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Traditional Chinese Medicine: Healing Art on Far East

Traditional Chinese Medicine as a holistic medicine is gaining more and more interest and reputation worldwide. TCM originated in China about 2000 years ago. The goal of TCM is to maintain or restore the inner balance. 

What is TCM?

TCM is based on different philosophical teachings, which in turn go back to the famous philosopher Confucius. Confucius was a Chinese philosopher, politician and teacher. According to Confucianism, the five main virtues of humanity, propriety, righteousness, wisdom and loyalty should be reflected in basic interpersonal relationships. It is a kind of moral teaching and ethical rules of conduct contained therein.

The views of the five elements doctrine (earth, metal, water, wood and fire), Yin and Yang and the life energy Qi influence every natural being. To stay healthy, they must always remain in balance.

Philosophy of TCM

TCM is based on different philosophical teachings, which in turn go back to the famous philosopher Confucius. Confucius was a Chinese philosopher, politician and teacher. According to Confucianism, the five main virtues of humanity, propriety, righteousness, wisdom and loyalty should be reflected in basic interpersonal relationships. It is a kind of moral teaching and ethical rules of conduct contained therein. 
The views of the five elements doctrine (earth, metal, water, wood and fire), Yin and Yang and the life energy Qi influence every natural being. To stay healthy, they must always remain in balance.

The life energy "Qi

The life energy Qi flows through the entire body on certain channels, the meridians. This connects all organs with each other. The flow of Qi is maintained by a balance of the two life poles Yin (shadow - calm, passivity, cold) and Yang (light - dynamics, activity, heat). However, if there is a disturbance here and the energy flow is blocked, Traditional Chinese Medicine can solve these blockages. 

black and white yin yang sign

TCM diagnostics

Traditional Chinese medicine manages in diagnostics almost without technical aids. The beginning is very similar to western medicine. An anamnesis is conducted and a physical examination is performed. However, here the focus is on the person as a whole, not only symptoms are treated. Through the anamnesis interview, the physician tries to recognize the physical and mental condition of the patient. This is followed by the physical examination, which looks at the patient's overall appearance.

Therapy methods of TCM - the 5 pillars of TCM

The various therapeutic methods of Traditional Chinese Medicine together form the so-called "5 pillars of TCM". 

  1. Acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion
  2. Medicines (CAT = Chinese Medicinal Therapy, Chinese Herbs)
  3. Movement and coordination exercises (e.g. Qigong, Taiji)
  4. Nutrition (food as medicine)
  5. Massage (e.g. Shiatsu, Tuina)

The various therapeutic methods of TCM are often combined with each other to ensure an individual and holistic treatment success. In our western world mainly acupuncture and Chinese medicine are used. However, Chinese dietetics is also becoming increasingly popular in our country. 

Face of woman who is relaxed during massage

1st pillar: acupuncture, acupressure, moxibustion

In acupuncture, certain points are stimulated with acupuncture needles. This is to influence the Qi and make it flow. Usually several sessions are necessary. In moxibustion, the stimulation of acupuncture points takes place through heat. For this purpose dried Mugwort herb lit directly on the skin. A small burn blister remains.

Medicines wall of TCM

Pillar 2: Pharmaceuticals

Chinese medicines usually consist of a combination of different preparations. TCM is the world's largest know-how carrier. The Chinese medicines are based on different characterisitka. They are composed of the flavors, the temperature and the pathway on which they act. Each flavor is associated with certain bodily reactions. For example, spicy opens the skin and you start sweating. Temperature also plays an important role. For example, a warming tea has a soothing effect on a sore throat. 

Man doing Taiji in the green

3rd pillar: movement and coordination exercises

Qigong and Taiji are composed of certain movement sequences, breathing and coordination exercises. These are coordinated with each other. The pathways and their reflex points are stretched in a fixed sequence and the breathing is directed. Thereby the consciousness is directed to selected body regions. Finally, there is an improvement in the regulation of organ functions by the nervous system (especially the brain and spinal cord).

Teacup and teapot TCM

Pillar 4: Nutrition

According to TCM, food has an energetic healing effect. This is not determined by the ingredients (calories, nutrients, etc.) but by the flavors, smell, color, temperature and consistency. Thus, different tastes have different effects on the organs (taste stimulates organ): 

  • Bitter → Heart
  • Sour → Liver
  • Sharp → Lung
  • Salty → Kidneys
  • Sweet → spleen, pancreas

In addition to the flavor, the preparation method also plays a decisive role. In addition, food should be eaten in the typical season. Regular meals at fixed times should also be taken in peace. 

View of a back during a Tuina massage

5. massage

Tuina therapy is one of the oldest manual therapies and has a more intensive and long-lasting effect than other massage techniques. Through different massage and grip techniques, various stimuli are set to stimulate the life energy Qi and blood circulation. Tuina is suitable for all ages and lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, for full body treatment up to 1 hour.

Fields of application of TCM

Traditional Chinese medicine can be used in many different areas. For example, to complement conventional medicine, for health prevention, to accompany smoking cessation or a diet. Often TCM is used to act chronic diseases or pain. 

Disease patterns that are treated:

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Lung diseases
  • Ear, nose and throat diseases
  • Allergies
  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract
  • Gynecology
  • Exhaustion states
  • uvm.

Study situation on TCM

Scientific studies that prove the positive effect of TCM are sparse. Only acupuncture has been scientifically studied in detail and a positive effect on various pains could be proven. Qigong and Taiji have also been scientifically studied many times and a positive health effect has been proven. 
However, there are hardly any risks associated with TCM treatment. The few side effects arise from allergies to certain medicinal plants used in the course of therapy or food intolerances. However, if you buy TCM medicinal herbs, then you should pay attention to a controlled cultivation and certifications from Germany. 

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