“He that takes medicine and neglects his health, wastes the skill of the physician.” ~Chinese Proverb
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a system of concepts and ideas which composes one of the most advanced and complete understanding of how the human body works, how it heals, promoting longevity and ultimately preventing disease. It has been in existence for 5000 years. It is a system that deal with the whole body including the physical, soul and spirit parts of who we are.
Chinese medicine and its practitioners have known for thousands of years that health is not isolated to just a specific part of the body, but can also be related to the environment, ones surroundings, the emotions one has and ultimately how connected someone is to the divine. In this way, disease and sickness occur when things are out of balance in the body. True health and prosperity is achieved in balance. This balance is explained in the idea of Yin/Yang.
On these pages you can find one to two page written on each topic that will help to give you a base understanding of what the various aspects are within Chinese Medicine.
Essential to understanding Chinese Medicine is knowing what the philosophy is behind the medicine. As previously mentioned, the idea of Yin and Yang is critical for seeing how this system of thoughts and beliefs developed. Everything in this world has an opposite. The opposite of hot is cold. You cannot define the one without the other. The one cannot really exist with the other. The other helps to give it definition. This idea applies to the body. Pain in the body is seen as Heat. In order to bring balance back to the body and remove pain, one would ideally have to balance the body by making it colder.
Qi (chi) could be best described as our life force. In raw terms it is energy. In a very crude way, the thought of energy in the body can be likened to gasoline in a car. Without the gasoline, the car is lifeless, still and unmovable. In the same what, one can have a dead body, but what keeps it alive is vital energy, which many believe to compose what we would call the soul. Nevertheless, if you have gasoline in a car, you can manipulate that energy to bring about differences actions in the car, such as speeding up and slowing down. Likewise, energy in the body can be manipulated, strengthened, changed, built up, etc… for the purpose of achieving balance, health and wholeness.
The impact of herbs upon the body are astounding and have been used for millenia to help heal the body and restore balance. Most of the substances used are from plants but you will find things used that are a part of nature, but fall outside of what would be considered things grown from the ground. Herbs have a an effect upon the body to support, strengthen the body own ability to restore balance. One of the herbs that is used in Chinese Medicine for an actual centipede. Centipedes are associated with the liver channel of energy and work on helping things such as seizures, convulsions and removing toxins from the body.
Cupping is a form of therapeutic massage is used for various purposes in the system of Chinese Medicine. Glass cups of various sizes are used. It is actually considered reverse massage because instead of placing pressure on and pushing on the skin, the skin is forced up into the cup through a pressure change. Cupping is very relaxing and is beneficial for many ailments.
The food that we eat is the basis of health and maintaining balance within the body. Many things that we eat today are substances that are constantly pulling our bodies out of balance. According to various tastes and actions, each food is considered to have an effect on the body. Milk, for example, is one of the staples foods of the American diet and is seen as being food for us. In Chinese Medicine, milk and milk products are very damp producing food. In Chinese Medicine, dampness is considered to be the cause of many illnesses such as high cholesterol, cancer, metabolic disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, allergies and environmental illness.
Tui Na is a form of massage that is similar to acupressure. It is used to get Qi moving and to promote balance within the channels of energy of the body. Different techniques are used to bring about this effect on the body. The literal meaning of Tui Na is to “push and grasp”. The use of Tui Na has proven to be very beneficial for managing pain and injury due to training.
Qi Gong is a practice various things including coordination of the breath (breathing), movement and awareness, which ultimately leads on to understand the deeper realms of consciousness that exists in the world. Many people like to think of Qi Gong as meditation. Meditation is part of it, but Qi Gong is so much broader than this. The benefits of Qi Gong and meditative practice have been recently studied and the results and effects on the body are miraculous. Our bodies were designed to come into a calm mindful state. This calming state allows one to tap into their unlimited potential as a human being.
Tai Qi would be the Indian or Ayurvedic equivalent of Yoga. It is a form of exercise or slow movement, which is practiced for defense training, but also for its health benefits. The practice of Tai chi has become very popular around the world lately, as the health benefits of those doing it have been reported by many who practice it. It can be translated as “supreme ultimate fist” and as with everything else in the Chinese system of medicine, the philosophies of this movement bound in a collective river of idea that all pertain to the same system and aim to ultimately achieve balance of the body, mind and soul.
As you can see, Chinese Medicine is a very complete system that deals with life on every level and has been developed for the better part of 5000 years. If it didn’t work to help people achieve balance, health and prosperity, it would have been abandoned long ago.