Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM or T.C.M., Simplified Chinese: 中医学; Traditional Chinese: 中醫學; pinyin: Zhōngyī xué) is a range of traditional medical practices used in China that developed over several thousand years. These practices include herbal medicine, acupuncture, and massage. TCM is a form of Oriental medicine, which includes other traditional East Asian medical systems such as traditional Japanese and Korean medicine. TCM says processes of the human body are interrelated and constantly interact with the environment. Therefore the theory looks for the signs of disharmony in the external and internal environment of a person in order to understand, treat and prevent illness and disease.

TCM theory is based on a number of philosophical frameworks including the Theory of Yin-yang (阴阳), the Five Elements (五行), the human body Meridian (经络) system, Zang Fu organ theory, and others. Diagnosis and treatment are conducted with reference to these concepts. TCM does not usually operate within a western scientific paradigm but some practitioners make efforts to bring practices into an evidence-based medicine framework.

Treatment techniques

Historically, eight branches comprised Chinese medicine treatment:
1. Tui na (推拿) - massage therapy
2. Acupuncture and Moxibustion (針灸)
3. Chinese herbal medicine(中药)
4. Chinese food therapy (食 疗)
5. Qigong (氣功) and related breathing and meditation exercise
6. T'ai Chi Ch'uan (太極拳) and other Chinese martial arts
7. Feng shui (风水)
8. Chinese astrology

Today, all of the above except Feng shui and Chinese astrology, specific treatment methods are grouped into these branches. Cupping and Gua Sha (刮痧) are part of Tui Na. Auriculotherapy (耳燭療法) comes under the heading of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Die-da or Tieh Ta (跌打) are practitioners who specialize in healing trauma injury such as bone fractures, sprains, and bruises. Some of these specialists may also use or recommend other disciplines of Chinese medical therapies (or Western medicine in modern times) if serious injury is involved. Such practice of bone-setting is not common in the West.

Modern TCM treatments consist of herbal medicine or acupuncture as the primary method, with other methods such as massage, qi gong, or food therapy playing a secondary role. Illness in TCM is seen as a lack of harmony, and the goal of all traditional treatment is to assist the body to regain balance and achieve homeostasis.

The modern practice of traditional Chinese medicine is increasingly incorporating techniques and theories of Western medicine in its praxis.

see also:
- Wikipedia site for TCM
- Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine information
- Qi, the journal of traditional eastern health and fitness
- The Chinese Way to Health: A Self-Help Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine by Dr. Stephen Gascoigne
- TCM Basics
- TCM info page
- Acupuncture.Com
- Traditional Chinese Medicine Resource Center
- Traditional Chinese Medicine Resource Guide
- International Comprehensive Services of TCM
- Acupuncture.Edu
- UK Acupuncture and TCM

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