Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an integrated system, which has been used for thousands of years to treat injury and illness. Acupuncture forms one of the key components to the TCM approach to curing disease and disorders of the body.
In the TCM system of medicine, the body is seen as a delicate balance of two opposing and inseparable forces: yin and yang. Yin represents the cold, slow, or passive principle, while yang represents the hot, excited, or active principle.
TCM likens the human body to a highly complex electrical circuit. Like any electrical circuit it must be kept in good working order if it is to function effectively, and if the circuit breaks down the result is illness. Among the major assumptions in TCM are that health is achieved by maintaining the body in a “balanced state” and that disease is due to an internal imbalance of yin and yang. This imbalance leads to blockage in the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”, meaning vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.
TCM theorises that it is essential for qi, as well as blood to circulate in a continuous and unobstructed manner for good health of the mind and body. Acupuncture meridians or channels are the pathways through which the energy flows throughout the body. Acupuncture points lie along the meridians and are the holes that allow entry into the acupuncture meridians. The acupuncture points provide gateways to influence, redirect, increase, or decrease body’s vital substances, qi (energy) & blood, thus correcting many of the body’s imbalances.
The theoretical concepts on which Traditional Chinese Medicine is based can be divided into 5 areas. These can be summarised as:
I. Philosophical – The Yin & Yang Theory & the 5 Element Theory
II. Morphological – Zang Fu (Organ) Theory, Meridian Theory & Theory of Fundamental Substances.
III. Pathological – Theory of Exogenous Pathogenic Factors & Theory of Internal Pathology from imbalances in yin & yang caused by lifestyle or emotions.
IV. Diagnostic – Observation, Questioning, Palpation
V. Therapeutic – Needling techniques, Moxibustion & Herbs.
Acupuncture was introduced into western medicine in the 1950’s and 60’s and has gradually become more accepted, as research has shed light on the mechanisms underlying its effects on the human body.
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