The Origin of Chinese Medicine
It began in China over four thousand
years ago. But its methods have no geographic bounds. Today, it's practiced the world over. Chinese herbs don't only come
from China, they come from everywhere,. Cinnamon from Vietnam, cardamom from India, and even American ginseng from Wisconsin
are now Chinese herbs.
The oldest known book about Chinese Medicine is The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic. It
was compiled before 200 BC. It's a summary of medical ideas and techniques that were in use long before the second century
Today, Chinese Medicine has expanded far beyond the Inner Classic. Countless variations and innovations have appeared.
But some principles are unchanging. These root principles, such as yin and yang, describe natural laws, the laws your body
must ultimately obey. These root principles endow Chinese Medicine with a unique knowledge making it, in some ways, far more
evolved than modern technological medicine.
History of TCM Through Books
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is more than
2,000 years old. The earliest medical text, The Yellow Emperor's Inner Classic also was known as Plain Questions and
the Canon of Acupuncture . The book, summarizes and systematizes the previous millenia of medical experience and deals with
the anatomy and physiology of the human body. This work lays the foundation for TCM.
Later important books also represent milestones
in the history of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). They include:
The Herbal is the earliest classic
on herbs. This materia medica was handed down from the Qin and Han dynasties (221 B.C--220 A.D.). It is the summary of pharmaceutical
knowledge known before the Han. It discuss 365 kinds of drugs and offers the pharmacological theory of "jun, chen, zuo and
shi " (monarch, minister, assistant and guide) indicating the actions of drugs in a prescription,"
Treatise on Febrile Diseases and Miscellaneous
Diseases Zhang Zhongjing, (300 A.D) Differentiates febrile diseases according to the theory of six channels, miscellaneous
diseases according to pathological changes of viscera and. Establishes diagnosis based on overall analysis of signs and symptoms.
Its 269 prescriptions make up the basis for modern clinical practice.
Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Huang Fumi (215--282 A.D.), 12 volumes, 128 chapters. The earliest classic specific to acupuncture and moxibustion in China.
It summarizes information on the channels and collaterals, acupuncture points, needle manipulation, and contraindication.
It lists the total number of the acupoints as 349, and discusses the therapeutic properties of each point.
General Treatise on the Causes and Symptoms
of Disease 610 A.D., Chao Yuanfang, together with others. The earliest classic on etiology and syndrome. 50 volumes, divided
into 67 categories, and list 1,700 syndromes. It expounds on the pathology, signs and symptoms of various diseases, surgery,
gynecology, and pediatrics .
Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold
for Emergencies Sun Simiao 581--682 A.D 30 volumes and 5,300 prescriptions. Also deals with acupuncture, moxibustion,
diet therapy, prevention, and health preservation. Outstanding treatment of deficiency diseases.
The Medical Secrets of An Official
Wang Tao 752 A.D. 40 volumes, introduces 6,000 prescriptions. A master's compendium of prescriptions available before the
Chi is the source of all movement.
Chi is the source of all heat
Chinese medicine is about Chi.
We study where it comes from, where it goes, and how it flows. Your body is nourished by, cleansed by, and dependent on flows.
Think of your Chi as all your body's energies, electrical, chemical, magnetic, and radiant.
and energy, (flesh and Chi), are
governed by natural law. Natural forces such as gravity, time, inertia, friction, yin, and yang, all affect us, inside and
Chi must flow. Movement shows that Chi exists. Warmth shows
that Chi is present.
There are many kinds of Chi. There's Chi
of the channels and Chi of the collateral channels, protective Chi, digestive
Chi, central Chi, and original Chi. There's
normal Chi and perverse Chi, kidney Chi and
lung Chi and liver Chi (every organ has its own Chi).
Chi and blood
nourish the body. Chi moves the blood, and blood is mother of the Chi.
Normal flows of Chi and blood are the basics of good health. When they are abundant and
flowing, we are well.
When blood or Chi is weak or stuck, we become ill.
Theory of Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang refer to the sides of a mountain.
In the morning, one side is in shade,
the other in sunlight.
Later in the day, the sides have reversed.
Dark becomes light and light becomes dark.
is like this, forever changing, undulating. In time, Yang turns to Yin. Yin predictably becomes Yang.
Change is certain, a basic law of nature you can count on,
Yang and Yin support one another as they oppose each other. There is always yin within yang and yang
within yin. You simply can' t have one without the other.
We see the body and its disharmonies in changing shades
of Yin and Yang. This helps to understand where events come from and where they are going to.
This helps to understand the disease and the patient
Channels and the Acupoints
Where There's Flow, There's No Pain
Much of our Chi energy flows
along fourteen major channels and numerous minor channels. These flows influence the flow of all our fluids and energies.
Each one of these flows passes through and influences
an internal organ. Typically, these rivers of energy are named according to the internal organs which they nourish. Thus we
have the Liver Channel, Stomach Channel, Heart channel, etc.. To the acupuncturist, these channels provide access to the internal
organs. Most of the 500 or so acupuncture points lie on major channels.
Acupuncture points are used to regulate
flow along these channels. The most powerful points on these channels lie on the extremities - below the elbows and knees.
