Starting from late 19th century, some politicians and Chinese scholars with background in Western medicine have been trying to phase out TCM totally in China.

The attempts to curtail TCM in China always provoke large scale debates but have never completely succeeded. Still, many researchers and practitioners of TCM in China and the United States argue the need to document
TCM's efficacy with controlled, double blind experiments. These efforts remain hampered by the difficulty of creating effective placebos for acupuncture studies.[citations needed]

The attempt to phase out TCM in Japan partially succeeded after Meiji Restoration. However, in the 1920s a movement emerged that attempted to restore traditional medical practice, especially acupuncture. This movement,
known as the Meridian Therapy movement (Keiraku Chiryo in Japanese) persists to this day. Furthermore, many Japanese physicians continue to practice Kampo, a form of traditional medicine based on the Shang Han Lun
tradition of Chinese herbal medicine.[citations needed] The most scientific derivative of TCM practiced in Japan is ryodoraku. It was developed by Yosio Nakatani in 1950. It utilizes objective electricity test instruments and
direct current stimulation of acupoints instead of subjective interpretation of symptoms and treatment. Ryodoraku research is centered at Osaka Medical College, Japan.


Traditional Chinese medicine has been to some degree modernized by transforming the plants and ingredients to soluble granules and tablets. Modern formulations in pills and sachets used 675 plant and fungi ingredients and
about 25 from non-plant sources such as snakes, geckos, toads, bees, and earthworms.

Investigation of the active ingredients in TCM has produced western style drugs, for example Artemisinin now widely used in the treatment of malaria.

See also


This article needs additional citations for verification.

  1. ^ Su Wen, chapter 3
  2. ^ Charles Benn, China's Golden Age: Everyday Life in the Tang Dynasty. Oxford University Press, 2002, ISBN 0-19-517665-0), pp. 235.
  3. ^ Wu Jing-nuan, An Illustrated Chinese Materia Medica. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 5.
  4. ^ Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China: Volume 3, Mathematics and the Sciences of the Heavens and the Earth (Taipei: Caves Books, Ltd., 1986) pp. 648–649.
  5. ^ Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China: Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology, Part 1, Botany. (Taipei: Caves Books Ltd., 1986), pp. 174–175.
  6. ^ Schafer, Edward H. "Orpiment and Realgar in Chinese Technology and Tradition," Journal of the American Oriental Society (Volume 75, Number 2, 1955): 73–89.
  7. ^ West, Stephen H. "Cilia, Scale and Bristle: The Consumption of Fish and Shellfish in The Eastern Capital of The Northern Song," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies (Volume 47, Number 2, 1987): 595–634.
  8. ^ "It could be said that the theory of the 5 Elements, and its application to medicine, marks the beginning of what one might call 'scientific' medicine and a departure from Shamanism. No longer do healers look for a
    supernatural cause of disease: they now observe Nature and, with a combination of the inductive and deductive method, the set out to find patterns within it and, by extension, apply these in the interpretation of disease"
    - from an introductory textbook used by many acupuncture courses - Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, p.16. ISBN 0-443-03980-1.  
  9. ^ Needham, Joseph; Lu Gwei-Djen (1980). Celestial Lancets. Cambridge University Press, pp.69-170, 262-302. ISBN 0-521-21513-7.  
  10. ^ Needham et al[1980], p. 296
  11. ^ Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Alumni
  12. ^ Unschuld, Paul Ulrich (1985). Medicine in China: A History of Ideas. University of California Press. ISBN 0520062167.  
  13. ^ Porkert, Manfred (1974). The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine: Systems of Correspondence. MIT Press. ISBN 0262160587.  
  14. ^ Maciocia, Giovanni (1989). The Foundations of Chinese Medicine. Churchill Livingstone.  
  15. ^ Kaptchuk, Ted (2000). Chinese Medicine: The Web That Has No Weaver, 2nd.  
  16. ^ Ernst E, Pittler MH, Wider B, Boddy K (2007). "Acupuncture: its evidence-base is changing". Am. J. Chin. Med. 35 (1): 21–5. PMID 17265547.  
  17. ^ Lee A, Done ML (2004). "Stimulation of the wrist acupuncture point P6 for preventing postoperative nausea and vomiting". Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (3): CD003281. doi:10.1002/14651858.
    CD003281.pub2. PMID 15266478.  
  18. ^ Dibble SL, Luce J, Cooper BA, Israel J, Cohen M, Nussey B, Rugo H (2007). "Acupressure for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a randomized clinical trial". Oncol Nurs Forum 34 (4): 813–20. doi:
    10.1188/07.ONF.xxx-xxx. PMID 17723973.  
  19. ^ Manheimer E, Zhang G, Udoff L, Haramati A, Langenberg P, Berman BM, Bouter LM (2008). "Effects of acupuncture on rates of pregnancy and live birth among women undergoing in vitro fertilisation:
    systematic review and meta-analysis". BMJ 336 (7643): 545–9. PMID 18258932.  
  20. ^ Furlan AD, van Tulder MW, Cherkin DC, et al (2005). "Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain". Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (1): CD001351. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001351.pub2.
    PMID 15674876.  
  21. ^ Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, Forys K, Ernst E (2005). "Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain" (PDF). Ann. Intern. Med. 142 (8): 651–63. PMID 15838072.  
  22. ^ Trinh K, Graham N, Gross A, Goldsmith C, Wang E, Cameron I, Kay T (2007). "Acupuncture for neck disorders". Spine 32 (2): 236–43. doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000252100.61002.d4. PMID 17224820.  
  23. ^ Trinh KV, Graham N, Gross AR et al (2006). "Acupuncture for neck disorders". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004870.pub3.  
  24. ^ The Cochrane Collaboration - Acupuncture for idiopathic headache. Melchart D, Linde K, Berman B, White A, Vickers A, Allais G, Brinkhaus B
  25. ^ Cochrane Collaboration. [Search all Cochrane reviews for "acupuncture", retrieved 30 January 2008.
  26. ^ Acupuncture and related interventions for smoking cessation
  27. ^ Acupuncture for shoulder pain
  28. ^ Lewith GT, White PJ, Pariente J (Sep 2005). "Investigating acupuncture using brain imaging techniques: the current state of play". Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM 2 (3): 315–9. doi:
    10.1093/ecam/neh110. PMID 16136210. Retrieved on 2007-03-06.  
  29. ^ http://www.aaom.org/default.asp?pagenumber=47494
  30. ^ AMA (CSAPH) Report 12 of the Council on Scientific Affairs (A-97) Full Text
  31. ^ Towards a Safer Choice - The Practice of Traditional Chinese medicine In Australia - Summary of Findings
  32. ^ 香港容易混淆中藥
  33. ^ ¡u¨~µv¡v»P¡u¤úµv¡v¤Å²V²c¨Ï¥Î
  34. ^ Chinese medicine Natrii Sulfas not to be confused with chemical Sodium Nitrite
  35. ^ âÏõͼÆ×-¿óÎïÀà(¿óÎïÀà)
  36. ^ a b http://www.cmrb.vic.gov.au/current-news/draft/CMRBDisPaperInternet.pdf
  37. ^ Towards a Safer Choice - The Practice of Traditional Chinese medicine In Australia - Education in Traditional Chinese Medicine 8.1 - 8.3.3
  38. ^ Towards a Safer Choice - The Practice of Traditional Chinese medicine In Australia - Risks Associated with the Practice of TCM - 4.1 - 4.6
  39. ^ Bensky, Clavey and Stoger (2004). Chinese Herbal Medicine Material Medica (3rd Edition). Eastland Press.  
  40. ^ NOVA Online | Kingdom of the Seahorse | Amanda Vincent
  41. ^ Shark Fin Soup: An Eco-Catastrophe?


