| home | 

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?


An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine is a holistic system of healing which has diagnosed, treated, and prevented illness for at least 3000 years.

Based on the principles of internal balance and harmony, this highly refined and complex discipline works to regenerate the body's organs and systems, including:

  • circulatory
  • endocrine
  • neurological
  • excretory
  • respiratory
  • urinary

Traditional Chinese medicine views each human as a mini-ecosystem that shares common traits with the earth on which we live. The basic principles of this complete medical system are:

The Chinese have a concept of vital energy known as chi or qi (pronounced chee), which is the basis of all life. In the body, chi (qi) is transported via the 12 major energetic pathways known as meridians. Although these meridians cannot be seen with the naked eye, modern science has proven their existence through electronic detection.

Each meridian connects to one of the major organs, and chi (qi) is said to power the organ, enabling effective functioning. For example, the path of the heart meridian travels from the heart, to the armpit, and down the inside of the arm to the little finger. This explains why some individuals with heart conditions will express a tingling feeling running down the arm and into the fingers.

Chi (qi) is regulated by the interdependant forces of Yin and Yang. The Chinese symbol for Yin literally means "the dark side of the mountain", and represents the qualities of cold, still, dark, below, weakness, and void.

The chinese symbol for Yang translates to "the sunny side of the mountain", and therefore represents the opposite qualities of Yin: heat, activity, light, above strength, and solidity.

A person's constitution, or the nature of the disease is determined by the aspects of Yin and Yang. Harmony and balance of this union yields a healthy state, whereas excess or deficiency of either Yin or Yang is thought to lead to illness.



 > Encyclopedia of Medicine > Definition Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient and still very vital holistic system of health and healing, based on the notion of harmony and balance, and employing the ideas of moderation and prevention.

TCM is a complete system of health-care with its own unique theories of anatomy, health, and treatment. It emphasizes diet and prevention and uses acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and exercise; and focuses on stimulating the body's natural curative powers.