Traditional Chinese Medicine 中医
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Traditional Chinese Medicine 中医

  • Friday, 08 May 2009 11:23
  • Last Updated Friday, 08 May 2009 11:40

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a number of philosophical frameworks, and on the principle that all of creation is born from the interdependence of two opposite principles, yin and yang. These two opposites are in constant motion, creating a fluctuating balance in the healthy body. Disease results when either yin or yang is in a state of prolonged excess or deficiency.

Qi (pronounced "chee") is the energy that gives us the ability to move, think, feel, and work, and circulates along a system of conduits known as meridians. When the flow of Qi becomes unbalanced through physical, emotional, or environmental insults, illness may result.

The Five Element Theory holds that everything in the universe, including our health, is governed by five natural elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each has a season and particular organs associated with it. Aspects of each of the five elements are present in every person at different times. Each organ has particular body and mind functions. For example, the liveris involved in planning and in the storage of anger, while the gall bladder is the organ of decision-making.

In addition to the theory of the five elements, TCM practitioners employ the Eight Guiding Principles (cold/ heat, interior/exterior, deficiency/excess, and yin/ yang) to analyse and differentiate the energetic imbalances in the body or the nature of a patient’s condition.

Pulse Diagnosis requires years of training to master and is considered one of the most important diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine. Whereas Western doctors locate one pulse on the radial artery in the wrist, a practitioner of TCM feels for six pulses in each wrist: three Superficial and three Deep at specific points along the radial artery. The twelve pulses correspond to the internal organs. Practitioners note the quality of the pulse in terms of frequency, rhythm, and volume and the Chinese have developed an elaborate vocabulary to describe a pulse, such as floating, thready, and slippery.

Tongue Examination. In addition to the pulse, the Chinese believe that the tongue is a strong barometer of human health. They developed an elaborate system to describe the condition of the tongue, including the color, texture, shape, size, and coating. In this system, each part of the tongue corresponds to the condition of an organ. The tip of the tongue, for example, represents the heart and lung organs.

Treatment includes dietary and lifestyle advice, and the use of Acupuncture and herbal remedies.

Benefits. TCM practitioners are trained to view the body, mind, and spirit as one system, adopting a holistic approach. Their training takes many years and they are highly qualified as doctors of Chinese Medicine. Although the philosophies may seem strange to the West, there may be many conditions, especially those associated with energy or emotion, that might benefit from TCM and complement a nutritional therapy approach.

Web resources:
http://www.amfoundation.org/tcm.htm
http://www.mic.ki.se/China.html

Image Source: Wikimedia

 


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