  • Chang, Stephen T. The Great Tao; Tao Longevity; ISBN 0-942196-01-5 Stephen T. Chang
  • Kaptchuck, Ted J., The Web That Has No Weaver; Congdon & Weed; ISBN 0-8092-2933-1Z
  • Jin, Guanyuan, Xiang, Jia-Jia and Jin, Lei: Clinical Reflexology of Acupuncture and Moxibustion; Beijing Science and Technology Press, Beijing, 2004. ISBN 7-5304-2862-4
  • Maciocia, Giovanni, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists; Churchill Livingstone; ISBN 0-443-03980-1
  • Ni, Mao-Shing, The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine : A New Translation of the Neijing Suwen with Commentary; Shambhala, 1995; ISBN 1-57062-080-6
  • Holland, Alex Voices of Qi: An Introductory Guide to Traditional Chinese Medicine; North Atlantic Books, 2000; ISBN 1-55643-326-3
  • Unschuld, Paul U., Medicine in China: A History of Ideas; University of California Press, 1985; ISBN 0-520-05023-1
  • Scheid, Volker, Chinese Medicine in Contemporary China: Plurality and Synthesis; Duke University Press, 2002; ISBN 0822328577
  • Qu, Jiecheng, When Chinese Medicine Meets Western Medicine - History and Ideas (in Chinese); Joint Publishing (H.K.), 2004; ISBN 962-04-2336-4
  • Chan, T.Y. (2002). Incidence of herb-induced aconitine poisoning in Hong Kong: impact of publicity measures to promote awareness among the herbalists and the public. Drug Saf. 25:823–828.
  • Benowitz, Neal L. (2000) Review of adverse reaction reports involving ephedrine-containing herbal products. Submitted to U.S. Food and Drug Administration. January 17.
  • Porkert, Manfred The Theoretical Foundations of Chinese Medicine MIT Press, 1974 ISBN 0-262-16058-7
  • Hongyi, L., Hua, T., Jiming, H., Lianxin, C., Nai, L., Weiya, X., Wentao, M. (2003) Perivascular Space: Possible anatomical substrate for the meridian. Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 9:6
    (2003) pp851-859

Further reading

Wellcome Historical Medical Museum and Library, Chinese Medicine (1966)

