TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is the label used to define Chinese medicine practiced in China and the majority of Chinese medicine that is taught and practiced in the West. In was created in the 1950s when the top doctors in China were brought together to create a cohesive system of Chinese medicine. The most successful treatment methods and time tested ideas were gathered to create TCM.
Is TCM based on classical Chinese medicine?
Quite simply, yes. One of the primary architects of TCM was Dr. Qin Bo-Wei. Dr. Qin was one of the most educated and well read doctors of the time. His understanding of classical Chinese medicine was unparalleled, granting him the nickname of “Qin Nei Jing”. This ‘Nei Jing’ is in reference to the first and most important classical Chinese medical text, Huang Di Nei Jing, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic, written over 2000 years ago.
Textbooks of TCM are saturated with classical ideas, quotes, methods, and treatments. TCM is in fact very proud of its roots and goes to great lengths to trace and document the thought processes and methodology used throughout the 2000 years of TCM’s written history.
Inevitably with the creation of a cohesive system, there have been certain aspects that have been discarded as well as others added in. But quite simply, TCM encompasses a very large range of ideas. Many ancient techniques are found within the system as well as modern ideas not only based on newer Chinese medicine ideas but also some Western medicine concepts. TCM is a constantly evolving entity that allows for one to practice in a variety of manners. In summary, TCM represents the most classically influenced medicine around.
Does TCM utilize five elements?
The Five Elements are one of the core theoretical constructs coming out of classical Chinese medicine. TCM routinely uses five element theory in treatments as well as in understanding pathology. Actually, most acupuncture systems including Japanese and Korean styles utilize the five elements.
Can TCM address spiritual and emotional issues?
Chinese medicine considers the physical and emotional intimately related. When one treats the physical body, one inherently treats the emotions. When one treats emotions, the physical body is affected. TCM is actually very effective at treating emotional and spiritual issues and has a long history of doing so.
Granted, TCM practitioners may not use Western or new age psychological language or have in-depth psychotherapy sessions, but TCM’s ability to address these complaints is remarkable. Not only have we seen incredible results in our private clinic healing mental/ emotional/ spiritual ailments, but TCM’s approach to these problems is well documented over the last 2000 years history. For example, TCM discusses how a physical complaint (e.g. digestive problem) is linked to one’s emotional problems (e.g. anxiety). A TCM practitioner will address the digestion while simultaneously treating the anxiety. This is a powerful combination.
Can TCM address one’s constitution and chronic problems?
We heard recently from someone that they thought TCM only addresses acute problems, while other systems treat the “real” deep/ constitutional problems. This assumption is so far from the truth that we debated even adding it to this FAQ. Quite simply, TCM can address acute and chronic problems equally well, as well as work on one’s constitutional imbalances. Actually, there is no system better at changing one’s constitutional issues / imbalances.
We hope this helps clarify some questions you may have in regard to TCM (traditional Chinese medicine). If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.
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Open Gate Acupuncture, located in Boulder Colorado, serves patients throughout the Boulder county region including Denver, Longmont, Gunbarrel, Lafayette, & Louisville.
Jason Blalack has been treating patients in Boulder for over 16 years, is an international lecturer on Chinese medicine and has an extensive collection of Chinese medicine articles published in professional journals worldwide. Jason specializes in autoimmune, digestive disorders, fertility, and emotional disorders.