TCM – Basic Principles
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) consists of various practices that share common Chinese medical principles. These various practices were developed in China and are based on a tradition that spans two millennia. These practices involve; herbal medicine, acupuncture, tui na (massage and acupressure), qigong (breathing exercises), and dietary therapy.
The principles of TCM are deeply rooted in ancient medical texts such as the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage. Traditional Chinese Medicine owes much of its development to the ancient Taoist masters who originally formed the principles and theories of yin-yang and the five phases of the five elements.
Traditional Chinese Medicine places little emphasis on physiological anatomical structures of the body. The priority of TCM is to see the human body as a whole system of interacting, and inter-promoting changes. The cornerstone of this interaction is the identification of the qualities of the internal organs and their interaction with one another holistically. A break down in the communication for one reason or another between the internal organs, will ultimately result in illness or disease.
Traditional Chinese Medicine also recognises Qi. Qi is seen as the fundamental substance of all organic life. Without it the entire universe would cease to exist. Qi runs through our bodies and illness and disease is seen as a disturbance of Qi. Likewise, a disturbance of Qi can bring about illness and disease. While health is considered a harmonious interaction of the internal organs and a smooth flow of Qi, disease is considered a disharmony of this interaction with an interrupted, blocked, or deficient flow of Qi. Qi is the substance that tai chi chuan practitioners are ultimately cultivating with their practice.