What is Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a system of health care that views health and disease as two ends of the same spectrum. Disease is simply the reflection of a body system that is imbalanced, or out of sync with the external environment. In Chinese Medicine, the therapist is concerned not just with treating the disease, but the person as a whole. Everything that affects us, from our emotional state and our genetic factors, to what we consume and absorb from our surroundings influence the interplay of structure and flow, and rest and activity in our body.
The concept of Qi
Qi is the dynamic energy pervading all living organisms. That which animates life is called Qi.
Just as the gravitational force of the moon can affect the tides, the Qi in our environment can affect our moods, our core temperature and our health. It is the force that makes the heart beat, the force that pumps blood, and the rush of adrenalin in a fight-or-flight setting. The smooth flow of Qi allows organs to function correctly, while obstructions in the flow leads to dysfunction, pain and disease.
Yin and Yang
In Chinese medicine, the interaction of Yin and Yang refers to the interaction of substance and energy. In general, Yin describes coldness, body fluids and blood in the body. Yang signifies heat, metabolic activity and kinetic movement.
The constant fluctuation of these two factors means the balance is easily tipped and disease ensues.
In Chinese medical theory, the causes of disease are really patterns – descriptions of underlying relationships in the body, rather than descriptions of material agents or pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. This means that a Chinese medicine practitioner is not really concerned with what virus or disease you might have contracted; the name is simply taken into consideration and incorporated into the overall picture of your health. A Western medical diagnosis is the name for a set of patterns that has been categorised differently to Chinese medicine. Both can treat the same thing – except in a different way. This difference in approach is particularly valuable when a person doesn’t respond to pharmaceutical drugs, or when bacterial strains become resistant to antibiotics.