A short history of Chinese medicine
The origin of Chinese medicine dates back several thousands of years. Back then there were already physicians who systematically researched the medicinal effects of herbs. The realization that “Food and Medicine come from the same source” originated around this time. A prominent development occurred during the Xia dynasty (ca. 2017-1600 BC) when alcohol was discovered. In the Shang dynasty (1600-1046 BC) alcohol extraction from herbal decoctions triggered a significant growth in the medical efficiency. Eventually, four medical disciplines emerged in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BC):
- Physical medicine
- Herbal medicine
- Veterinary medicine
During the “Warring States Period” (770-221 BC) Bian Que took the experiences of his predecessors and created four methods as the basis for diagnosis in TCM:
- Listening and Smelling
“The yellow emperor’s classic of internal medicine” (Huang Di Nei Jing), which was compiled throughout the Qin and Han dynasties (221 BC – 220 AD), proposed systematic discussions on the human physiology, pathology, various symptoms of diseases, preventive treatment methods and the functions of therapies. This book consequently defined the framework of Chinese medicine. It represents a milestone in the development of transferring practical experiences and observations towards a systematic summary of beliefs. Thus creating the theoretical framework for TCM.
Throughout the centuries many new therapies were established, respectfully the existing therapies such as acupuncture, moxibustion and Tuina massage were refined.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the particularly effective measures were officially recognized by the health authorities in “Traditional Chinese Medicine -TCM” and since then taught, researched and further developed at the Chinese universities as being equal to the Western school of medicine. Modern TCM is therefore not solely made up of the ancient approaches, but has a good compatibility in teaching and application due to being aligned with modern medicine.
The TCM philosophy: Harmony between Man and Nature
TCM describes features of the philosophical directions of Taoism and Confucianism. Both philosophies define the state of “happiness” as absolute harmony between man and nature, achievable through a corresponding lifestyle.
TCM believes that the body is one coherent system, in which all body parts, organs and organ systems, and the spirit are connected through energetic channels. A person is considered healthy when all of his energies are balanced in harmony.
Below you will find a brief introduction to the most important ideas and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine.