Oriental Medicine Basics
Traditional Chinese Medicine Health Technique Basics.
The following information has been gathered and compiled over a period of years, through personal experience, while traveling, teaching classes that include T'ai Chi, Qi Gong, herbal information, martial arts and other health related subjects. The article also contains feedback from students and anecdotal information from readers of my columns. The following are my opinions and deductions from those sources.
The underlying principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are not to treat the symptom(s) but to find and attend to the underlying cause(s). TCM uses many tools in order to accomplish that process. Acupressure, acupuncture, herbs, diaphragmatic breathing, specific exercises, carefully supervised fasting (to aid in the removal of toxins) and massage, including meridian massage. See my article “Acupressure, Meridian Massage and Health” for more information on meridians.
Prevention and balancing the body are primary. Finding the energy blockages, and disharmony, and then correcting the problems so the healing Chi flow is reestablished are basic fundamentals. Treatment and intervention are always a secondary consideration and used only when a state of dis-ease or illness does occur.
Emotional balance is as important as any other health aspect in TCM. TCM practitioners believe that emotional extremes, too much bad news, too much sadness as well as excessive joy, all throw the body, and emotional equilibrium, out of balance. Some believe that emotional disharmony stems from physical problems. Others, myself included, believe that a problem in either the emotional or physical arena can cause an imbalance in the other. We are, after all, a complete organism, not individual parts and pieces. Nutrition, exercise and proper breath control are the foundations of treatment for emotional imbalances.
Another important part of TCM, and usually overlooked in allopathic western medicine, is emptiness. Emptiness is seen as eliminating mental, emotional and physical clutter from one’s life. That entails learning to live in a state of quiet and stillness, which seems far from the western beliefs of noise and constant stimulation. Emptying the mind through meditation and understanding the action of non-action are also important TCM principles. Emptiness involves striving toward simplicity in diet and removing unnecessary items from our lives, including cleaning out the garage, closets and back porch and eliminating anything that we don’t use, no matter what emotional strings are attached. The emotional attachments can keep us stuck where we are and unable to heal. One holistic doctor I know, won’t treat anyone who he’s feels has a cluttered life, until they do a complete housecleaning and discard the unnecessary from their lives. “Silence is golden” applies to this part of TCM.
It’s impossible to correct a blocked or stagnant flow of Chi, the healing energy of the body, unless the body is in balance and harmony within (the body) and without (the universe). This requires balancing out the yin and yang energies. If one energy is too strong, it can block the flow of the other. Yin and yang are seen as the basics of all things, including the human body. Other energies that require balance and harmony for complete health are the nature elements, wood, fire, Earth, metal and water. In TCM, for true and complete health, it’s seen as necessary for humans to be in harmony with the universe, world and nature and not in conflict.
Yang foods are warming foods, Yin foods are cooling. To be in harmony and balance, internally and with the external environment, yang foods are eaten in cold weather and yin are eaten when it’s warm or hot.
Tags: Health , Alternative , Oriental , TCM , Chi , Qi
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