Chinese medicine operates on one basic principle – that of Yin and Yang. Chinese medicine believes that the human body is a small universe in itself, with a set of complicated interconnected systems.Yang is the positive force, while Yin is the negative principle that acts on the body. The two forces have to be in harmony with each other and failing will cause diseases to strikes. Yang functions to protect the body from outer harm, while Yin provides the inner base to store energy for bodily functions.
Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that there is a vital energy that flows through various channels in the body. Any blockages in the flow of energy immediately trigger a physical reaction that manifests as disease.
China has a rich and venerable medical culture; in fact, it was one of the first countries to seriously take up medicine. While Chinese medicine runs a diagonally opposite course from that adopted by Western medicine, their 5,000 plus years of experience has given them immense knowledge in medical science, diagnostic methods, cures and prescriptions.
In the ancient days, practitioners had limited understanding of infection because traditional Chinese medicine predated the discovery of bacteria, virus and other microorganisms. It is amazing that they were able to successfully treat countless patients without the help of any assistant apparatus. As such, doctors of Chinese medicine needed a training period of years or even decades before they were experienced enough to observe subtle differences and catch vital symptoms.
Practitioners based their diagnosis solely on observation, olfaction, interrogation, pulse taking and palpitation. Observation means that the doctor would observe the external organs closely. When the internal organs malfunction, corresponding symptoms appear externally as body pain, skin pallor, changes in excrement etc.
Palpitation and pulse-taking enables the doctor to juxtapose the pulse of the patient with an inner change. Doctors believe that when all bodily functions are normal, the frequency and beat of the pulse is relative calm, stable and predictable.
Traditional Chinese medicine relies heavily on herbs and prescribes potions that utilize the medicinal virtues of thousands of herbs. The potions are prepared in a methodical way and when it is taken according to the prescribed method, it heals – almost magically. While Western medicine is just beginning to wake up to the importance of exercise and healthy diet, the holistic approach of Chinese medicine focuses on healthy living through consistent exercise and wholesome diet.
The main difference between Western and traditional Chinese medicine is that while Western medicine aims to divide the physical body into parts, the Chinese model is more concerned with the function of the ENTIRE system. Thus, while mainstream medicine strives to cure the ailments of a single body part, Chinese medicine looks at the entire model as a single entity. Therefore even a swollen toe may lead doctors to a problem in the intestine or kidney.
In the West, traditional Chinese medicine is looked upon as alternative medicine. But in mainland China, this treatment is still considered to be an integral part of the health care system. Surprisingly, there is even an effort to integrate Chinese medicine with Western medical practices.
Modern treatments that rely on Chinese medicine include acupuncture , acutouch , herbal medicine and food therapy. Chinese medicine has become so popular because it has successfully evolved through the centuries to embrace the winning techniques of the West and integrate that with the holistic and gentle treatment methods of the East.
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