Principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine
For more than 2000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has developed as a way to create better harmony between the body's various organs in order to restore peace between body and soul. An imbalance in the body results in illness, including cognitive problems such as attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, and mood swings.
This imbalance is a product of the countless factors - both external and internal - affecting the human being as a whole. According to the principles of Chinese medicine, some of the major categories of variables that produce this imbalance are:
- External factors: wind, warmth, fire, humidity, dryness and cold.
- Seven emotional factors: anger (affecting the liver), joy (affecting the heart), grief and melancholy (affecting the lungs), over-thinking (affecting the spleen), shock and fear (affecting the kidneys).
- Sources of disease that originate outside the body: including factors such as climate and weather conditions (particularly, extreme conditions), and more.
In order to understand how the body, as a whole, can be brought to a balanced, harmonized state so that its functions and condition are improved, one must first diagnose the source of the problem causing the imbalance.
The diagnostic process includes checking the pulse and the tongue, and collecting information by way of an interview. In these ways, TCM practitioners identify the source of the disharmony, and the type of difficulty it causes, through the implementation of various TCM methods, which include 8 basic principles:
Yin - Yang
Heat - Cold
Internal - External
Deficiency - Excess
and the 5 elements, which represent both character traits and different body organs:
In addition to the above factors, body fluids, phlegm, blood and Qi (energy, the force of life) are also taken into account.
The need to scrutinize such a large variety of components affecting the energetic state of the individual, and consequently his/her state of health, explains the great complexity in diagnosing on the basis of Chinese medicine. Notwithstanding, a precise diagnosis is crucial, as it comprises the basis for a decision on how to bring the individual from a state of imbalance to a state of energetic balance between the body, the soul, and the individual's environment. This balance will strengthen the body and soul's ability to withstand harmful effects. The practical significance of the above is that in the case of different individuals suffering from the same malady, the medicinal plant formula they require in order to attain an energetic balance will be different, if the source of the malady is different.
It is important to note that according to the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, treatment will only be effective for a prolonged period of time and ensure genuine healing when the source of the problem is dealt with. Superficial treatment - which does not address the underlying cause of the problem and fails to produce an energetic balance of the body and soul- is not only ineffective, but may even exacerbate the malady from which the patient suffers.