Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
By Daniel Li Ox
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) view at large, refers mainly to the holistic medical practices originally coming from the very old tradition of China. Among these, herbal therapy, acupuncture, Tuina (Chinese massage) then the ones that are gradually gaining momentum in the western world nowadays like Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Dao Yin Yoga, Meditation and the very unique system of dietary therapy.
The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of Western medicine. TCM is based on the holistic understanding of the universe as described in Daoism (micro/macrocosm).
In terms of treatment, TCM treats zang-fu (solid organs – entrails) as the core of the human body. Tissue and organs are connected through a network of energy channels and blood vessels in which Qi (vital energy) carries information. This vital force circulates through this energetic system that is constituted of 8 Vessels (reservoirs) and 12 Meridians (channels). Traditional Chinese medicine treatment starts with the analysis of the entire system, then focuses on unlocking the blockages, reestablishing the flow of energy and rebalancing the functions of the zang-fu considering the Yin & Yang and the Five Element Theories. These two main theories apply the phenomena and laws of nature to the study of the physiological activities and pathological changes of the human body and its interrelationships.
Evaluation of a syndrome not only includes the cause, mechanism, location, and nature of the disease, but also the confrontation between the pathogenic factor and body resistance. This source of this resistance may differ from one individual to another therefore, those with an identical disease may be treated in different ways, and on the other hand, different diseases may result in the same syndrome and are treated in similar ways.
In other words, Traditional Chinese Medicine, based on its understanding of the natural laws tries to release the internal resistances, promote a healthy Qi flow through the Zang-Fu in order to harmonize the Human-Universe relationship and see health flourishing again as a consequence.
With acupuncture and tuina, treatments are accomplished by stimulating certain areas of the external body. Herbal medicine and dietary therapy act on zang-fu organs internally, while qigong, tai chi, Dao Yin Yoga and the internal art of Meditation (nei gong) try to restore the orderly information flow inside the network through the regulation of Qi. These therapies appear very different in approach yet they all share the same underlying sets of assumptions and insights in the nature of the human body and its place in the universe.