Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM); 中医; 中醫; pinyin; zhōng yī; literally “Chinese medicine” is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.

Yin_Yang_Sign_3115687smThe doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage, as well as in cosmological notions like yin-yang. Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were modernized in the People’s Republic of China so as to integrate many anatomical and notions with scientific medicine.

A quote from the Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Medicine, follows “A good healer cannot depend on skill alone. The healer must have correct attitude, sensitivity, compassion and a sense of responsibility.” Another quote from the same text: “A physician needs to possess a moral conscience, ethical conduct and a compassionate attitude toward those in need of attention. In all interactions with patients, the physical is always composed, takes the necessary time, remains objective, and performs every procedure with the utmost care and precision.” Obviously, despite the cultural separation from the other side of the world, the Chinese also understood the importance of the intimate relationship and place of special importance the role of the doctor played in the health of the patient.

buddha bambou zenThe FDA has acknowledged that TCM is part of an efficacious and complete medical system as involving “whole systems of theory and practice that have evolved independently from or parallel to allopathic (conventional) medicine” The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in association with the FDA listed TCM as a “complete medical system” and represents healing techniques which tap the mind, body, spirit. TCM is a thorough integrative process defining holistic care.

Western Medicines acceptance of TCM as reflecting cultural diversity and the innate healing properties of the body, representing healing techniques which tap the mind body and spirit goes a long way to admit the need for integrative medicine. The mind body spirit communication can be looked at metaphorically as a system of information driving energy in motion. The use of TCM is one of the few medicines that could help to restore harmony and balance to the entire body mind spirit.

China8smHippocrates, the father of Western Medicine said “leave your crucibles on the shelf and let food be your medicine”. Sun Si Maio-the greatest doctor of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) said that “the superior doctor should first adjust the patient’s diet and life style. Only if that does not eliminate disease should the doctor go on to administer acupuncture and herbs” This tells the practitioner how important diet is to Traditional Chinese Medicine.(Photo at right taken during my visit to China)

Without a healthy diet and life style, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine alone cannot heal or prevent the reoccurrence of chronic illness. The historical precedent of these observations by both the Chinese and the Greek  Hippocrates means that throughout the world, it is understood that the foundation of health starts and is built upon the diet and  the life style the patient leads.

The following photos are also from my trip to China, the first 2 are pictures of the Veterinary School in China.

This is a typical TCM Herbal shop in China. The Chinese people can choose to go here instead of a pharmacy.


A photo of the Veterinary School Herbal garden, right in the back of the school, they grow the herbs to make their medicines.

The greatest resource China has besides her people, Camellia sinensis which is green tea. China’s green tea is the very best in the world. Early spring green tea is priceless and why the saying goes……”not for all the tea in China”.


A Tai Chi Master that was working on the Square early in the morning when one of my colleagues joined in her ritual. All of the Chinese people take personal responsibility and exercise every day at around 7:30am.

The golden water buffalo, we have our cows, China has their water buffalo and this is the most important animal kept by the people in rural China.

This last photo is of a typical Chinese citizen coming down to the square early in the morning to perform their “responsibility” for personal exercise. You see they often bring their little dogs. The Chinese love their pets and the ability to own pets is still rather new for the Chinese. I was told it cost $500 (in US dollars equivalent) each year for the Chinese to register their pets! This should show you the commitment they have to their companion animals.