A Tradition of Healing
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a natural approach to medicine that is rooted in over five thousand years of practice. Based on the natural principles of the universe, TCM strives to bring the body back into balance with itself and with its surroundings. It also aims to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit in order to attain optimal health. When natural balance and harmony are re-established, health and wellness are restored.
TCM makes sense of the body’s complex systems and functions by using the theory of five elements: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. In TCM, each of these elements corresponds to a particular organ or tissue within the human body. In addition to the five elements, there are several other key principles that TCM practitioners call upon when working with patients towards optimal health.
Yin-yang Theory: A Fine Balance
Yin and yang represent opposing yet complementary forces that exist throughout the natural world: feast/famine, rain/drought, work/play. In all cases, too much or too little can be harmful; the goal, then, is to maintain a balance between yin and yang throughout all components of life—including health. In TCM, yin-yang theory refers to the balance that must be achieved within the body and mind in order to re-establish wellness.
In particular, TCM strives to balance eight principle dichotomies as a means to analyze symptoms and diagnose conditions. These are: cold/heat, interior/exterior, excess/deficiency, and yin/yang. These eight principles and the role they play in health and wellness are documented in the Huang Di Nei Jing, the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine text.
Qi: The Vital Life Force
Qi (pronounced ‘chi’), the body’s vital energy, is inseparable from blood. It courses through the human body via twelve meridians (channels) that form the body’s energy network. The meridians are related to the body’s organ systems, and TCM practitioners can tap into organ function by accessing points along the meridians to clear the flow of qi and blood. If a person’s qi is found to be imbalanced or deficient, a TCM practitioner will use a variety of healing techniques to harmonize the energy balance and restore overall health.