Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on a view of health and the human body that is radically different from what we are used to in western medicine and comprises a unique language to describe health, disease and healing. This blog series (Decoding the Mysterious Language of TCM) is dedicated to introducing various concepts of Chinese Medicine and offer a little glimpse of a fascinating paradigm.
Learning from Nature
The Emperor who first called for the systematization of Chinese medicine wanted three things:
These ideals were the foundation of a system that is focused on health in which the premise is that as long as harmony exists between the different organs and systems of the body, then wellness is maintained. What is fascinating to me is that even though blood tests, MRI’s or X-Ray machines weren’t available and knowledge of bacteria and viruses didn’t exist yet, the ancient doctors were able to identify and treat imbalances that lead to disease.
To do so, they looked to the natural world and related what they observed in the environment to what was going on in the body. For instance, the function of each internal organ was compared to natural elements such as wood, fire, earth, metal or water, and the relationships observed in nature between those elements was a basis of understand how organs worked together. Another example is that diseases were classified as being caused by heat, cold, wind, dryness or damp. In this way a comprehensive system was created with its own unique language to describe the complex working of the body, convey patterns of disease mechanisms, and describe methods of treatment.
Stay posted for an exploration of ideas such as Qi, Blood and many other fascinating concepts.