Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine functions as a system of cycles, polarities and energy fields that require harmonious balancing.
Within Eastern philosophy, the Universe is perceived as a dynamic functional system; hence all phenomena are interrelated, interconnected and interdependent. The Universe itself is seen as self-regulating and, as such, has a natural leaning towards equilibrium.
According to Chinese Medicine, this natural equilibrium is maintained and regulated by the ‘vital life force’ or ‘energy’ known as Qi/Chi (pronounced as chee). As well as this, everything in nature and the Universe is described as either Yin or Yang.
Human beings are perceived no differently in Nature to those phenomena that surround them. Chinese Medicine explains this relationship as the Yin-Yang Theory, which describes the way in which phenomena group in pairs of opposites. (life/death, male/female, light/dark)
Health, then, is defined as a state of harmony between the body and its internal and external environment. Disease is said to occur when there is an imbalance between the external and internal environments. In this concept, health is not an absolute but rather a relative state of Being.
The theory of Yin and Yang is a conceptual framework that was originally used for analysing the material world in ancient China, it may be referred to as ‘opposite factors’. In Chinese Medicine, the concept of the analysing the interdependence of Yin/Yang is widely used in physiology, pathology material world and treatment, and is by far the most important and fundamental principle to an understanding of a Chinese approach to health
Qi/Chi (pronounced ‘chee’) can best be defined as the force or energy that controls harmony in the body. However, it must be noted that as yet no Western phrase or word adequately captures its meaning. From the Chinese perspective, the word Qi literally means ‘vapour’, and is used to describe the vital breath, or energy, animating the cosmos. To the Chinese, it’s what makes us get up in the morning …it keeps us alive and makes us ‘tick’. It is the difference we observe between a living, breathing being and a corpse. Qi has defined pathways for circulation, namely the meridians, along which lie the acupuncture and treatment points.