THE PHILOSOPHY OF CHINESE MEDICINE
As one of the oldest medical arts, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses methods that have been practiced for over 3,000 years to prevent and treat diseases and maintain overall health.
In Chinese medicine, the concepts of health and disease are relative. The classics speak of health as a state where the functions of the zang-fu organ systems and meridians are normal, while qi, blood, yin and yang are all in balance. The body should have sufficient qi (vital energy) that flows freely and smoothly throughout the body without stagnation.
When these functions become abnormal and this balance is lost, the yin and yang within the body become disharmonious and disease occurs. This concept can be illustrated by running water. In order to be healthy and clean, a river needs to keep flowing. If the river slows down or stops and becomes stagnant, it accumulates trash and develops a rancid odor. The Qi in your body can be viewed in the same manner.
THE TENETS OF CHINESE MEDICINE
“Humans relate to the heaven and earth and correspond with the sun and moon”- Lingshu, Suilu lun di qi shi jiu (Miraculous Pivot, chapter 79).
Chinese medicine emphasizes the concept of holism. While the human body itself comprises an organic whole, the human body and the universe are also an integral whole. Thus, the human body has a very close relationship with nature, and the changes between the day and night, the four seasons, and the different environments we live in all affect the body’s physiological functions and pathological changes.
The ancient Chinese philosophies of the Dao De Jing and Yi Jing regard the universe as consisting of qi (vital energy). Everything in the universe is produced by the movement and transformations of qi. Reality exists in a constant state of motion which reflects this qi dynamic. This is also true of the human body. Constant energetic cycling promotes the growth and development of the tissues and organs as well as the physiological activities of the body. Pathological changes are also always in a state of dynamic transformation.
As a result, symptoms can vary depending on the time of day or time of year. Chinese medicine incorporates an understanding of this dynamic change into the development of treatment strategies.
Chinese medicine recognizes the human body as an integral whole and the human body and the universe as an integral whole. Energy constantly moves within our body and within the entire universe, making our relationship to the universe incredibly complex. Chinese medicine values this complexity in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
UNITY OF BODY AND MIND
In Chinese medicine, the physical (Xing) and the mental emotional/spiritual (Shen) coexist and are treated simultaneously. Supporting the physical and mental emotional states as one (Xing Shen He Yi) is the ultimate goal in maintaining good health. A calm and peaceful spirit helps the body to generate qi, which is then able to flow freely and support healthy physiology. When the physical and the spiritual are in harmony, disease cannot occur. However, if there is either physical or mental disturbance, health suffers.
Chinese medicine emphasizes the holistic, dynamic and complexity of our body by uniting the body and mind as one to promote optimal health. When treating diseases, treatments can differ by person, time, and geographic location. You are unique. Because of your unique constitution, mental, emotional states and more, the treatment that’s best for you will differ from that of others.
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