External links

Online databases

  • [1] ("Traditional Chinese Medicine 中医- Singapore TCM, Acupuncture and by Registered Chinese Physician")
  • [2] ("Traditional Chinese Medicine - Free Information Site in English, Chinese and German -- 神农氏")
  • Kamwo Herb Guide ("Traditional Functions of Chinese Herbs and Formulas - Free Online Database")
  • 中醫檔案區("Chinese medicine place") Classical texts in public domain.
  • 電子中醫藥古籍文獻("Electronic old Chinese Medicine books and texts") Classical texts for FTP

Following a macro philosophy of disease, traditional Chinese diagnostics are based on overall observation of human symptoms rather than "micro" level laboratory tests. There are four types of TCM diagnostic methods:
observe (望 wàng), hear and smell (闻/聞 wén), ask about background (问/問 wèn) and touching (切 qiè).[14] The pulse-reading component of the touching examination is so important that Chinese patients may refer to
going to the doctor as "Going to have my pulse felt"[15]

Traditional Chinese medicine is considered to require considerable diagnostic skill. A training period of years or decades is said to be necessary for TCM practitioners to understand the full complexity of symptoms and
dynamic balances. According to one Chinese saying, A good (TCM) doctor is also qualified to be a good prime minister in a country. Modern practitioners in China often use a traditional system in combination with Western
methods.[citation needed]


  • Palpation of the patient's radial artery pulse (pulse diagnosis) in six positions
  • Observations of patient's tongue, voice, hair, face, posture, gait, eyes, ears, vein on index finger of small children
  • Palpation of the patient's body (especially the abdomen, chest, back, and lumbar areas) for tenderness or comparison of relative warmth or coolness of different parts of the body
  • Observation of the patient's various odors
  • Asking the patient about the effects of their problem.
  • Anything else that can be observed without instruments and without harming the patient
  • Asking detailed questions about their family, living environment, personal habits, food diet, emotions, menstrual cycle for women, child bearing history, sleep, exercise, and anything that may give insight into the
    balance or imbalance of an individual.


The below methods are considered as part of the Chinese medicine treatment:

  • Chinese herbal medicine (中草药/中药/中藥)
  • Acupuncture(针灸/針灸)- Moxibustion, Cupping(拔罐),Gua Sha (刮痧)
  • Tui na (推拿) - TuiNa healing massage therapy
  • Qigong (气功/氣功) and related breathing and meditation exercise
  • Chinese food therapy (食疗/食療)
  • Physical Qigong exercises such as TaiJiChuan (Taijiquan 太极拳/太極拳), Standing Meditation (站樁功), Yoga, Brocade BaDuanJin exercises (八段锦/八段錦) and even perhaps other Chinese martial arts
  • Die-da or Tieh Ta (跌打) as practiced usually by martial artists who usually know just parts of Chinese medicine as it applies to the therapy of wounds and trauma.
  • Some TCM doctors may also utilize esoteric methods that incorporate/reflect personal beliefs or specializations such as Fengshui (风水/風水) or astrology (八字)

Auriculotherapy (耳灼疗法/耳燭療法) comes under the heading of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. Tieh Ta (跌打) are practitioners who specialize in healing trauma injury such as bone fractures, sprains, and bruises. Some
of these specialists may also use or recommend other disciplines of Chinese medical therapies (or Western medicine in modern times) if serious injury is involved. Such practice of bone-setting (整骨)is not common in the


Traditional Chinese medicine has many branches, the most prominent of which are the Jingfang (经方学派) and Wenbing (温病学派) schools. The Jingfang school relies on the principles contained in the Chinese medicine
classics of the Han and Tang dynasty, such as Huangdi Neijing and Shennong Bencaojing. The more recent Wenbing school's practise is largely based on more recent books including Compendium of Materia Medica from
Ming and Qing Dynasty, although in theory the school follows the teachings of the earlier classics as well. Intense debates between these two schools lasted until the Cultural Revolution in mainland China, when Wenbing
school used political power to suppress the opposing school.[citations needed]

Scientific view


See also: Acupuncture#Scientific research into efficacy
Much of the scientific research on TCM has focused on acupuncture. The effectiveness of acupuncture remains controversial in the scientific community, and a review by Edzard Ernst and colleagues in 2007 found that the
body of evidence was growing, research is active, and that the "emerging clinical evidence seems to imply that acupuncture is effective for some but not all conditions".[16] Researchers using the protocols of evidence-based
medicine have found good evidence that acupuncture is moderately effective in preventing nausea.[17][18] A 2008 study suggest that combining acupuncture with conventional infertility treatments such as IVF greatly improves
the success rates of such medical interventions.[19] There is conflicting evidence that it can treat chronic low back pain,[20][21] and moderate evidence of efficacy for neck pain[22][23] and headache.[24] For most other
conditions[25] reviewers have found either a lack of efficacy (e.g., help in quitting smoking[26]) or have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to determine if acupuncture is effective (e.g., treating shoulder pain[27]).
While little is known about the mechanisms by which acupuncture may act, a review of neuroimaging research suggests that specific acupuncture points have distinct effects on cerebral activity in specific areas that are not
otherwise predictable anatomically.[28]

The World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the American Medical Association (AMA) have also commented on acupuncture[29][30]. Though these groups disagree on the standards
and interpretation of the evidence for acupuncture, there is general agreement that it is relatively safe, and that further investigation is warranted. The 1997 NIH Consensus Development Conference Statement on acupuncture

...promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain. There are other situations such as addiction,
stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and asthma, in which acupuncture may be useful as an adjunct treatment
or an acceptable alternative or be included in a comprehensive management program. Further research is likely to uncover additional areas where acupuncture interventions will be useful.