Five powerful points on the extremity of each channel are known as the five Shu points. They are likened to the flow of water
and named the source points, well points, stream points, river points, and sea points.
Theory of the Organs, the Zhang / Fu
The organs are more than flesh and blood.
They also perform tasks involving the Chi.
Since we are, in part, about energy we
obviously must have ways of using or managing it. In TCM, we attribute the creation, storage and circulation of qi to
some of the internal organs.
Chinese medical theory groups the organs into
pairs. The Yin organs - (the heart, spleen, lungs, kidneys, and liver) are called the Zang are considered the most
important. They are structurally solid, and responsible for the creation and storage of Chi
The Yang organs, (large intestine, small intestine,
stomach, gall bladder, and urinary bladder) are called the Fu and are considered less important. They are hollow organs,
responsible mainly for the transportation of food and for elimination.
There is sixth pair of organs known as the Pericardium
and Triple-Heater. These are conceptual organs. They have protective and energetic attributes, but no actual
of the Organs
food and fluids
|Home to the Shen (spirit). |
the blood, speech, and the vessels
|Extracts energy from food.
|Governs tranportation and transformation.
Root of construction and the blood
|Protects the Interior|
and is the root of the qi
Governs skin and hair
Stores the Po (aspect of spirit)
|Regulates urination and reproduction.
Nourishes the brain and Marrow.
Controls the fire at the Gate of Life.
|Stores the original qi (yuan qi)
Stores the essence (jing)
Rules the bones, brain and marrow
Smoothes the flow of Chi
Regulates Menstrual Flow
|Governs coursing, discharge and
Stores the Blood.
The Five Elements -
Relationships of the organs to one another and the theory of corespondances
A Storm in the Mountains and the Valley
It is obvious that the
organx are dependent on one another. The Five Elements is a theory that helps us to understand these relationships.
According to this principle, there exist five elemental types. These elements are known as Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and
Wood. Each element relates to the other according to two cycles of influence. Disharmony in one element will thus create disharmony
in others according to these cycles.
1- The generating cycle (clockwise effecting
the next element)) For example, the Liver, overheated by anger, can attack the heart,
2- The checking cycle (counter clockwise, skipping
over the preceding element). For example, Insomnia from Heart Fire can be caused by Kidneys, weakend by overwork.
Each type also corresponds to a major organ system.
Each type also has corresponding tastes, colors, odors, and emotions. Some of these correspondences are:
1 - Fire/ Red/ Heart/ Joy/
Bitter/ Scorched (acrid)
2 - Earth/ Yellow/ stomach/ Spleen/ Worry/
3 - Metal/ White/ Lungs/ Grief/ Hot/ Fleshy
- Water/ Black/ Kidneys/ Fear/ Salty/ Putrid
5 - Wood/
Green/ Liver/ Anger/ Sour/ Rancid
The 8 Principles: Locatinig
the disease and its nature
The Eight Principles are four Yin/Yan conditions
that assess the location and nature of the illness. Once this is known, the treatment plan is simple - Balance the body. Strengthen
the weak, cool the hot, moisten the dry, etc. These pairs are:
EXCESS/ DEFICIENT Too
much or too little. These terms describe both the disease and the patient. Sudden illness is excess. Chronic illness suggests
deficiency. Symptoms of excess are stronger or more pronounced than those caused by deficiency. A severe sore throat suggests
wind-heat excess (viral), while a persistent scratchy throat implies heat cause by a deficiency of coolness (yin).
Where does the disharmony originate? Is it invading from the exterior, or is it caused by deficiency, emotion, or stagnation
in the interior. Airborn viruses, bacterial infections, or other pestilential diseases are Exterior. Exterior diseases can
penetrate the body and become Interior disease.
HOT/ COLD Heat suggests
an oversupply of qi or an inadequacy in the body's cooling system. Cold suggests the opposite, qi deficiency or weak metabolic
function. Just as it can be hot in Miami and cold in Siberia, bodies can be hot and cold at the same time. the
Liver can be hot while the Kidney is cold. Diseases can also have hot or cold natures, depending on the way they affect us.
DAMP/ DRY Life loves water,
and excessive dampness inside the body helps breed microscopic life such as bacteria, virus, fungus. Swollen tissue, excess
phlegm or other fluids are signs of dampness. Dryness indicates a scarcity of fluids. Causes of dryness are Blood or Yin deficiency.
Excessive heat can also scorch the fluids and leads to dryness. Prolonged exposure to dry weather will cause dryness inside
the body as well.
The Five Emotions
Events in our minds effect our chemistry.
We sense the state of our body's inner chemistry. We call this sense our feelings. We project these feelings
to others as emotions. When emotions are intense, they change our body in profound ways. This changing inner
chemistry affects the flow and rhythm of our organism by influencing the gi and the organs.
The emotions correspond to the organs and the
five elements. For example,
Joy the Heart
Sadness the Spleen
Grief the Lungs
Fear the Kidneys
Anger the Liver
Excessively strong emotions pervert the qi to
create disease. Fear or anger lead to constraint of qi, which results in depression, stagnation, and a multitude of physical