The world is getting complicated and technical and many persons are looking outside the world of Orthodox Medicine for ways of making their lives simpler and healthier. In recent times, many Chinese traditions have become popular in the west and one of them is the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a system that has been popular in China for over 2,500 years.
The idea of a Chinese system of medicine, evokes mixed reactions, one of disgust and one of sheer curiosity. Many people are disgusted at the thought of eating powdered extracts of insects, crocodile’s teeth or a hippo’s horn and so forth. But Chinese medicine is different from Orthodox Medicine, which tends to view human beings like machines – different organs made of lots of tiny pieces and it is believed that sickness results from a breakages of any of the organs and Orthodox Medicine specialists treat sickness by specifically targeting the broken pieces with medication or surgery. Conventional Medicine works at a smaller and a specific level, it sometimes forgets that sickness affects the whole person.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine work?
TCM has a very different approach. Practitioners of Chinese Medicine believe in treating the whole person. They see the whole body as a structure made of energy (‘qi’) that flows through the body in distinct pathways or meridians. Whenever this energy is blocked or goes out of balance, sickness is the result. A TCM practitioner looks at many more factors than conventional doctors. For example, they differentiate the pulse of the right arm and the left arm and take the pulse in three different positions on each arm. Once, they have assessed all the symptoms, they prescribe a treatment that restores the energy balance across the body, rather than treating one specific area.
Famous TCM treatments:
Acupuncture is one method of affecting the flow of ‘qi’. The idea is that the needles can make contact with the meridians running through the body and restore the ‘qi’ or the energy balance. TCM practitioners believe that they can remove blocks in the energy flow or even drain out the negative energy flow and strengthen the positive energy flow.
Herbal medicine is another aspect of TCM and a typical prescription consists of a combination of ten herbs and minerals brewed as tea.
The famous Chinese philosophy is, “One disease, many formulas, one formula, may diseases”. A single illness can be treated with different prescription, while any single prescription can treat lots of different illness because they contain so many herbs and minerals.
TCM is extremely popular in the west and it is being extensively being researched. In India, we are familiar with Acupuncture, but we hardly know anything about the wonderful Chinese Herbs.