Much less scientific research has been done on Chinese herbal medicines, which comprise much of TCM. Some doubts about the efficacy of many TCM treatments are based on their apparent basis in sympathetic magic
(causation due to analogy or similarity) — for example, that plants with heart-shaped leaves will help the heart[citation needed], or that ground bones of the tiger can function as a stimulant because tigers are energetic animals.
While the doctrine of signatures does underlie the selection of many of the ingredients of herbal medicines, this does not necessarily mean that some substances may not (perhaps by coincidence) possess attributed medicinal
properties. For example, it is possible that while herbs may have been originally selected on erroneous grounds, only those that were deemed effective have remained in use. Potential barriers to scientific research include the
substantial cost and expertise required to conduct double-blind clinical trials[citation needed], and the lack of financial incentive from the ability to obtain patents. Traditional practitioners usually have no philosophical
objections to scientific studies on the effectiveness of treatments.[citation needed]

Pharmacological compounds have been isolated from some Chinese herbal medicines; Chinese wormwood (qinghao) was the source for the discovery of artemisinin, which is now used worldwide to treat multi-drug resistant
strains of falciparum malaria, and is also under investigation as an anti-cancer agent.[citation needed] It was one of many candidates then tested by Chinese scientists from a list of nearly 200 traditional Chinese medicines for
treating malaria. It was the only one that was effective. Many Chinese herbal medicines are marketed as dietary supplements in the West, and there is considerable controversy over their effectiveness.[citation needed]


Acupressure and acupuncture are largely accepted to be safe from results gained through medical studies. Several cases of pneumothorax, nerve damage[citation needed] and infection[citation needed] have been reported as
resulting from acupuncture treatments. These adverse events are extremely rare especially when compared to other medical interventions, and were found to be due to practitioner negligence.[citation needed] Dizziness and
bruising will sometimes result from acupuncture treatment.

Some governments have decided that Chinese acupuncture and herbal treatments should be administered by persons who have been educated to apply them safely. One Australian report said in 2006, "A key finding is that the
risk of adverse events is linked to the length of education of the practitioner, with practitioners graduating from extended traditional Chinese medicine education programs experiencing about half the adverse event rate of those
practitioners who have graduated from short training programs."[31]

Certain Chinese herbal medicines involve a risk of allergic reaction and in rare cases involve a risk of poisoning. Cases of acute and chronic poisoning due to treatment through ingested Chinese medicines are found in China,
Hong Kong, and Taiwan, with a few deaths occurring each year.[citation needed] Many of these deaths do occur however, when patients self prescribe herbs or take unprocessed versions of toxic herbs.[citation needed] The
raw and unprocessed form of aconite, or fuzi is the most common cause of poisoning. The use of aconite in Chinese herbal medicine is usually limited to processed aconite, in which the toxicity is denatured by heat treatment.

Furthermore, potentially toxic and carcinogenic compounds such as arsenic and cinnabar are sometimes prescribed as part of a medicinal mixture, in a sense "using poison to cure poison". Unprocessed herbals are sometimes
adulterated with chemicals that may alter the intended effect of a herbal preparation or prescription. Much of these are being prevented with more empirical studies of Chinese herbals and tighter regulation regarding the
growing, processing, and prescription of various herbals.[citation needed]

In the United States, the Chinese herb má huáng (麻黄; lit. "hemp yellow") — known commonly in the West by its Latin name Ephedra — was banned in 2004 by the FDA, although the FDA's final ruling exempted traditional
Asian preparations of Ephedra from the ban. The Ephedra ban was meant to combat the use of this herb in Western weight loss products, a highly modern phenomenon and well removed from traditional Asian uses of the
herb. There were no cases of Ephedra based fatalities with patients using traditional Asian preparations of the herb for its traditionally intended uses. This ban was ordered lifted in April 2005 by a Utah federal court judge.
However, the ruling was appealed and on August 17, 2006, the Appeals Court upheld the FDA's ban of ephedra, finding that the 133,000-page administrative record compiled by the FDA supported the agency's finding that
ephedra posed an unreasonable risk to consumers.

Many Chinese medicines have different names for the same ingredient depending on location and time, but worse yet, ingredients with vastly different medical properties have shared similar or even the same names. For
example, there was a report that mirabilite/sodium sulphate decahydrate (芒硝) was misrecognized as sodium nitrite (牙硝)[32], resulting in a poisoned victim[33][34]. In some Chinese medical texts, both names are
interchangeable[35]. The Chinese Medicine Registration Board of the Australian state of Victoria issued a report in 2004 which noted this was a problem that needed to be addressed[36].

