C hinese medicine is an ancient system of healing – acupuncture and Chinese
herbal medicine grew up in tandem over 2,000 years. It is based on the philosophy of a very different civilization from our own, a civilization that perceived people as either “in harmony” or “out of harmony” with themselves and their surroundings. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) sees disease in terms of patterns of disharmony, and so attempts to restore the balance in the person who is sick. Energy is believed to flow through channels called meridians, through which disease may be treated.


TCM uses terminology that sounds strange to most Westerners. Instead of talking about rheumatic disease or neurological diseases it classifies diseases as being caused by Wind, Heat, Dampness, or Cold. Instead of talking about rheumatism in the Knee joint, it may classify it as Cold- Damp in the Stomach meridian.

Western medicine focuses on a specific cause for a specific disease, and when it isolates that cause or agent is tries to control or destroy it.
Chinese medicine is also concerned with the cause, but it focuses on the patient’s response to that disease entity, both physiological and psychological.

All the relevant information, including symptoms that may not seem related to the patient’s main complain, is collected together to enable the practitioner to discover the pattern of disharmony within that person, which can then be addressed by Chinese medicine.

For instance, two patients coming with asthma may have completely different diagnoses according to Chinese medicine. The one with a pale face, prone to catching colds (Lung Qi Deficiency) will be given a completely different herbal formula to the patient who has a dry cough, thirst, and breathlessness on exertion (Lung Yin Deficiency). TCM does treat the same disease – to a large extent people have the same problems the world over – it just perceives them in an entirely different way.

Chinese medicine is based on the philosophy of YIN and YANG. There are the dual forces in the universe, seen both within nature and human beings. They are used to explain the ongoing process of natural changes – Yang is more prevalent at night. There is no absolute Yin or Yang in living things – a cold Yin type illness may have aspects of Yang, such a sharp, forceful contractions. Yin and Yang depend on each other and keep each other under control. However,
it is when they go seriously out of balance and do not correct themselves that there is disease