Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices to treat or prevent health problems. It involves a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts which have become a tradition developed in China for more than 3,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion, massage, physical exercise like qikong, and dietary therapy.
Traditional systems of medicine also exist in other East and South Asian countries, including Japan and Korea. These systems have been largely influenced by TCM and are similar to it in some ways, though each has developed distinctive features of its own.
The ancient beliefs on which TCM is based mainly include the following:
- The human body is a miniature version of the larger, surrounding universe.
- Harmony between two opposing yet complementary forces, called yinand yang, supports health, and disease results from an imbalance between these forces.
- Five elements—fire, earth, wood, metal, and water—symbolically represent all phenomena, including the stages of human life, and explain the functioning of the body and how it changes during disease.
- Qi, a vital energy that flows through the body, performs multiple functions in maintaining health.
- Health is built on harmonious relations and interactions between various elements of the human body and its organs; any internal or external distraction of them may result in health problems.
Many people tend to have the misconception that only western medicine is a science-based medicine and should be the only health promotion practices. Some western physicians claim that they need to examine TCM practices from a scientific perspective while neglecting the fact that they themselves need to be true TCM practitioners or professionals before making themselves a trustworthy judge.
Let’s look at an example.
Ephedra occurs naturally in the Chinese herb ma huang and contains ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, stimulants that can constrict blood vessels. In the US, by 2003, more than 800 dangerous reactions have been reported – among them, heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and sudden death. Thus in 2004 FDA banned the sale of products containing ephedra in the US and ma huang was not allowed to be imported. The case of ma huang is like that of guns. It depends who are using it. It is the ma huang that is to blame, but the “doctors” who prescribe it. The right amount on appropriate patient at the right time, it is an effective medicine. For all Chinese herbs that have been tested for hundreds of years, we can still say that they are safe when used properly.
Research by western universities, hospitals and medical institutions are only at a primary stage. Largely because of shallow understanding, there is not enough “rigorous scientific evidence” to know whether TCM methods work for the conditions for which they are used. It will take many more years for western scientists to draw a more complete picture and conclusion of TCM and its practices.
In Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and other western countries, more and more people use TCM as a complementary health approach. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults had used acupuncture in the previous year. The number of visits to acupuncturists tripled between 1997 and 2007. In 2007, about 2.3 million Americans practiced tai chi and 600,000 practiced qi gong. It was estimated in 1997 that some 10,000 practitioners served more than 1 million patients in the United States.
In spite of the widespread use of TCM in China and its use in the West, rigorous “scientific” evidence of its effectiveness is limited. TCM can be difficult for western researchers to study because its treatments are often complex and are based on ideas very different from those of modern Western medicine.
To be a worthy TCM doctor, besides the knowledge of traditional Chinese culture, the study of basic theories and specific techniques, one needs to be a human with high moral qualities.
If you want to learn in depth about TCM and thinking about using it, you have come to the right place here.
The purpose of our writing this information is direct and simple: help you treat or even prevent diseases, and live longer. This is important, and it is important for every human. It is important for you.
By Isherwood FYX