Relationship with Western medicine

Within China, there has been a great deal of cooperation between TCM practitioners and Western medicine, especially in the field of ethnomedicine. Chinese herbal medicine includes many compounds which are unused by
Western medicine, and there is great interest in those compounds as well as the theories which TCM practitioners use to determine which compound to prescribe. For their part, advanced TCM practitioners in China are
interested in statistical and experimental techniques which can better distinguish medicines that work from those that do not. One result of this collaboration has been the creation of peer reviewed scientific journals and medical
databases on traditional Chinese medicine.

Outside of China, the relationship between TCM and Western medicine is more contentious. While more and more medical schools are including classes on alternative medicine in their curricula, older Western doctors and
scientists are more likely than their Chinese counterparts to skeptically view TCM as archaic pseudoscience and superstition. This skepticism can come from a number of sources. For one, TCM in the West tends to be
advocated either by Chinese immigrants or by those that have lost faith in conventional medicine. Many people in the West have a stereotype of the East as mystical and unscientific[citation needed]which attracts those in the
West who have lost hope in science and repels those who believe in scientific explanations. There have also been experiences in the West with unscrupulous or well-meaning but improperly-trained "TCM practitioners" who
have done people more harm than good in some instances.

As an example of the different roles of TCM in China and the West, a person with a broken bone in the West (i.e. a routine, "straightforward" condition) would almost never see a Chinese medicine practitioner or visit a martial
arts school to get the bone set, whereas this is routine in China. As another example, most TCM hospitals in China have electron microscopes and many TCM practitioners know how to use one.[citation needed]

Most Chinese in China do not see traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine as being in conflict. In cases of emergency and crisis situations, there is generally no reluctance in using conventional Western medicine. At
the same time, belief in Chinese medicine remains strong in the area of maintaining health. As a simple example, you see a Western doctor if you have acute appendicitis, but you do exercises or take Chinese herbs to keep your
body healthy enough to prevent appendicitis, or to recover more quickly from the surgery. Very few practitioners of Western medicine in China reject traditional Chinese medicine, and most doctors in China will use some
elements of Chinese medicine in their own practice.

A degree of integration between Chinese and Western medicine also exists in China. For instance, at the Shanghai cancer hospital, a patient may be seen by a multidisciplinary team and be treated concurrently with radiation
surgery, Western drugs and a traditional herbal formula. A report by the Victorian state government in Australia on TCM education in China noted:

Graduates from TCM university courses are able to diagnose in Western medical terms, prescribe Western pharmaceuticals, and undertake minor surgical procedures. In effect, they practise TCM as a specialty within the
broader organisation of Chinese health care.[37]
In other countries it is not necessarily the case that traditional Chinese and Western medicine are practiced concurrently by the same practitioner. TCM education in Australia, for example, does not qualify a practitioner to
provide diagnosis in Western medical terms, prescribe scheduled pharmaceuticals, nor perform surgical procedures.[38] While that jurisdiction notes that TCM education does not qualify practitioners to prescribe Western
drugs, a separate legislative framework is being constructed to allow registered practitioners to prescribe Chinese herbs that would otherwise be classified as poisons.[36]

It is worth noting that the practice of Western medicine in China is somewhat different from that in the West. In contrast to the West, there are relatively few allied health professionals to perform routine medical procedures or
to undertake procedures such as massage or physical therapy.

In addition, Chinese practitioners of Western medicine have been less affected by trends in the West that encourage patient empowerment, to see the patient as an individual rather than a collection of parts, and to do nothing
when medically appropriate. Chinese practitioners of Western medicine have been widely criticized for over-prescribing drugs such as corticosteroids or antibiotics for common viral infections. It is likely that these medicines,
which are generally known to be useless against viral infections, would provide less relief to the patient than traditional Chinese herbal remedies.

Traditional Chinese diagnostics and treatments are often much cheaper than Western methods which require high-tech equipment or extensive chemical manipulation.

TCM doctors often criticize Western doctors for paying too much attention to laboratory tests and showing insufficient concern for the overall feelings of patients.[citation needed]

Modern TCM practitioners will refer patients to Western medical facilities if a medical condition is deemed to have put the body too far out of "balance for traditional methods to remedy.
One China One   11   11: Greater China   大中國   大中国: Past, Present, Future   過往 今日 明天   过往 今日 明天: 012
One China One: 012: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  中醫   中医        aaa
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM, simplified Chinese: 中医; traditional Chinese: 中醫; pinyin: zhōngyī)
includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. It is considered a Complementary or Alternative Medical
system in much of the western world while remaining as a form of primary care throughout most of Asia.

TCM practices include treatments such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, dietary therapy, Tui na and Shiatsu massage; often
Qigong and Taiji are also strongly affiliated with TCM.

