, in addition to the injured area, is one of the tenets of this approach. It is analogous to orthopedic or sports medicine in Western medicine.
Whole body treatment is important for two reasons. One is that when an injury occurs, not only is tissue damaged, but also the injured area loses its integration with the rest of the body. Whole body treatment helps restore the integrity of your system. When a major impact occurs, such as in a fall or an auto accident, often many injuries occur simultaneously, both large and small. In our health care system in the US, often only the most severe are addressed, and are usually treated as a local condition, or generically treated as “Pain”, with strong pain medications that have significant side effects. Treatment of the whole body can identify and address both major and minor injuries that may have been overlooked, but still need to be treated.
When you are in an automobile accident, there are usually several kinds of trauma involved – primary trauma comes from direct impact against a hard surface. Secondary trauma is caused when inertia causes your body to be injured by internal forces when thrown against something during the accident, or just from the impact itself. Whiplash and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are examples of a secondary injury. These injuries are usually quite complicated, since while your injury will often manifest as pain at a specific point or area, the whole problem reflects throughout your body through the fascial system, or in other ways, and may cause injury or pain somewhere else in your system. It is common for a pattern of injuries to all be related to a single impact.
A practitioner trained in hit medicine will be able to accurately evaluate the complicated nature of secondary injuries.
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Ed Antkowiak, L.Ac. - Seattle Acupuncture and Professional Education