Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient medical system that has been in use for over 3000 years. It diagnoses, treats and prevents diseases.
Ancient Chinese doctors believe that qi (life energy) is vital for human living. As such, an individual’s qi must be in balance for them to be healthy. Qi keeps a person’s physical, mental, spiritual and emotional states in check. Qi circulates throughout the body along paths or channels called meridians.
An imbalance or blockage in qi leads to illness or disease. Imbalances are caused by external forces such as heat, cold or other natural calamities. Similarly, internal forces such as extreme emotions of joy, anger, stress or anxiety may cause an imbalance in Qi. Also, individual lifestyles alter the balance. These include diet, sleep patterns, drugs, exercise and other lifestyle factors.
Traditional Chinese Medicine restores the balance and harmony between Yin and Yang. These are the naturally opposing but complementary forces. Yin-yang believes that people’s existence, growth, behaviour and death are inseparable from nature. They are the forces that help to keep body energy (Qi) in equilibrium. When your qi is in balance, it means that your body is in harmony with nature.
1. Principles of Chinese Traditional Medicine
Like other medical systems, Chinese Traditional Medicine operates on theories and principles. Every theory or principle reflects on the relationship that exists between your body and nature.
There are four principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
- To begin with, the Chinese believe that prevention is better than cure. It is advisable that you respond to changes in your body as soon as it sends possible signals. Ignoring these signals could lead to much bigger issues which were probably avoidable.
- Besides that, your body is integrated. This principle attempts to explain how every body organ is an important part of the whole. Body organs form a complex and interrelated structure. Energy powers this system.
- Coupled with that, the human body has self-healing abilities. Your body is a miniature of the universe. The human body is a representation of the self-balancing nature of the universe. Thus, just as the universe is self-adjusting, so are our bodies.
- Lastly, the human body connects to nature. A change in nature is automatically reflected on our bodies. When assessing health issues, Traditional Chinese Medicine considers various factors. These include time of the day, season, geographical location age, and body conditions.
Through these principles, Traditional Chinese Medicine has formulated healing and body balancing therapies over the years.
2. Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapies
- Acupuncture: A series of thin needles is placed along the meridians. These points are known as acupoints. Acupuncture works by stimulating acupoints along the meridians hence bringing a balance.
- Acupressure: Use of hands and fingers to apply pressure along body meridians. It serves the same purpose as acupuncture, only using different tools.
- Herbal therapy: Involves the use of herbs, leaves, barks, roots and powders to restore balance in the body. Animal supplements are also used.
- Diet: Yin and yang foods restore the yin-yang balance in the body.
- Moxibustion: This involves burning of moxa plant close to the skin. Alternatively, plant fibre is burnt and placed on the skin. The air inhaled during burning restores balance in the body.
- Exercises: Exercises use coordinated movement and breathing as well as meditation. These activities help to improve blood circulation and bring about balance in the body. Exercises such as Tai Chi and Qigong are popular for this.
- Massage (tui na): Involves applying pressure on specific areas for soft tissue manipulation. This helps to improve blood circulation and give a relaxed feeling to the body.
3. Benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine aims at providing natural and holistic treatment to the body. It stimulates the healing mechanisms of the body which bring both physical and psychological benefits.
First of all, Traditional Chinese Medicine reduces inflammation. Inflammation is the root cause of most diseases. Herbal medicine and lifestyle changes help to reduce inflammation and hence reduces the occurrence of diseases. Another benefit of Traditional Chinese Medicine is minimal side effects. Traditional Chinese Medicine has very few side effects. If any, the effects are not harmful. In addition to that, you will improve your quality of sleep by using Traditional Chinese Medicine. Good sleep improves blood circulation, reduces anxiety and improves the quality of life.
Also, Traditional Chinese Medicine plays a great role in improving muscular strength and flexibility. Through exercises such as Tai Chi and Qigong, we gain muscle health. Exercise helps to boost agility and overall body strength. Finally, Traditional Chinese Medicine improves and protects mental health. Besides physical health, this medicine also boosts cognitive health. It helps to reduce stress levels by reducing body response to stress. It also helps to balance hormones that are responsible for various body functions. Thus, it boosts fertility and organ functions.