TCM theory is extremely complex and originated thousands of years ago through meticulous observation of nature, the cosmos,
and the human body. Major theories include those of Yin-yang, the Five Phases, the human body Channel system, Zang Fu
organ theory, six confirmations, four layers, etc.
Alternative medical

NCCAM classifications

See also
Alternative medical

NCCAM classifications

See also
Traditional Chinese medicine/dried goods shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Much of the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine derived from the same philosophical bases that Taoist and Buddhist
philosophies are based on, and reflects the classical Chinese belief that the life and activity of individual human beings have an
intimate relationship with the environment at all scales.[1] It has also been noted that early traditional Chinese medicine
stemmed from Taoist masters who had an extraordinary sense of the body and its workings through their many hours of
meditation. This may be why TCM also inherited many of the principles inherent to Daoism (Taoism).

During the golden age of his reign from 2698 to 2596 B.C, as a result of a dialogue with his minister Ch'i Pai (岐伯), the
Yellow Emperor is supposed by Chinese tradition to have composed his Neijing Suwen (《内经·素问》) or Basic Questions
of Internal Medicine, also known as the Huangdi Neijing. Modern scholarly opinion holds that the extant text of this title was
compiled by an anonymous scholar no earlier than the Han dynasty just over two-thousand years ago.

During the Han Dynasty (202 BC –220 AD), Zhang Zhongjing (张仲景/張仲景), the Hippocrates of China, who was mayor
of Chang-sha toward the end of the 2nd century AD, wrote a Treatise on Cold Damage, which contains the earliest known
reference to Neijing Suwen. Another prominent Eastern Han physician was Hua Tuo (c. 140 – c. 208 AD), who anesthetized
patients during surgery with a formula of wine and powdered hemp. Hua's physical, surgical, and herbal treatments were also
used to cure headaches, dizziness, internal worms, fevers, coughing, blocked throat, and even a diagnosis for one lady that she
had a dead fetus within her that needed to be taken out. The Jin dynasty practitioner and advocate of acupuncture and
moxibustion, Huang-fu Mi (215 - 282 AD), also quoted the Yellow Emperor in his Jia Yi Jing (甲乙经/甲乙經), ca. 265 AD.
During the Tang dynasty, Wang Ping claimed to have located a copy of the originals of the Neijing Suwen, which he expanded
and edited substantially. This work was revisited by an imperial commission during the 11th century AD.
There were noted advances in Chinese medicine during the Middle Ages. Emperor Gaozong (r. 649–683) of the Tang Dynasty (618–907) commissioned the scholarly compilation of a materia
medica in 657 that documented 833 medicinal substances taken from stones, minerals, metals, plants, herbs, animals, vegetables, fruits, and cereal crops.[2] In his Bencao Tujing ('Illustrated
Pharmacopoeia'), the scholar-official Su Song (1020–1101) not only systematically categorized herbs and minerals according to their pharmaceutical uses, but he also took an interest in zoology.
[3][4][5][6] For example, Su made systematic descriptions of animal species and the environmental regions they could be found, such as the freshwater crab Eriocher sinensis found in the Huai
River running through Anhui, in waterways near the capital city, as well as reservoirs and marshes of Hebei.[7]

Classical Chinese medicine (CCM) is notably different from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).[citation needed] The Nationalist government elected to abandon and outlaw the practice of
CCM as it did not want China to be left behind by scientific progress.[citation needed] For 30 years, CCM was forbidden in China and several people were prosecuted by the government for
engaging in CCM. In the 1960s, Mao Zedong finally decided that the government could not continue to outlaw the use of CCM.[citation needed] He commissioned the top 10 doctors (M.D.'s) to
take a survey of CCM and create a standardized format for its application. This standardized form is now known as TCM.[citation needed]

Today, traditional Chinese medicine is what is taught in nearly all TCM schools of in China, most of Asia and Northern America. To learn CCM typically one must be part of a family lineage
of medicine. Recently, there has been a resurgence in interest in CCM in China, Europe and United States, as a specialty.[citation needed]
Contact with Western culture and medicine has not displaced TCM. While there may be traditional factors involved in the persistent practice, two reasons are most obvious in the westward spread of TCM in recent decades.
Firstly, TCM practices are believed by many to be very effective, sometimes offering palliative efficacy where the best practices of Western medicine fail, especially for routine ailments such as flu and allergies, or when
Western Orthodox medicine failed to relieve patients suffering from chronic ailments. Secondly, TCM provides an alternative to otherwise costly procedures whom many can not afford, or which is not covered by insurance.
There are also many who turn to TCM to avoid the toxic side effects of pharmaceuticals.

TCM formed part of the barefoot doctor program in the People's Republic of China, which extended public health into rural areas. It is also cheaper to the PRC government, because the cost of training a TCM practitioner and
staffing a TCM hospital is considerably less than that of a practitioner of Western medicine; hence TCM has been seen as an integral part of extending health services in China.[citation needed]

There is some notion that TCM requires supernatural forces or even cosmology to explain itself. However, most historical accounts of the system acknowledge it was invented by a culture of people that were already tired of
listening to shamans trying to blame illnesses on evil spirits;[8] any reference to supernatural forces is usually the result of romantic translations or poor understanding and will not be found in the Taoist-inspired classics of
acupuncture such as the Nèi Jīng or Zhēnjiǔ Dàchéng. The system's development has, over its history, been analysed both skeptically and extensively, and the practice and development of it has waxed and waned over the
centuries and cultures through which it has travelled[9] - yet the system has still survived thus far. It is true that the focus from the beginning has been on pragmatism, not necessarily understanding of the mechanisms of the
actions - and that this has hindered its modern acceptance in the West. This, despite that there were times such as the early 18th century when "acupuncture and moxa were a matter of course in polite European society"[10]

Medicine Overview

Acupuncture: (from the Latin word acus, "needle", and pungere, this means prick) is a technique in which the practitioner gently inserts fine needles into specific points on the patient's body.

