An Ancient Medicine for Modern Times
Even though it has grown in popularity over the past decades, Chinese medicine is over 5,000 years old and has been the most consistent form of medicine, passing the test of time.
If you have ever had acupuncture treatments or gone to a qi gong class, you have participated in this ancient medicine and have tapped into its wisdom.
This article will cover what Chinese medicine is, yin and yang, which is the tenet of Chinese medicine philosophy, and how it works.
What is Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine is an ancient medicine whose goal is to maintain balance in the body by helping our body’s innate ability to heal and maintain homeostasis.
The roots of this ancient medicine come from Taoism; it relates the microcosm of the human body to the universe’s macrocosm.
Taoism acknowledges the duality in all things. Everything that exists is in constant motion, changing; It believes that one achieves good health by finding a balance between the two opposing forces and living and flowing in harmony with the universe. This belief gave rise to the theory of yin and yang.
The Theory of Yin and Yang
The Yin Yang theory states that everything has a counterpart that complements it. Yin is dense and pertaining to cold, nighttime, and stillness; yang is intangible energy related to heat, daytime, and movement. These all have meaning because of their opposite. Night has meaning because daylight exists, winter has meaning because there is a summer, etc. They constantly change and transform into the other as we move through the days and seasons. If we remove these opposites, everything loses meaning, and life on earth wouldn’t exist as we know it. The duality of existence moves towards the balance of the universe.
In nature, we can observe that destruction and natural disasters happen when there is too much or little of certain elements.
Yin Yang in The Human Body
The Taoists observed our connection to the universe and concluded that the same theory of yin and yang applies to the human body.
Yin being “matter” all that has substance in the body, this means blood, body fluids, organs, tissues, etc. Yang being “pure energy” gives movement to everything in the body. It is the life force behin
d all the substances; a component of yang is “qi” in Chinese medicine. These two opposing forces rely on each other, neither can exist without the other. Yang brings yin to life; it provides it with the energy needed to move and spread throughout the body; without yang qi, everything is static. Yin provides the yang energy a home to be grounded in; without yin, yang is just floating energy/qi. If either yin or yang becomes excess or deficient, we have an imbalance in the body; this is when we see dis-ease.
A Holistic Approach
Chinese medicine is a holistic and organic approach to healing; it believes that good health is our birthright; our body’s natural state is not one of disease or pain. If yin and yang are balanced, and qi flows smoothly, there should be no disease, and if there is, it is interference to these.
Practitioners of this medicine view the person as a whole, mind, body, spirit, and analyze an individual’s conditions and changing conditions that allow certain diseases to thrive. Rather than attempting to eliminate the “problem,” they seek to understand what internal or even external conditions enable the problem to reside in the body. By understanding these, we can begin to treat both the symptoms and the root cause and actually start the process of healing.
The primary goal is to optimize the body to fight pathogenic factors to prevent them from invading in the first place.
Chinese medicine is used to address many conditions, including:
Pain- Anywhere in the body
Various skin conditions: Acne, eczema, etc.
How Does Chinese Medicine do this?
Chinese medicine is a form of energy medicine.
Our body has an intricate network of channels and collaterals that we call meridians. The meridians connect our external world to our internal one and all internal organs, think of meridians as streams that run through your body, and what flows through them is qi/energy/life force. Qi is the spark of life that allows every function in your body to take place; it allows the transportation of blood, body fluids, nutrients, etc., through the body as needed. We maintain healthy qi by the food we put into our bodies, and our lifestyle choices.
Chinese medicine works on the level of the meridians, which affects the whole body. Through modalities like acupuncture, herbology, nutrition, lifestyle changes, exercises, etc., the qi mechanism of the body is restored flows harmoniously.
The Bottom Line
Chinese medicine has passed the test of time, surviving thousands of years, it can be used to treat nearly any condition successfully; this
is not to say you shouldn’t see your western doctor; both forms of medicine work best when used in an integrative approach; they fill the gaps the other is missing.
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