Sometimes it is difficult for us to understand the school of traditional Chinese medicine because we generally view religion and science as being completely polarized. However, in TCM, the mind, body and universe are all connected and disturbances in the body are seen as manifestations of imbalance. Maybe we are not taking time out to meditate and relax, or we are ingesting all sorts of toxins into the body, or perhaps we have had too much or too little change in our lives that sends our bodies out of harmony.
Traditional Chinese Medicine History
Many folks do not realize that traditional Chinese medicines date back nearly five thousand years, passed down by oral tradition until about three thousand years ago when folks began writing down their findings in ancient texts like "Basic Questions of Internal Medicine" and "A Treatise On Cold Damage."
In the 1930s, the Nationalist government forbade doctors from practicing what was then called classic Chinese medicine because they feared missing out on scientific progress. However, thirty years later, Mao Zedong chose ten highly respected doctors to create a traditional but standardized practice called Traditional Chinese Medicine. Today TCM is taught in all Chinese schools and has even made its way around the world, opening schools in England, the US and Russia.
One of the basic principles of TCM is the Taoist idea of "Yin and Yang." The term is used by the school of Chinese medicine to describe a series of opposites. For example hot and cold, dark and light or moving and still.
Just like the changing of the seasons or the fading of day into night, the body goes through constant motion as well. If the cycle of equilibrium is disrupted and there is an excess of something or deficiency of something, then the body naturally breaks down.
Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Another principle in traditional Chinese medicine is the idea of the "Five Elements" which are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. It is believed that these elements are in constant motion and work in an interdependent relationship, as do the various organs and systems within our own bodies.
According to the Five Elements chart, if you are feeling fearful, then it means you need more calm in your life or if you are angry and frustrated, then you need more patience. The Five Elements Theory is further defined by the Zang Fu Theory, which explains the functions and interaction between various body parts in more detail.
Traditional Chinese medicine has several procedures that are more scientific. After all, it is not all breathing and thinking! Chinese acupuncture is one of these procedures.
Folks suffering from fibromyalgia, sciatica, tendonitis, headaches, carpal tunnel or other pains can be treated. While having a long needle stuck into certain acupuncture points may not sound desirable, patients say that it does not physically hurt more than the usual ache. The more balanced you get over time, the less you feel the needles at all, in fact!