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China Information >> Culture traditional
 
Traditional Chinese Medicine

With a history of 2000 to 3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has formed a unique system to diagnose and cure illness. The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of Western medicine. In TCM, the understanding of the human body is based on the holistic understanding of the universe as described in Daoism, and the treatment of illness is based primarily on the diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes.

The TCM approach treats zang--fu organs as the core of the human body. Tissue and organs are connected through a network of channels and blood vessels inside human body. Qi (or Chi) acts as some kind of carrier of information that is expressed externally through jingluo system. Pathologically, a dysfunction of the zang-fu organs may be reflected on the body surface through the network, and meanwhile, diseases of body surface tissues may also affect their related zang or fu organs. Affected zang or fu organs may also influence each other through internal connections. Traditional Chinese medicine treatment starts with the analysis of the entire system, then focuses on the correction of pathological changes through readjusting the functions of the zang-fu organs.

Evaluation of a syndrome not only includes the cause, mechanism, location, and nature of the disease, but also the confrontation between the pathogenic factor and body resistance. Treatment is not based only on the symptoms, but differentiation of syndromes. Therefore, those with an identical disease may be treated in different ways, and on the other hand, different diseases may result in the same syndrome and are treated in similar ways.

The clinical diagnosis and treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine are mainly based on the yin-yang and five elements theories. These theories apply the phenomena and laws of nature to the study of the physiological activities and pathological changes of the human body and its interrelationships. The typical TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and qigong exercises. With acupuncture, treatment is accomplished by stimulating certain areas of the external body. Herbal medicine acts on zang-fu organs internally, while qigong tries to restore the orderly information flow inside the network through the regulation of Qi. These therapies appear very different in approach yet they all share the same underlying sets of assumptions and insights in the nature of the human body and its place in the universe. Some scientists describe the treatment of diseases through herbal medication, acupuncture, and qigong as an "information therapy".

Acupuncture(from the Latin word acus, "needle", and pungere, meaning "prick") is a technique in which the practitioner inserts fine needles into specific points on the patient,s body. Usually about a dozen acupoints are needled in one session, although the number of needles used may range anywhere from just one or two to 20 or more. The intended effect is to increase circulation and balance energy (Qi) within the body.

Auriculotherapy , which comes under the heading of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

Chinese food therapy or Dietetics: Dietary recommendations are usually made according to the patient,s individual condition in relation to TCM theory. The "five flavors" (an important aspect of Chinese herbalism as well) indicate what function various types of food play in the body. A balanced diet, which leads to health, is when the five functional flavors are in balance. When one is diseased (and therefore unbalanced), certain foods and herbs are prescribed to restore balance to the body.

Chinese herbal medicine : In China, herbal medicine is considered as the primary therapeutic modality of internal medicine. Of the approximately 500 Chinese herbs that are in use today, 250 or so are very commonly used.[citation needed] Rather than being prescribed individually, single herbs are combined into formulas that are designed to adapt to the specific needs of individual patients. An herbal formula can contain anywhere from 3 to 25 herbs. As with diet therapy, each herb has one or more of the five flavors/functions and one of five "temperatures" ("Qi") (hot, warm, neutral, cool, cold). After the herbalist determines the energetic temperature and functional state of the patient,s body, he or she prescribes a mixture of herbs tailored to balance disharmony.