Chinese Medicine differs from modern western medicine in its understanding of the human condition. It perceives body, spirit and mind as a complex whole constantly in communication with itself as well as its environment in the widest sense. The underlying philosophy is that of continuous change through exchange, based on the perceived relationship between Heaven and Earth or Yin and Yang. At the root of this philosophy lies the cosmological and psychological concept the Tao, generally tanslated as “The Way”.
The image used for the onging change and exchange in our life is that of an unceasing flow of Qi or life energy. Qi is the driving force not just of the life and origin of mankind, but of all existence in our universe, summarised in Taoist thought as “all under heaven” . Wellbeing is experienced when this flow and exchange in us and our environment is balanced, even and strong; when it is disturbed or permanently weakened tension, anxiety, malaise and finally disease will arise. Because this is so, Chinese medicine emphasises the importance of a balanced life style and early, preferably preventive intervention such as a change in diet, life style, environment, daily routine towards “self-cultivation”. On important part of this is the introduction of exercise and meditation or – if imbalances have become pronounced, appropriate treatment.
In Chinese medicine, the aim of diagnosis is to find out where in body and mind and at which level the quality or flow of Qi is impeded. The aim of prescription or treatment is to restore both to give body, mind and spirit the chance to heal.
This view of disease, the causes of disease and the treatment or prevention of disease was developed over millenia into a rather sophisticated collection of models of pathology, which are reflection in the various interventions and treatment methods Chinese Medicine offers.
There are seven basic forms of invention a nd treatment, which fall into two groups.The first three are concerned with what the patient can do for herself, namely physical exercise, meditation and diet.
The other four being applied by the therapist, i.e. “medicine” in the sense of the prescription of pills and concoctions made of herbs and a number of other substances, the application of acupuncture or moxibustion, various forms of massage and acupressure and finally on or off the body QiGong healing.
In Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Tibet and other Asian cultures, we find a variety of differentiations to the theme. The most recent addition being the Japanese therapy of Shiatsu, which is closely related to various forms of Chinese Anmo massage and QiGong Healing.
Read about the history and recent development of Chinese Medicine >>>