Chinese Medicine - What is it and Why Should You Care?
The birth of Chinese Medicine is estimated to date back to the period of the Shang Dynasty (1766 - 1100BC). A Bronze Age, based on the domestication of plants and animals where most members of society lived in small hamlets (or settlements) causing a class structure to emerge of peasants and the ruling elite. The people during these times had concerns about health and held a long tradition of healing practices to treat illnesses but diseases, as we understand them were rare. Illnesses were disturbances of the individual as a whole once remedied the individual could resume normal activities. Whereas diseases were transmitted socially with natural influences the cause. Over time these theories have evolved into rational medicine stemming from a philosophical tradition. In 1973 a 2100-year-old tomb was found to contain a set of textbooks printed on silk that outlined the principles of Chinese medicine such as pulse-taking, yin/yang and diagnostic techniques.
Defining This Ancient Medicine
Chinese Medicine is simply the consideration of the human being as a whole mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually to treat a medical problem. It now is called Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Practitioners use many tools to treat a patient. Some of the treatments include herbalism, acupuncture, moxibustion, acupressure, Qi Gong, or food therapy.
How Does this Relate to Us Modern Day Humans?
TCM is beneficial in modern-day society as it's holistic, treating the whole person rather than the symptoms, looks towards prevention rather than cure and can treat those suffering from illnesses that cannot be cured by contemporary medicine.
The benefits of understanding the key principles of TCM is best stated by Dr Duo Gao in the book, Chinese Medicine -
"...to change people's thoughts on healthy living and attempt to achieve a positive outlook whereby we realise that what we eat, how we take mental or physical exercise, and how the world and our environment affect us all have everyday implications on our state of health. "
In the next edition of Robyn's residency, we'll dive into the features of Chinese Medicine and how to use apply these principles in your life.