Tui Na Massage: a form of massage akin to acupressure.

Dietetics: dietary recommendations are usually made based upon the patient's individual condition in relation to TCM theory.

Herbal Medicine: a significant branch of Chinese Medicine. Each remedy is a mixture of herbs tailored to the patient and their malady.

These are the main types of Chinese medicine and practice; although there are others, it is rare to find them. (NOTE: This means that some of these accompany others, e.g. Acupuncture accompanies acupressure etc.)
Products for sale in a traditional medicine market in Xi'an

The history of TCM can be summarized by a list of important doctors and books.

  • Unknown, Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng (《黃帝內經/黄帝内经》)(Classic of Internal
    Medicine by Emperor Huang) - Sù Wèn (素问/素問) & Líng Shū (灵枢/靈樞).
    The earliest classic of TCM passed on to the present.
  • Warring States Period (5th century BC to 221 BC): Silk scrolls recording channels and
    collaterals, Zu Bi Shi Yi Mai Jiu Jing (Moxibustion Classic of the Eleven Channels of
    Legs and Arms), and Yin Yang Shi Yi Mai Jiu Jing (Moxibustion Classic on the
    Eleven Yin and Yang Channels)
  • Eastern Han Dynasty (206 BC–AD 220) to Three Kingdoms Period (220 - 280 AD):
  • Zhen Jiu Zhen Zhong Jing (Classic of Moxibustion and Acupuncture
    Preserved in a Pillow) by Huà Tuó (华佗/華佗)
  • Shang Han Za Bing Lun, also known as Shāng Hán Lùn (Treatise on
    Febrile and Miscellaneous Diseases) by Zhāng Zhòngjǐng (张仲景/張仲
  • Jìn Dynasty (265-420): Zhēn Jiǔ Jiǎ Yǐ Jīng (Systematic Classic of
    Acupuncture and Moxibustion) by Huángfǔ Mì (皇甫谧/皇甫謐).
  • Tang Dynasty (June 18, 618–June 4, 907)
  • Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang (Emergency Formulas of a thousand gold worth)
    and Qian Jin Yi Fang (Supplement to the Formulas of a thousand gold worth)
    by Sūn Sīmiǎo (孙思邈/孫思邈)
  • Wai Tai Mi Yao (Arcane Essentials from the Imperial Library) by Wang Tao
  • Song Dynasty (960 – 1279):
  • Tóngrén Shūxué Zhēn Jiǔ Tú Jīng (Illustrated Manual of the Practice
    of Acupuncture and Moxibustion at (the Transmission) (and other) Acu-
    points, for use with the Bronze Figure) by Wáng Wéi Yī (王惟一).
  • Emergence of Wenbing School[citation needed]
  • Yuan Dynasty (1271 to 1368): Shísì Jīng Fā Huī (Exposition of the Fourteen
    Channels) by Huá Shòu (滑寿/滑壽).
  • Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644): Climax of acupuncture and Moxibustion. Many
    famous doctors and books. Only name a few:
  • Zhēnjiǔ Da Quan (A Complete Collection of Acupuncture and
    Moxibustion) by Xu Feng
  • Zhēnjiǔ Jù Yīng Fa Hui (An Exemplary Collection of Acupuncture and
    Moxibustion and their Essentials) by Gāo Wǔ (高武)
  • Zhēnjiǔ Dàchéng (針灸大成)(Compendium of Acupuncture and
    Moxibustion) by Yang Jizhou, a milestone book. 1601CE, Yáng Jì Zhōu (杨
  • Běncǎo Gāng Mù (《本草冈目》)(Compendium of Materia Medica)
    by Lǐ Shízhēn (李时珍/李時珍), the most complete and comprehensive
    pre-modern herb book
  • Wen Yi Lun by Wu YouShing[citation needed]
  • Qing Dynasty(1644-1912):
  • Yi Zong Jin Jian (Golden Reference of the Medical Tradition) by Wu Quan,
    sponsored by the imperial.
  • Zhen Jiu Feng Yuan (The Source of Acupuncture and Moxibustion) by Li
  • Wen Zhen Lun Dz by Ye TianShi[citation needed]
  • Wen Bing Tiao Bian(Systematized Identification of Warm Disease) written
    by Wu Jutong, a Qing dynasty physician, in 1798 C.E.[11]
Whole dried animals for sale in a traditional medicine market in Xi'an

The foundation principles of Chinese medicine are not necessarily uniform, and are based on
several schools of thought. Received TCM can be shown to be influenced by Taoism,
Buddhism, and Neo-Confucianism.[12]

Since 1200 BC, Chinese academics of various schools have focused on the observable natural
laws of the universe and their implications for the practical characterisation of humanity's
place in the universe. In the I Ching and other Chinese literary and philosophical classics,
Chinese writers described general principles and their applications to health and healing.

