Traditional Chinese Medicine – TCM
The Traditional Chinese Medicine has a very long history. Even in early history one can speak of a primitive way of medical applications, as the battle against diseases began when the Chinese ancestors tried to survive in the raw environment. During their search for food, they discovered that some plants were edible and others brought relief in certain cases of illnesses. This is how experience with medicinal substances began.
Similarly, people discovered in the Stone- and Bronze-era that certain stone- or bronze-instruments could be used in the treatment of a disease. An example is the “bian-stone”, a type of stone with a sharp point that could be seen as a predecessor to the acupuncture-needles. With the use of fire arose the possibility that the warmth of fire had a positive influence on certain diseases. This is the origin of the moxibustion therapy. Application of herbs for external use dates back to these times, when leaves or parts of plants where placed on the wound in case of wounds or injury. Already 2000 years ago the text on medicine the “Yellow Emperor´s Inner Classic” originated. In this book early medical experiences were summarized. Based on the philosophy of its time, this work gives insight in physiology, pathology, diagnosis and prevention. Furthermore, the book describes the proportions and physical possibilities of the human skeleton, the existence of blood and blood-vessels, the concept of blood-circulation, as well as the measurements of inner organs.
Over the last couple of decennia this 2000 year old Traditional Chinese Medicine was studied intensively, and, according to experts in China and abroad, turned out to be safe and effective. In addition, it has the advantage that it can reduce the side-effects of chemical preparations from modern regular medicine.
What is meant with the Yin-Yang theory?
The theory of Yin and Yang, based on classic Chinese philosophy, is one of the most fundamental theories of the Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to this theory the opposition of Yin and Yang is a fundamental law of nature. Everything is driven, develops, motivates and changes by the power of Yin Qi and Yang Qi. In the universe exist different relationships between Yin and Yang, like opposition, support, attack, inter-dependence and transformation.
To the Yang category in generally belong those characteristics which are dynamic, external, upward, bright and active or are related to functional activities. On the contrary characteristics which are static, interior, downward, dark or passive or related to material substances belong to the Yin category. In TCM these concepts are used to conclude and explain problems of anatomy, physiology, pathology, diagnosis, prevention, etc.
What does the theory of the Five Elements include?
This is one of the most important theories of TCM. The Five Elements are related with the five basic substances of nature, namely: water, fire, metal, wood and earth, which are used to explain characteristics and categories of substances in the universe and their mutual relationship. According to this theory the whole universe is built out of these five basic substances and only by their mutual interaction movement and change of material can occur.
In TCM this theory is being used to determine patho-physiological conditions of the human body and to give direction to the clinical diagnose and treatment of diseases. For example: Liver, Gallbladder, Eyes, Tendons and the emotion anger all belong to the Wood element.
Therefore, not only are physiology and pathology of these organs and emotion all moved by the Wood element, these five elements also form a unity. Emotional anger reflects problems of the Liver, pathogenic changes of the tendons are related to Liver and Gallbladder, and so are the patho-physiological conditions of the eyes connected to this.
How is a diagnose made in TCM?
Diagnose in TCM is based on four methods: observation (e.g. from the tongue), auscultation and olfactation, palpation (e.g. feeling of the pulse) and anamnesis. To give an example: the inspection of the tongue is an important diagnostic method. According to the theory of TCM all meridians and inner organs are directly or indirectly connected to the tongue. That means that the essences of the organs feed the tongue and pathological changes can manifest on the tongue.
As a guiding principle in the differentiation of pathological symptoms the tongue-diagnosis should be seen as follows: it is possible to judge whether a persons vital Qi is sufficient or un-sufficient, the location of the disease can be seen, the cause of the pathogenic factor can be seen and a prognosis of the disease is possible. Similarly the pulse-diagnose is a reflection of the condition of the organs, to feel the pulse can therefore be a support in judgement of the location, cause and prognosis of the disease.