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Additional Information about Chinese Traditional Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine is a rich medical system that has existed in some form for more than 2,500 years. The earliest found writings – on pieces of tortoise shells and bone, date back to the Shang Dynasty (15th to 11th centuries BC). Traditional Chinese Medicine texts date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE to 220 ACE). These ancient writings describe a medicine that focused on the circular movement of qi (air or vapor) and xuè (blood).  Poor health is understood as stagnation, deficiency or the improper movement of qì or xuè, and may result in an imbalance of yīn and yáng.

These disharmonies were understood in terms of concepts that are very different from the conceptual basis of Occidental medicine, which focuses on ideas about disease that center on a linear sequence of adverse events leading to a frank state of pathology that was not only observable but also tangible. Over several millennia, Chinese medicine has evolved into a sophisticated medical system with its own understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology and therapeutics.


Traditional Chinese Medicine encompasses many different practices, including acupuncture, moxibustion (burning an herb above the skin to apply heat to acupuncture points), Chinese herbal medicine, tui na (Chinese therapeutic massage), dietary therapy, and tai chi and qi gong (practices that combine specific movements or postures, coordinated breathing, and mental focus). TCM is rooted in the ancient philosophy of Taoism and dates back more than 2,500 years. TCM is widely used in Greater China where it has a long history, and recently it has begun "gaining global recognition".  One of the basic tenets of TCM is that "the body's vital energy (ch'i or qi) circulates through channels, called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions.

Chinese Herbal Medicine is administered as a prescription based on the practitioner’s TCM diagnosis. The prescription is made according to the individual’s diagnosed “pattern” which takes into account both the symptom and disease as well as the patient’s physical and emotional condition. Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture are part of a holistic approach, that is, treating the whole of the individual and not just the individual complaint or symptom, and they are combined to bring the normal health balance back. Hospital studies in China prescribing individualized complex herbal formulas have demonstrated excellent results with patients who fail to respond to conventional pharmaceutical treatments. Most Chinese herbs been formulated to a patient’s needs.

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