Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (tcm)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) involves the use of Chinese herbal medicine, Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Qi gong, Tuina (Chinese massage), and a medicated diet, and is one of the world’s most ancient medical systems, with its own principles, diagnostic methods and therapies. It has become very popular in the west.

Meridians and Collaterals

TCM views the meridians and collaterals networks using Zang-Fu, which categorises tissues and organs in an organic whole. Each Zang and Fu organ transports Qi and blood, and regulates Yin and Yang, maintaining the functions and activities of all parts of the body. This system guides the diagnosis, treatment and application of all the branch subjects of TCM.

Yin and Yang

TCM also holds as its central belief that health in all parts of body is due to the relationship between Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang theory is the general principle used to classify in TCM’s holistic approach to health and disease, and also offers a clinical guide to preventing and curing disease.


TCM’s diagnosis depends merely on the doctor’s sense organs to acquire clinical data. It mainly consists of the four techniques of diagnosis, namely: interrogation, inspection, auscultation (listening) and olfaction (smelling), pulse feeling and palpation.


TCM has three basic components: Chinese herbal therapy, Acupuncture and Tuina (Chinese massage) therapy, and Diet therapy.

Chinese herbal therapy

This is based on the principle that good health depends on achieving optimum vitality and balance – a balance described in terms of the polarity of Yin and Yang.

Chinese herbs come from nature, and include flowers, stems, leaves, roots and barks. Each herb has its own specific characteristics. Their different characteristics are employed to treat disease, rectify the hyperactivity or hypoactivity of Yin or Yang, and help the body restore its normal physiological functions – consequently, curing the disease and restoring health.

Chinese herbal administration (herbal dosages and powder forms) usually depends on your condition, your constitution and age. It should be larger for serious emergencies and stubborn problems with a young and strong patient, smaller for mild problems, and with the aged, the frail, and with children and pregnant women.

The doctor will carefully select different herbal dosages or powder forms to treat you as your treatment starts, and closely monitor your progress through regular consultations. As your condition change, the treatment will be altered accordingly.

Acupuncture and Tuina therapy

These are two practical therapies in TCM. They are to regulate the meridians or channels of the body, to unblock the stagnation of Qi and blood, and balance Yin and Yang, maintaining their function, via the extraordinary points, scalp points, auricular points, and other special points by needle (in the case of Acupuncture) or by the fingers, hands and limbs of the Tuina therapist.

When using Tuina for infant and prenatal care, some special points exist besides the acupoints on the 14 meridians and extra-points. Manipulation using pushing, kneading, rubbing is mostly used.

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Diet Therapy

Each food (vegetable, fruit, meal, nut, etc.) has its own specific characteristics. We can guide you to the best foods to treat your condition, in accordance with the actual condition of disease, the characters and functions of the foods, and therapeutic requirements found through the doctor’s consultation.

Other treatments

Moxibustion, Cupping therapy, Ear authority, Electrolysis, Electrotherapy (without needle) are often used. All of them work by same principles of acupuncture therapy.

What does Chinese Medicine treat?

TCM treats your mind and body as a whole, not just the condition. Using the principles of TCM, a very wide variety of conditions, and any age can be helped, including:

1.Common Internal Diseases

Anaemia, Asthma, Arthritis, Cerebral Thrombosis, Cold, Colitis, Constipation, Constipation, Cholecystitis, Coronary Heart Disease, Digestive Ulcers, Diabetes, Diarrhoea, Oedema, Flu, Gout, Headaches, Hypertension, Hyperlipoproteinemia, Hay fever, Irritable bowel syndrome, Malabsorption, Nephritis, Neurosis, Neurasthenia, Thyroid, Pneumonia, Pancreatitis, etc.

2.Women’s problems

Pre-menstrual syndrome, Painful periods, Menopausal syndromes, endometriosis, Sterility, Morning sick, Pelvic Inflammation, etc.

3.Men’s problems

Ejaculation Praecox, Hypertrophy, Low Steam Court, Impotence, Prostitutes, Sex Drive Problems.

4.Skin problems

Herpes Zoster, Contact Dermatitis, Eczema, Urticaria, Neurodermatitis, Psoriasis, Acne Vulgaris, Alopecia Areata, Resaca, etc.

5.Muscular, neurological, skeletal and vascular problems

Arthritis, Back Pain, Frozen Shoulder, Gonitis, Hemiplegia, Lumbago (lower back pain), Neuralgia, Omalgia, Sciatica, Stiff Neck Stroke, Sprain, Sports Injury, Tennis Elbow, Trigeminal, Tendon Injury, etc.

6.Mental and Emotional Problems

Anxiety, Depression, Stress, Panic Attack, Insomnia, Palpitation, etc.

7.Ear, Nose, Throat and Ophthalmic Problems

Conjunctivitis, Optic Neuritis, Myopia, Obits Media, Sore Throat, Hay Fever, Halitosis, Pharyngitis, Rhinitis, Sinusitis, etc.


Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Gastric Cancer, etc.

By: Lihua Li

About the Author:

Dr Lihua Li is fully qualified, trained in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine. She has a London chinese medicine clinic. Services range from chinese acupuncture to tanning salon

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What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system of diagnosis and health care that has evolved over the last 3000 years. The Chinese approach to understanding the human body is unique. It is based on the holistic concept of the universe outlined in the spiritual insights of Daoism, and it has produced a highly sophisticated set of practices designed to cure illness and to maintain health and well being.

These practices include acupuncture, herbal remedies, diet, Tui na massage, meditation and both static and moving exercises call Qi Gong and Tai Chi. Although all these practices appear different in approach, they all share the same underlying sets of assumptions about the nature of the human body and its place in the universe.

The world view that underpins the principles and practices of Chinese medicine is based on the Daoist understanding of a universe where everything is interdependent and mutually interactive. Nothing is excluded; nothing is analyzed or interpreted without reference to the whole. To understand what Chinese medicine is all about, it is important first to explore this idea of holism which is best explained by the concept of Yin and Yang.

The concept of Yin-Yang is fundamental to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The idea of yin and yang developed from observing the physical world. It was observed that nature appears to group into pairs of mutually dependant opposites, each giving meaning to the other. For example, night has no meaning without the concept of Day, the concept of up doesn’t mean much without the idea of down. The idea of yin and yang is essentially a descriptor of the dynamic interactions that underpin all aspects of the universe. Yin and yang shouldn’t be thought of as things but as a key to a way of thinking about the world.

Along with the concept of yin and yang, there are other fundamental ideas or energies that define TCM. The theory of the Five Elements also comes from observation of the various groups of dynamic processes, functions and characteristics observed in the natural world.

The energies of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water relate to both the natural world and the human body. Further to Yin/Yang and the Five Elements there are the basic substances that make up the universe and the human body. In Traditional Chinese Medicine terms these are called the Qi (chee), Jing essence, the Shen or mind/spirit, the blood and body fluids.

Meridians, or energy pathways of the body, have been mapped out and acupoints determined along them. These points and meridians are stimulated by acupuncture, the insertion of fine needles into the skin, or acupressure (massaging and pressing on these acupoints). Traditional Chinese Medicine also uses herbal medicine, cupping and Gua Sha or scraping, auricular therapy, Tui na massage and physical exercises like Tai Chi and Qi gong.

By: Jennifer Gawne

About the Author:

To learn more, visit the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences online. ACOS is a Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture School offering 3, 4 and 5 year fully-accredited diploma programs.

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