Chinese doctors pride themselves on modern, western medical techniques, but they do not hesitate to draw upon their own medical tradition, a legacy that is thousands of years old. The Chinese way of healing is rooted in an ancient past. It has survived for so long for just one reason, it works.
TCM is not “folk medicine.” It is an intricate and precise system of health care, born from the efforts of China’s brightest minds to understand the secrets of the body. These scholars recorded their theories, experiences, observations, and results from generation to generation. At the start of the 20th Century, there were 30,000-40,000 books already in existence. Since that time, thousands of additional texts and articles have been written and published throughout Asia and North America. As we enter the next century, even more extensive research and clinical experiences are being catalogued and written about by today’s practitioners.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have a different geography of the body. The channels, or meridians, don’t correspond to nerves or arteries, like the models in Western Medicine. They have a different way of thinking about the mind and the body, about health and illness, and a phenomena called Chi.
Chi is another word for the vital energy of the body, or ones life force. The entire healing system within Traditional Chinese Medicine is based around this life force called chi. Chi can be manipulated within the body using massage techniques, acupunture needles, and natural medicines from boiled herbs to dried Geckos. The objective is to get the chi to move regularly within the meridians of the body, and by doing this, the body can tap into its innate ability to heal itself.
Western science teaches us that disease is caused by bacteria, viruses, and chemical imbalances which can be dealt with through drugs or scalpel. But Western medicine fails to take into consideration the spirit and soul of the patient. Socrates said that “the body cannot be cured without regard for the soul”. So what did Socrates see in the natural world, that western science fails to recognize?
Some modern scientific researchers think that we are on the cusp of a revolution in medicine, as important as the discovery of antibiotics, like penicillin. A revolution that could take us into the future on the wings of modern science and ancient wisdom. A union between Eastern and Western medicine that could transform the way we look at healing, recovery, and health maintenance.
“Do you remember how electrical currents and ‘unseen waves’ were laughed at? The knowledge about man is still in its infancy.”
– Albert Einstein
Does the way you behave, think, and feel change your physical well-being? From the very beginning, 2000 years ago, the Chinese said that is what changes health. The idea is that the way you live your life; your thoughts and emotions are what shapes your health or your illness. This is a concept based in TCM and Daoism.
Furthermore, it is said that in everything, in every part of the universe there are these two opposing forces, yin and yang. They are interdependent; they can’t exist without one another. In the symbol, one ends where the other begins. The struggle is in maintaining the balance. According the Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are born in a balanced state, but we fall out of balance. It is the physicians job to figure out where the body and the mind are no longer in balance, and use herbs, needles, or diet to fix it. Balance is the goal.
A Daoist proverb says, “when you have a disease, do not try to cure, find your centre and you will be healed”. This proverb is direct confirmation that when we are centred and balanced, our body and mind will move into a state optimal for healing on all levels. It’s not to say complimentary medicines are not necessary, but the point is to take responsibility at the level of our thoughts and behaviour, as well. A calm and balanced system is fertile ground for the chi to flow correctly, and healing to begin.
Article inspired by Bill Moyers – The Mystery of Chi