The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a 5000-year-old medical system dates back to the 2697-2597 B.C. and was introduced to Japan and Korean and the west Asia in Tang Dynasty (618-907).
TCM holds that all things in nature, both on our earth and beyond, are interrelated, so TCM is also known for the Theories of Yin Yang and Five Elements. The doctors of TCM practice the medicine according to these two theories, by applying the four traditional methods of diagnosis: Inspection, auscultation and olfaction, inquiry and pulse-taking. The TCM treatments include Acupuncture, traditional Chinese Drug and Cupping.
The features of TCM
The methods of diagnosis
In contrast to the western medicine that merely deals with the ailing organ but not removes out the resource of the disease, the TCM way of keeping healthy is balance the Yin and Yang in the body. That is to say, the doctors of TCM make a diagnosis not just according to the symptom. There are four steps should be practicing before making a diagnosis, namely, Inspection, listening and smelling, inquiry and pulse-taking.
1) Inspection- Through observing the complexion, tongue and the coating on the tongue, doctor can identify the location and nature of disease, for TCM considers that the complexion and tongue are related to the five internal organs (heart, liver, spleen, lungs and kidneys).
2) Listening and smelling – By listening to the volume, clarity, and pace of the patients’ voice and smelling the odor of the breath, doctor can tell what is wrong with the patients.
3) Inquiry- Inquiring the patient or his family about the symptom and medical history of the patient is an essential method to diagnose.
4) Pulse-taking - The doctor will feel the pulse on both wrists, noting its rate, rhythm, and strength, to identify the condition of the function of the internal organs through which doctor can make an accurate diagnose.
The treatments of TCM
TCM consists of acupuncture, cupping and Chinese herbal.
1) Acupuncture is a treatment that by inserting, lifting and entwisting the filiform needles into the specific acupoint of the body to alleviate the pain or cure the diseases. It can trace to the 2400 B.C. - the Three Emperor and Five Kings period, and is applied widely to the treatment of various diseases as a practical therapy in China.
Currently, the acupuncture is catching the world’s eyes. The WHO believes in the acupuncture can alleviate the pain caused by the operation and the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
2) Cupping is a special method of accelerating the internal circulation by creating the negative pressure and contrafluxion on the skin through using the heated cupping jars. It dated back to the ancient China about 2100 B.C. to 221 B.C., and prevailed in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
3) In Chinese traditional drug, apart from the plants’ fruits, seeds, leaves, bark, roots, or flowers used for medicinal purposes, includes the snakes’ gall, pilose antler, deer horn, pearls, magnetite and so forth. In the ancient time, the Chinese people were so starving that they tried everything seemed edible, and it turned out that a lot plants could be used to cure certain disease. Thus, it is safe to say that all the plants can be reached are Chinese traditional drugs.
There is a myth about the Chinese traditional drug. A mythical personage with a transparent stomach named Shen Nong was the first person who engaged in the farming and herbal medicine gathering in China’s history. Shen Nong is said to have tasted hundreds of herbs and complied the first Chinese manual on pharmacology- the Shennong Bencao Jing (Shen Nong Emperor's Classic of Materia Medica), lists some 365 medicines, of which 252 of them are herbs.
The four famous medical books and five marvelous TCM doctors
1) The Medical Classic Of the Yellow Emperor (The Internal Classic) is the earliest classical works of TCM in China. It was compiled by the Yellow Emperor, covers not only the medical science but also the astronomy, geography, literature, history, and military science.
2) Shanghan Lun (Treatise on Cold Pathogenic Diseases) was compiled by Zhang Zhongjing in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).
3) Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic is the Chinese first complete pharmacology work, compiled in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220) as well.
4) Nan Jing (Classic of Questioning) was compiled by a famous doctor Bian Que in the Period of Warring States (475-221 B.C.).
1) Bian Que the famous doctor from the Warring State (475-221 B.C.). Representative work: Nan Jing (Classic of Questioning).
2) Hua Tuo the inventor of the Mafeisan (a kind of narcotic made of herbs) from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).
3) Zhang Zhongjing from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). Representative work: Shanghan Lun (Treatise on Cold Pathogenic Diseases).
4) Sun Simiao from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Representative work: Golden Prescriptions for Emergencies (Qianjin Fang).
5) Li Shizhen from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). Representative work: Compendium of Materia Medica (Ben Cao Gang Mu).