Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM): Chinese Oriental Medicine

14 October 2007 by
Editorial team
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient holistic system of healing. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a range of traditional medical practices originating in China that developed over several thousand years. In fact, TCM is a modern compilation of traditional Chinese medicine. TCM practices include theories, diagnosis and treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage; often Qigong is also strongly affiliated with TCM. TCM is a form of so-called Oriental medicine, which includes other traditional East Asian medical systems such as traditional Japanese, and Korean medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is based on the notion of harmony and balance, and employing the ideas of moderation and prevention. Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from the same philosophical bases that contributed to the development of Taoist philosophy, and reflects the classical Chinese belief that individual human experiences express causative principles effective in the environment at all scales. TCM theory is based on a number of philosophical frameworks including the theory of Yin-yang, the Five Elements, the human body Meridian system, Zang Fu organ theory, and others. Diagnosis and treatment are conducted with reference to these concepts. TCM does not operate within a western scientific paradigm but some practitioners make efforts to bring practices into a biomedical and evidence-based medicine framework. Diagnostics in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)/ Chinese Oriental MedicineFollowing the macro philosophy of disease, traditional Chinese diagnostics are based on overall observation of human symptoms rather than "micro" level laboratory tests. There are four types of TCM diagnostic methods: observe, hear and smell, ask about background and touching. The pulse-reading component of the touching examination is so important that Chinese patients may refer to going to the doctor as "Going to have my pulse felt". Modern practitioners in China often use a traditional system in combination with Western methods. Techniques in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)/ Chinese Oriental Medicine • Palpation of the patient's radial artery pulse (Pulse diagnosis) in six positions • Observation of the appearance of the patient's tongue • Observation of the patient's face • Palpation of the patient's body (especially the abdomen) for tenderness • Observation of the sound of the patient's voice • Observation of the surface of the ear • Observation of the vein on the index finger on small children • Comparisons of the relative warmth or coolness of different parts of the body • Observation of the patient's various odors • Asking the patient about the effects of his problem • Anything else that can be observed without instruments and without harming the patient The below methods are considered as part of the Chinese medicine treatment: 1. Chinese herbal medicine 2. Acupuncture and Moxibustion 3. Die-da or Tieh Ta 4. Chinese food therapy 5. Tui na - massage therapy 6. Qigong and related breathing and meditation exercise 7. Physical exercise such as T'ai Chi Ch'uan and other Chinese martial arts 8. Mental health therapy such as Feng shui and Chinese astrology Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) is notably different from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The Nationalist government elected to abandon and outlaw the practice of CCM as it did not want China to be left behind by scientific progress. For 30 years, CCM was forbidden in China and several people were prosecuted by the government for engaging in CCM. In the 1960's, Mao Zedong finally decided that the government could not continue to outlaw the use of CCM. He commissioned the top 10 doctors (M.D.'s) to take a survey of CCM and create a standardized format for its application. This standardized form is now known as TCM.
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