Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - Holistic  approach bringing together the worlds of spirit, social, physical and energetic. It  has a long history, beginning with :

Huang-ti nei ching around 3000 BC  (The Yellow Emperor's Book of Internal Medicine) describing the Tao of the two types of "eternally pulsing red sap" that flow through the stream in humans  -( the red blood of day and the blue blood of night) that represent the yin and yang of the tao.

Tao - According the Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu :
The way that can be mapped is not the eternal Way.
The name that can be named is not the eternal Name. . . .
I do not know its name;
A name for it is "Way"

It is not something to hold, but a way of living,
a way of situating oneself in the spiritual,
psychological, biological and physical realms.

Building a Jade Screen - Chapter One - Dr. Hong Zhen Zhu

TCM vs. "Western" medicine

According to 1996 Angus Reid poll 43% of Canadians reported use of alternate healthcare practices.

The firefighter, Western Medicine is based upon a mechanical model of fixing the smallest bits to make the larger whole better.  Good for acute illness that needs a quick turnaround.

The house keeper, Chinese medicine on the other hand takes concern for the whole of health through fixing the weakest link, keeping health present and avoiding disease. Better for longer illness and more subtle imbalances. 

Chinese Medicine assumes that the doctor and the patient share responsibility for health, where wei qi (defensive energy) flows smoothly through the body.

The Jade screen is a metaphorical defense surrounding the body.

TCM involves five elements (correspondences); Qi, blood and body fluids;  Theory of Organs; Theory of Meridians and points; Causes of illness; TCM system of diagnosis.

TCM characteristics WM characteristics
Grey or variable thinking gradual change Black or white thinking fast change from ill to well
Smooth transition of body Quick change from seasons and illness
Inside oriented (spiritual orientation) Outside oriented (material orientation)
Shared responsibility for health Doctor does the healing

The history of TCM

Ancient Origins of TCM 5,000-6,000 years ago in acupuncture with bamboo needles, later replaced by copper or bronze, steel, gold or silver now stainless steel.

3600 years ago the use of herbs in decoctions began,

Today, Dr. Zhu makes use of the following techniques: acupuncture, massage, diet, herbs, activity, cleanliness, getting help from family.

The diagnoses are taken from ancient metaphors for describing the state of human health and the methods of maintaining or ameliorating it.

The philosophy behind TCM

Taoism and the philosophy of yin-yang.

 The life force, Qi, is built up in the body through the appropriate balance of yin and yang.

Qi takes several forms:
 1) Nature, qi of heaven and earth, weather and natural conditions.
 2) Spiritual state or mental attitude, related to morality and ethics.
 3) Emotional or passionate, arising through powerful music, literature or art.
 4) Life force and health, vitality, arising through exercise, good diet, and medicinal treatments.

There can be deficiencies of qi, stagnation or even counter-flow. Each of these condition will result in different patterns of illness.

It is a mode of living that involves the recognition of tao  as manifest in yin and yang. Seen graphically in various forms, usually surrounded by the eight trigrams (solid and broken lines).

Living with the way one usually practices a variety of things such as  T'ai Chi, Chi Kung, Painting, Feng~Shui and internal medicine.

Tai Chi involves the learning and practice of various forms or patterns
of movement that range from "the basic eight" to 108 combined form and 88 San Shou
(two person form) as well as a number of martial applications.

-It can be considered to be "meditation in movement" where the  mind and body train to relax and move in harmony with each other and the external world. The principles of yin and yang are brought into the movements where, for example, the basic eight involves the  emulation of the eight trigrams or phases of the tao as it moves from yang to yin and back and forth.

Diagram with names of movements

Feng Shuiis sometimes associated with Chinese medicine, but it is not traditionally a part of Chinese medicine while it is part of many Chinese worldviews, such as taoism.

Taoism and TCM