Traditional Chinese Medicine: History, Definition and Most Used Methods

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), also known as Chinese Medicine (in Chinese: Zhongyi Xue Xue Zhongao).

It is the name given to the set of practices of traditional medicine used in China, developed over thousands of years throughout its history.

Chinese medicine originated along the Yellow River, having formed its academic structure a long time ago. Throughout the centuries, it has been the object of many innovations in different dynasties, having trained many famous doctors and in different schools. It is considered one of the oldest forms of oriental medicine, a term that also covers other practices in Asia, such as the traditional medical systems of Japan, Korea, Tibet, Mongolia and India.

Chinese Medicine or TCM (TCM in English) is based on a systematic and broad philosophical theoretical framework. Based on the recognition of the fundamental laws that govern the functioning of the human body and its interaction with the environment in accordance with the cycles of nature, try to apply this approach for the treatment of both diseases and the maintenance of health. through various methods.

The inscriptions on bones and turtle shells of the Yin and Shang dynasties 3,000 years ago, show medical records and a dozen diseases. According to the records of the Zhou dynasty there were diagnostic methods such as: facial observation, hearing of the voice, which question possible symptoms, so the pulses were a method of observing the Zang-fu (organs and viscera), as well as indications for therapeutic treatments such as acupuncture or surgery. Already in these times included in its principles the study of Yin-Yang, the theory of the five elements and the circulation system of the energy meridians of the human body, these principles were refined over the following centuries. In the Qin and Han dynasties, several works had been published as “Canon of the Yellow Emperor of Internal Medicine” (Huangdineijing) now considered the reference work of Chinese medicine.

There are many famous medical classics that came to us from the past: “Canon on complicated diseases”, “About various diseases and typhoid fever”, “On the Pathology of different diseases”, etc. The “Code of Sources of Medicines of the Divine Farmer” is the most famous and ancient work on medicine in China. The “Compendium of Medicinal Resources”, written by Li Shi Zhen of the volumes of the Ming Dynasty, is the most important in the history of China, and the work of world reference in the field of medicine based on herbs .

Acupuncture as a form of MTC introduced important reforms in the years AC – 1279 BC, driven mainly by the physician Wang Weiyi who published “Acupuncture points and the human body”. He created two bronze statues of the human body in order to teach his students the techniques of acupuncture, thus accelerating their development. In the twentieth century, Mao Tze Tung, taught the teaching of Chinese medicine in the university field and its dissemination through China, the creation of many universities and hospitals to practice it, at the time considered a valuable and accessible resource for health public.

Currently there are eight main methods of treatment of traditional Chinese medicine:

  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Tuina or Tui Na (Chinese massage and osteopathy)
  • Diet therapy (china coma therapy)
  • Auriculotherapy (ear treatment)
  • Moxibustión
  • Windsurfing

Physical practices (integrates breathing exercises and circulation of energy, and meditation such as Chi Kung, Tai Chi Chuan and some martial arts) considered for the maintenance of prophylactic health or forms of intervention methods to recover it.

The diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the legacy left by the ancient Chinese doctors, who over the centuries have been improving the anamnesis, overcoming some difficulties and bequeathing their knowledge to future generations. The diagnosis of Chinese medicine, although apparently simple, is very effective – the observations that are made include observing, listening, smelling, asking and touching, they stand out in the observation of the tongue as a diagnosis and the examination of the pulse, a practice that It takes a few years to be completely dominated by the MTC specialist but they provide valuable and accurate information about the patient’s health status.

Chinese medicine, which is poorly known in the West, with the exception of very limited aspects of acupuncture, deserves a special place in the wide and diverse range of alternative medicines. Let’s see why: It is the only medicine that has a continuous existence, its foundation more than 2,000 years ago, is recognized by the Chinese State on a par with the practice of modern medicine. Its characteristics are recognized by the WHO of the UN since it does not decompose in front of any other medical system and it is allowed to be within the philosophical and energy conceptions that supported it over time and it is integrated with validation methods. modern science.

Some Oriental medicines such as Tibetan and Ayurvedic medicine have a very ancient origin, and their interest is unquestionable, but they are practiced on a small scale almost never in a hospital environment and internal validations are rare in the countries of origin. Rather, TCM, while being so old and traditional, evolved to adapt to the needs of the modern world. It is practiced in specialized hospitals that have been mixed or in parallel with all the services that one can find in a European hospital. There are scientific research units that allow the experience and validate it. Thus, for example, the State University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, teaches future doctors theories and methods of parallel techniques for research or clinical care.

On the other hand, Chinese medicine has a wide field of application, as practiced for many centuries in the largest country in the world in terms of demographics. This gives you a unique empirical and scientific experience. Finally, Chinese medicine is a complete system and not just limited applications of medical technology because the field of Chinese medicine is very broad. In fact they are practically the same as in the specialties of Western medicine, however, less restricted and more limiting due to its global approach to the disease and its compartmentalized causes. This allows us to say that Chinese medicine, like Western medicine, has an experience of an official nature, and at the same time, a more humanistic and more integral approach to human beings, health and disease.