Traditional Chinese Medicine
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
The theories of TCM come mainly from practice and have been continuously expanded throughout its long history. The basic characteristics can be summed up under two concepts: the concept that the human body is a whole organism closely related to nature, and the concept that diagnosis and treatment should be based on an overall analysis of signs and symptoms.
Great importance is placed upon the unity of the human body itself and on its inseparable relationship with external natural surroundings. Man lives in nature and is influenced by movements and changes in nature; humans make corresponding physiological and pathological responses to natural occurrences and cycles.
Four methods—observation, listening and smelling, inquiring, and feeling and palpating the pulse—are used to collect the set of signs and symptoms (syndromes). This information is analyzed to arrive at a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Focus is not so much on the disease itself as on the differing symptoms a disease might have.
In the past 100 years, the use of Western medicine has become widespread in China. Today, most Chinese medical scholars advocate that Eastern and Western medicines should co-exist, cooperating with and learning from one another. Each has merits and shortcomings; by working together, they can best serve the people who are the objects of their study.