Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. Practitioners of TCM use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices to treat or prevent health problems. The style, dating back more than 2,000 years, encompasses many different practices, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, dietary therapy, tai chi and qi gong.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the following ancient beliefs.
- The human body is a miniature version of the larger, surrounding universe.
- Harmony between two opposing yet complementary forces, called yin and yang,
supports health, and disease results from an imbalance between these forces.
- Five elements—fire, earth, wood, metal, and water—symbolically represent all phenomena,
including the stages of human life, and explain the functioning of the body and how it
changes during disease.
- Qi, a vital energy that flows through the body, performs multiple functions in
TCM practitioners use a variety of techniques in an effort to promote health and treat disease.
- Chinese herbal medicine. The Chinese Materia Medica (a pharmacological reference book
used by practitioners) describes thousands of medicinal substances—primarily parts of
plants/herbs (leaves, roots, stems, flowers, and seeds) to use in formulas.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture involves the stimulation of specific points on the body by
penetrating the skin with tiny, metal needles. The points coincide with meridians, or energy
line that run throughout the body encompassing all organs and body systems.