Traditional Chinese Medicine

Topics: Traditional Chinese medicine, Qi, Yin and yang Pages: 8 (3317 words) Published: March 16, 2005
TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, can be traced as far back as 1000 BC, where stone acupuncture needles were believed to be used. Texts from that period also talked of Yin and Yang and other concepts. The first written work on TCM is titled the Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic, Huangdi Newijing (Gascoigne 11). This book was written in 300 BC, but entries date back to the early 2700's BC. The book is still used in universities of Chinese Medicine around the world and is often called the bible of TCM. Today, TCM is still thriving in China and all of Asia. In recent years, information on TCM has become available to people in the United States. The United States has several schools of TCM, and it is now much easier to buy the necessary supplies needed for correct practice of TCM (Gascoigne 11-7). During some time about 1000 years ago in the Song Dynasty, a man named Chen Yan classified the causes of disease into three different categories (Gao 31). Chinese medicine does not believe that bacteria and viruses are the cause of disease. Instead, it talks about influences that cause "disharmony" in Yin and Yang, the Essential Substances, the Organ System, the Channels, and the Five Phases (Cohen 37). "The Six Pernicious Influences-Heat, Cold, Wind, Dampness, Dryness and Summer Heat-are external climatic forces that can invade the body and create disharmony in the mind/body/spirit" (Cohen 37). With symptoms relating to heat, you can either have an excess of heat or a deficiency of it. Excess heat usually lasts for short periods of time and has symptoms such as high fevers, irritability and restlessness, thirst, little or no sweat or urine, and a flushed face. Heat rises in nature, as it also does in your body. That is why the upper areas of your body are the ones that suffer from excess heat. If you have an insufficient amount of heat you might suffer from hot hands and feet, fevers that occur in the afternoon, sore throat, inability to fall asleep, and irritability. Conditions of insufficient heat are chronic and are caused by a reduction of the body's own healthy energy. Heat affects many different organs in the body, so it is not uncommon to hear things like liver heat, heart heat, and stomach heat in TCM (Gao 37-8). Cold disharmonies are most common in the winter and injure the body's Yang energy. When cold first enters the body it can cause fevers, headaches, and general body pains. If cold enters further and reaches the body's meridians it will produce muscle cramps and pain in the joints and bones. As cold enters further into your body it will eventually reach your internal organs. To much cold in the internal organs can cause "diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and intestinal noises" (Reid 37). Inner cold, not related to weather conditions, is caused by insufficiency of yang energy. Deficiency of yang energy can occur when you eat too many "cold" foods (Reid 37-9). "Wind animates the body, stirring it from repose into motion just as wind moves the leaves of a tree" (Cohen 39). The first symptoms of wind disorders are tics and twitches, as well as headaches and a stuffy nose. If wind further infiltrates the body you may experience seizures, ringing of the ears, and dizziness (Cohen 39-41). Dampness usually occurs in the late summer and can be contracted by exposure to rain or water and or living in damp climates. Symptoms range from sluggishness to "oppressive sensations in the chest". Inner dampness, caused by drinking too much alcohol and eating an excess of sweet and greasy food, has symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea (Reid 38). Dryness is associated with the season of autumn. There is warm dryness and cool dryness. If dryness is contracted in early autumn, it is called warm dryness because the time is closer to summer. If the dryness is contracted in late autumn it is called cool dryness because it is closer...
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