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Characteristics of Traditional Chinese Medicine


Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back almost 5000 years to legendary figures such as The Yellow Emperor, Huang Di, and The Divine Farmer, Shen Nong. There are seven concepts which underpin Traditional Chinese Medicine. These are:-
    Yin & Yang
    The Five Elements
    The Twelve Organs
    Blood and The Three Treasures (Jing, Qi & Shen)
    The Eight Principles
    Causes of diseases

Yin & Yang are the forces at work around us. It is based on the idea that everything is grouped in pairs of opposite energies, the equivalent of Newton's law of 'For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction'. This can be applied to all things, including the workings of the human body. What is Yin or Yang is only a relative concept; in other words, it is only Yin/Yang... when compared with something else.

The Five Elements describe natural energies. Each element is associated with a colour, flavor, season, direction and other aspects and can be matched to a particular body type and personality.

The Twelve Organs are not to be confused with the organs of modern anatomy and Western medicine. Although they are called by the same names, they have different functions. Each organ has a set of functions, areas of the body it controls and a Meridian along which acupuncture points are located. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the solid organs are the liver, heart, spleen, lungs & kidneys. The hollow organs are the gallbladder, stomach, small intestine, large intestine & bladder. There are two other organs in Traditional Chinese Medicine & they are the pericardium the covering that protects the heart) & The Triple Heater (San Jiao) which controls the distribution of heat and water.

Qi is the potential energy in all living things, ranging from plants to humans. It determines our energy or vitality and is the catalyst for all our bodily processes. Qi moves the blood and our blood nourishes the organs in order to produce Qi. Preserving and nurturing our Qi is the most important step in protecting your health.

Blood moistens, nourishes and cools the body. It works closely with Qi to maintain our health. Jing is an energy we are born with & determines our basic constitution. It is closely associated with inherited Qi, reproductive energy and the kidneys. Shen lives in the heart. Imbalance of the Shen leads to insomnia, confusion and anxiety. Together, Jing, Qi & Shen are our Three Treasures.

The Eight Principles are specific medical concepts in Traditional Chinese Medicine which elaborate the ideas that everything is based on pairs of opposing energies. These principles, made up of four pairs of opposites, are known as Yin-Yang, Hot-Cold, Full-Empty & Interior-Exterior. A disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine can have several of these properties.

Causes of Diseases can be categorized as:-
    External causes (the six evils: wind, cold, fire, summer heat, dryness, damp)
    Internal disharmony between the organs' energies
    Internal disharmony between the organs' associated emotions

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