Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also known simply as "Chinese medicine" or "traditional Oriental medicine", is the traditional medicine dating back to antiquity and originating in China.

Table of contents
1 Introduction
2 TCM techniques
3 TCM theory
4 See also
5 External links


TCM is based on the belief that the body will recover from illness when the person's Yin and Yang energies and Qi are in balance. Historically, Chinese doctors in each generation guarded their medical knowledge as family secrets, passed along to apprentices. Little of this knowledge was shared in public for peer review until the government of the People's Republic of China established modern research and education systems for the discipline of TCM.

TCM is usually regarded as a complementary and alternative medicine. For example, modern applications of TCM include alleviating the side effects of chemotherapy when treating cancer patients, helping drug addicts get clean, and treating a variety of chronic conditions that allopathic medicine is often ineffective against. Recent research in China and elsewhere has helped form a scientific understanding of TCM, though much of TCM is too subtle and refined to be measured by the tools of western science.

TCM techniques

TCM utilizes numerous techniques or healing modalities to achieve the desired balance of Yin and Yang as well as Qi, blood, bodily fluids, and spirit. These include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Herbology
  • Moxibustion
  • Nutrition or food therapy
  • Cupping
  • Qigong exercises and Medical Qi Gong
  • Gua Sha or coin-rubbing
  • Plum Blossom or seven-star
  • Acupressure and various styles of massage such as Tuina
  • Sonopuncture or phonophorese--the use of sound vibration on acupoints
  • Auriculotherapy
  • Dit Da or Tieh Ta (跌打 literally, fall and strike) - Practitioners who specialize in healing trauma due to sports injury, such as bone fractures, cuts, bruises etc. It is not strictly a branch of Chinese medicine but more a spin-off from a long history of Chinese martial arts. However, these specialists may also use more typical Chinese medical therapies if internal injury is involved.

TCM theory

The theory and philosophy of TCM dates back to antiquity, so far back that there is little agreement about how many thousands of years old TCM is. The theory is one of energy balance, including balance of the Five elements and the Zang-Fu organs in addition to Yin Yang balance and the balance of Qi. The foundational principle is that if all the energies are in balance, the body heals as a natural outcome; the energy is the foundation of the body as well as the mind. All the techniques used in TCM are directed at balancing these energies.

Five element theory

The Five elements of TCM are:

  • Wood
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Water
  • Metal

The five element system has been elaborated into a particular school of thought within TCM, appropriately called the Five Element School.

Zang-Fu Theory

The five elements are associated energetically with the following Zang-Fu organs in the same order as above:

There is also a school of thought within TCM called the Zang-Fu school. This theory treats each of the Zang organs (the first in the pairs above, the more yin of the organs) as an energy center that runs an entire system. The Zang systems include organs, senses, emotions, and the musculoskeletal system--essentially, the entire person divided into five categorical systems. With a thorough understanding of either of these schools of thought, therapeutic results are achieved accordingly. The theory is always in service of practical, therapeutic application, with the goal of an "elegant" treatment. An elegant treatment uses the least amount of force for the greatest therapeutic benefit, and requires true mastery of the art of traditional Chinese Medicine.

See also

External links