Traditional Chinese Medicine

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TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, can be traced as far back as 1000 BC, where stone acupuncture needles were believed to be used. Texts from that period also talked of Yin and Yang and other concepts. The first written work on TCM is titled the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, Huangdi Newijing (Gascoigne 11). This book was written in 300 BC, but entries date back to the early 2700’s BC. The book is still used in universities of Chinese Medicine around the world and is often called the bible of TCM. Today, TCM is still thriving in China and all of Asia. In recent years, information on TCM has become available to people in the United States. The United States has several schools of TCM, and it is now much easier to buy the necessary supplies needed for correct practice of TCM (Gascoigne 11-7).

During some time about 1000 years ago in the Song Dynasty, a man named Chen Yan classified the causes of disease into three different categories (Gao 31). Chinese medicine does not believe that bacteria and viruses are the cause of disease. Instead, it talks about influences that cause “disharmony” in Yin and Yang, the Essential Substances, the Organ System, the Channels, and the Five Phases (Cohen 37). “The Six Pernicious Influences-Heat, Cold, Wind, Dampness, Dryness and Summer Heat-are external climatic forces that can invade the body and create disharmony in the mind/body/spirit” (Cohen 37). With symptoms relating to heat, you can either have an excess of heat or a deficiency of it. Excess heat usually lasts for short periods of time and has symptoms such as high fevers, irritability and restlessness, thirst, little or no sweat or urine, and a flushed face. Heat rises in nature, as it also does in your body. That is why the upper areas of your body are the ones that suffer from excess heat. If you have an insufficient amount of heat you might suffer from hot hands and feet, fevers that occur in the afternoon, sore throat, inability to fall asleep, and irritability. Conditions of insufficient heat are chronic and are caused by a reduction of the body’s own healthy energy. Heat affects many different organs in the body, so it is not uncommon to hear things like liver heat, heart heat, and stomach heat in TCM (Gao 37-8).

Cold dis-harmonies are most common in the winter and injure the body’s Yang energy. When cold first enters the body it can cause fevers, he...

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...imary exercises preformed and recommended by TCM. TCM believes that stagnant blood in the body can reduce the chi, and throw the Yin and Yang off balance with each other. The recommended cure for stagnant blood is exercise and or decoctions like Si Wu Tang. The main differences between Qi Gong and Tai Chi are the approaches that each take to training. Qi Gong primarily consists of meditation and gentle body movements aimed towards cultivation of the chi and health. Tai Chi is a martial art that uses meditation and gentle body movements, but also incorporates self defense techniques to stop an attacker using their own energy against them. Both are fine ways to help prevent stagnant blood and to cultivate your chi, the only difference is the martial application of the two. TCM recommends these two forms of exercise over others, because it is very easy on your joints. Older people who may practice Qi Gong or Tai Chi will not be limited or restricted because of bad knees or arthritis (Cohen 258-267).

Acupuncture, dietary therapy, herbal therapy, and Qi Gong are the four treatments plans used in TCM. A combination of the four of these assures a healthy lifestyle and a long life.
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