TCM (traditional Chinese medicine), as the name suggests, has been around for many thousands of years. Instead of viewing the body as just a being made of parts, TCM views it has a holistic being that needs balance, harmony, and energy.
TCM has two central ideas:
- Qi: vital life energy. The belief is that Qi runs throughout your body and is constantly moving and changing. Much of TCM is focussed on how to keep the Qi flowing and how to optimize the flow.
- Yin and Yang: these are the qualities of Qi. Yin and yang are opposites. Yin is femanine, light, hollow, hot, and represents day. On the other hand, yang is masculine, dark, solid, cold, and represents night.
According to TCM, when your energy is balanced, you feel healthy and well. If you feel unbalanced, you feel sick. The goal of TCM is to create a good flow of Qi.
TCM has several practises:
- Acupuncture: the practise of inserting small, thin needles along meridian points in the skin.
- Cupping: heating cups to create suction on the skin.
- Herbs in the form of teas, powders, and capsules.
- Meditation: a way to quiet the mind.
- Moxibustion: dried herbs burned near the skin.
- Tai chi: exercise of slow movements based on breath control.
Some of these practises, such as acupuncture and meditation, have made their way into mainstream culture.
TCM has four principles:
- Your body is an integrated whole. This includes body, mind and spirit.
- You are completely connected to nature.
- You were born with a natural self-healing ability.
- Prevention is the best cure.
TCM can be practised as part of everyday life. Those who want to prevent illness, have symptoms with no clear cause, a need to treat side effects from drugs and medication, or who have tried Western medicine and haven’t seen results could benefit from TCM.