Porkert, a Western medical doctor, placed Chinese medical theory in context as:

Chinese medicine, like many other Chinese sciences, defines data on the basis of the inductive
and synthetic mode of cognition. Inductivity corresponds to a logical link between two effective
positions existing at the same time in different places in space. (Conversely, causality is the
logical link between two effective positions given at different times at the same place in space.)
In other words, effects based on positions that are separate in space yet simultaneous in time
are mutually inductive and thus are called inductive effects. In Western science prior to the
development of electrodynamics and nuclear physics (which are founded essentially on
inductivity), the inductive nexus was limited to subordinate uses in protosciences such as
astrology. Now Western man, as a consequence of two thousand years of intellectual tradition,
persists in the habit of making causal connections first and inductive links, if at all, only as an
afterthought. This habit must still be considered the biggest obstacle to an adequate
appreciation of Chinese science in general and Chinese medicine in particular. Given such
different cognitive bases, many of the apparent similarities between traditional Chinese and
European science which attract the attention of positivists turn out to be spurious.[13]
An old Chinese medical chart
on acupuncture meridians
Model of the body

Main article: TCM model of the body

Traditional Chinese medicine is largely based on the philosophical concept that the human body is a small universe with a set of complete and sophisticated interconnected
systems, and that those systems usually work in balance to maintain the healthy function of the human body. The balance of yin and yang is considered with respect to qi
("breath", "life force", or "spiritual energy"), blood, jing ("kidney essence" or "semen"), other bodily fluids, the five elements, emotions, and the soul or spirit (shen). TCM has a
unique model of the body, notably concerned with the meridian system. Unlike the Western anatomical model which divides the physical body into parts, the Chinese model is
more concerned with function. Thus, the TCM spleen is not a specific piece of flesh, but an aspect of function related to transformation and transportation within the body, and
of the mental functions of thinking and studying.

There are significant regional and philosophical differences between practitioners and schools which in turn can lead to differences in practice and theory.

Theories invoked to describe the human body in TCM include:

  • Yin or Yang
  • Five elements
  • Zang Fu theory
  • Meridian (Chinese medicine)
  • Three jiaos also known as the Triple Burner or the Triple Warmer

The Yin/Yang and five element theories may be applied to a variety of systems other than the human body, whereas Zang Fu theory, meridian theory and three-jiao (Triple
warmer) theories are more specific.

There are also separate models that apply to specific pathological influences, such as the Four stages theory of the progression of warm diseases, the Six levels theory of the
penetration of cold diseases, and the Eight principles system of disease classification.
Dried seahorses like these are extensively used in traditional medicine in China and
Animal products

Animal products are used in certain Chinese formulae, which may present a problem for
vegans and vegetarians. If informed of such restrictions, practitioners can often use alternative

The practice of using endangered species is controversial within TCM also. Many substances
fall into this category, with modern Materia Medicas such as Bensky, Clavey and Stoger's
comprehensive Chinese herbal text dealing with substances derived from endangered species in
an appendix, with an emphasis on recommending alternatives.[39]. Some, such as the use of
tiger's penis for impotence, cannot seriously be attributed to Chinese Medicine, nor any vague
complaint about practitioners using these types of substances taken seriously, as the substances
they talk about simply don't appear in the ingredients lists of the pharmacopoeia. Use of
rhinoceros horn (xī jiǎo / 犀角) for "cooling the blood" was replaced with buffalo horn
(shuǐ niú jiǎo / 水牛角) starting from perhaps 5CE, and cow (bovine) bile (niú dǎn / 牛
膽 / 牛胆) is a modern replacement for bear (ursine) bile (xíong dǎn / 熊膽 / 熊胆). An
ingredient like "horny goat weed" (yín yáng hoù / 淫羊藿) is obviously a plant (Epimedii

Medicinal use is having a major impact on the populations of seahorses, which are considered
a fundamental ingredient, and used to treat a variety of disorders, including asthma,
arteriosclerosis, incontinence, impotence, thyroid disorders, skin ailments, broken bones, heart
disease, as well as to facilitate childbirth and even as an aphrodisiac.[40]

Shark fin soup is traditionally regarded as beneficial for health in East Asia, and its status as
an "elite" dish has led to huge demand with the increase of affluence in China, but it is surely
having a devastating effect on shark populations[41].

The animal rights movement notes that a few traditional Chinese medicinal solutions still use
bear bile (xíong dǎn). Since 1988 the Chinese Ministry of Health started controlling
production of this, which previously used bears killed before winter. The bears are often fitted
with a sort of permanent catheter, which may have been thought to be more humane than
killing the bears. The treatment itself and especially the extraction of the bile is very painful,
causes damage to the intestines of the bear, and often kills the bears. However, due to
international attention on the issues surrounding its harvesting, bile is now rarely used by
practitioners outside of China; gallbladders from butchered cattle (cow bile / niú dǎn) are
recommended as a substitute for this ingredient.
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