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Chinese Medical
Chinese Medical

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology

A rich treasure house created by ancient Chinese people in their long years of struggle against disease, traditional Chinese medicine
and pharmacology has formed an independent school within the healing arts. It has made outstanding achievements over its 2,000-year
history and it has improved continuously to remain widely practiced today.

Traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacology incorporates the yin (negative) and yang (positive) theory and the theory of the five
elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), both containing primitive dialectical ideas of ancient China. The former theory holds that
everything has a yin and a yang side and that the struggle and interaction between the two sides is the source of the ceaseless
emergence and change of all things in the universe. The latter theory believes that things in the universe are composed of the five
indispensable elements of daily life, which move and change constantly to promote and restrain each other.

Beyond theory, the physiological and pathological branches of traditional Chinese medicine focus on the internal organ, main and
collateral "channels", "vital energy" ("qi") and blood, excretions and discharges. Diagnoses are made within a complete observation
system in which the nature of a patient's disease is determined by the "four methods of diagnosis" --- observing the overall way the
patient looks, listening to the voice and observing and odor, asking questions, and feeling the patient's pulse. Treatment then proceeds
to balance the "eight principal syndromes" --- yin and yang, exterior and interior, cold and heat, underactivity and overactivity.

The particular approaches of traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacology have made important contributions to health protection and
the development of medicine and pharmacology. Acupuncture and moxibustion treatment, for example, is a unique Chinese method
remarkably effective in curing many kinds of ailments.

Acupuncture and Moxibustion

Acupuncture and moxibustion are two distinct therapeutic approaches to curing a variety of ailments. Acupuncture treats diseases by
puncturing points of the body with different types of needles. Moxibustion applies heat produced by ignited moxawood (a small, spongy
herb) over certain points in the body. Although different equipment and materials are used, the therapeutic and preventive results are
similar. Both promote the circulation of qi and blood in the channels by stimulating the key points and channels of the body. Acupuncture
and moxibustion are frequently used together to treat ailments ranking from internal problems to gynecological and pediatric diseases
including ailments of the eyes, lips, nose and tongue. The results are often quick with little or no side effects.

The locations where needles are inserted or where heat is applied are known as point. By focusing on specific points, different effects or
reactions can be produced in corresponding parts of the body, which led to the theory of channels and collaterals. The vertically
distributed "trunk lines" were described by physicians in ancient times as "channels" while the large and small branches of these
"channels" were referred to as "collaterals". Together a network can be defined as consisting of 12 channels, 15 collaterals and 8
extraordinary channels. This network spreads through the body and links various points of the body.

For thousands of years, acupuncture and moxibustion therapies have been popular as methods of preventing and treating disease. They
have served as important components of Chinese medicine.


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