Traditional Chinese Medicine seems to contain many attributes. These attributes being Herbology , Massage, Diet, Exercise and Acupuncture. Within these attributes are many different criteria that make up Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It is hard to say exactly when Traditional Chinese Medicine began yet the father of Chinese herbal Medicine is said to be Shen Nung. He was apparently the first among his people to use plants and minerals to heal his people. The process by which he achieved this was apparently by trial and error. He is said to have poisoned himself over seventy times. This is said to have happened around 6000 years ago and Traditional Chinese Medicine has just evolved from strength to strength since then.
Today Chinese Medicine is still used side by side in their hospitals with “Conventional Medicine”. It is not viewed as Alternative Medicine as it is by the rest of the world. Even as this may be it is still a highly recognized as a source of healing amongst many cultures world wide. Traditional Chinese Medicine has become increasingly popular and more and more people are looking to its methods for help. Especially by those who have found no relief in more traditional medicines.
The principle of Chinese medicine is to bring the bodies balance and homeostasis back to where it should be for optimum health. When treating an illness Chinese Medicine does not just focus on the problem but rather the root of where the weakness arose. This brings us to the core of how the ancient Chinese viewed life and the human body. The balance that the body needs for optimal health is charecterised by the “Yin” and “Yang”. This theory is that all things consist of an opposite aspect.
The Yellow Emperor said “The principle of the Yin and Yang is the foundation of the entire universe. It underlies everything in its creation….In order to treat and cure diseases one must search for their origins.”
Simplified the “Yin” represents “a negative and passive force” while the “Yang” represents a “positive active force.” Yin and Yang support each other as they oppose each other. There is always a little bit of Yin within Yang and a little bit of Yang within Yin. You cannot have the one without the other. They are mutually dependent forces and a herbalist is one who knows to what degree the persons body is in a state of turmoil and how much of the “Ying” or “Yang” is needed to rectify the body back to its equilibrium.
Qi (Chee) is another important factor in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is used in conjunction with the “Yin” and “Yang”. Qi is a complex concept. The Chinese believe that “Qi” is a vital energy that conducts all forms of life in the Universe. Qi is said to run through invisible meridians of the body. It is the force that gives us the capacity to just be. Every movement, thought and breath is governed by Qi. There are 32 forms of “Qi”, which include “Yin Qi” and “Yang Qi”. When this balance is out of sync, “Evil Qi” will cause great harm to the human body. Thus we get to the ultimate goal which is to bring the balance in the Yin and the Yang by promoting the natural flow of Qi. Imbalance is seemed to be brought about by three major causes. External factors, your internal emotions and diet.
We also have the theory of the Five Elements. The Chinese Characters of this theory are “Wu” (meaning five) and “Xing” (which means ‘to go’). Wu Xing therefore suggests continuous movement. The Five Elements are aspects of Qi. The Qi of the elements changes in Seasonal and Daily cycles. In Chinese Medicine the Five Elements theory is used to interpret the relationship between the human body and the natural environment. Parts of the body are interdependent and the Five Elements helps us to understand these relationships. The relationship of the Yin and Yang are typified by the Five Elements. In Traditional Chinese Medicine there are five organ systems that correspond to more than the individual body parts. These systems are the kidney, heart, spleen, liver and lung. Each of these five main organs is represented by an element.
o Winter – this is the time of water. The Kidneys and bladder are governed by the water element. The Kidney seen as the “Yin” and the urinary bladder as the “Yang’.
o Spring – this is the time of wood. The liver is governed by the wood element. The Liver being the “Yin” and the Gall Bladder is the “Yang”.
o Summer – this is where fire comes in. We relate to others through fire. Fire is fuelled by the wood in Spring. The Heart and small intestine is part of Fire. The heart being the “Yin” and the Small Intestine is the “Yang”
o Late Summer- Growth is completed. This is also the Earth Element. Stomach and spleen are the organs associated with Late Summer. The Spleen is the “Yin” and the stomach is the “Yang”.
o Autumn- The organs of Autumn are the lungs and colon. Metal is also an element of the Lungs. The Lung is the “Yin” and the large intestine the “Yang”.
We are each a unique blend of these elements. As we see by regulating and preserving the Qi in Traditional Medicine we bring about more favorable conditions in our health.
Through all this we see that in Traditional Chinese Medicine the body is viewed as a whole and that each part of the body is interconnected. We see that processes of the human body are interrelated and constantly interact with the environment.