Traditional Chinese medicine is one of the most ancient ways of healing the body which is thought to be a separate science, outside modern medicine. Primarily, traditional ways of using acupuncture, natural remedies such as herbs and a greater philosophy of human body are used to treat the specific deceases and problems within the organism. It is important to note that a better understanding of the spirit and the world are required to fully experience benefits of the Chinese medical practices, so one must practice and feel the energies flowing within one’s own body, the surrounding environment of the planet and the greater universe as well.
Health has always been an important part of any society, both modern and ancient. People have valued it as one of the most important human possessions, so many societies, most of which are from the Eastern part of world, have been using the healing power of nature, spiritual healing and massage since the beginning of the recorded history and even before that. Modern scientific studies and medical therapeutic advancements have developed drug treatment that is currently widely used, thus traditional and other types of medical treatment are thought to be ineffective. There is no particular scientific evidence which shows a true connection between these natural remedies, life’s philosophy or energy flows that can be used to heal the body, so many professionals in the medical field and people themselves do not trust such healing alternatives. However, in the previous decade people became more used to the traditional medicines because drug therapies became expensive and questionable as there many adverse and unwanted effects on the body. It is a well known fact that the drugs prescribed by the modern doctors can be used for treating one part of the body and destroying the functions of another organ which has nothing to do with the decease or dysfunction. As a result, people are turning to the Chinese society that has been using traditional medicine for centuries because the Chinese society is well respected and thought to be one of the healthiest in the world (Jiuzhang & Lei, 2009).
Traditional Chinese medicine has not seen many changes in the development and so, reliance on the alignment between the human conscious mind and the inner working of organs has been practiced for a long time. The most general definition of the traditional Chinese medicine is centred around the concept of “chi” or life’s energy which flows through every person. Everything that a person does has a specific connection to the inner working of the body. Also, the whole philosophy of thinking about the body is different. The modern medicine considers each organ separately, giving it a specific function such as production of certain compounds to receive oxygen, digest, and transfer molecules from one membrane to the other or producing chemicals to aid the other ones. In contrast, the Chinese model of thinking relates to a more general understanding of the human body in the form of breathing, being active and producing or storing energy. If something goes wrong with the moral understanding of the world or body, the natural internal energy gets “misaligned” from its proper position and it greatly affects the body function. Simply thinking about the body part or its function will be the first step towards proper alignment, so people will begin meditating, exercising or dieting in a way that will promote a quick recovery (Muto, Nam, & Nakahara, 2010). There is even a belief in the Chinese medicine that food is the nature’s way of attending to specific bodily needs in accordance with the functions and diseases that might exist, so eating as a process is itself considered to be medical. The vital energy which can be found in every person is thought to be channelled through specific places in the body called “meridians”, which are located according to the makeup of the person and can only be activated or “accessed” through unique thinking, feeling, massage, exercise or acupuncture.
It is a well known fact that needles are used to instantly find a path and energy flow point which can either be contracted or released. The location, depth and angle, at which the needle is inserted into the body, are all factors that play their specific roles. It is critical to note that for acupuncture to work, one must have a strong belief in the procedure, which is sometimes criticised as being a placebo remedy, but has extensive evidence which supports the contrary. Not only does acupuncture has an immediate effect on the body and energy flow, it has also shown to build up an immunity towards the unwanted diseases or physical dysfunctions of the body. One of the first things that a patient must recognise when attending the Chinese medical acupuncture is that individual perceptions and unique needs of an individual will require technique and treatment linked to their character and inner energy. For the traditional Chinese remedy to be efficient there has to be a close analysis of personal health regulations, patterns of behaviour and outlook on life. The ancient belief teaches that people are very much connected to their past history, family background, health traditions or roots which are the primary course of any treatment. In this sense, acupuncture is a great example because this practice has been applied for hundreds of years and has seen much support among people. Currently, the practice has somewhat changed as the clinics and centres are becoming private and directed towards the fulfilment of individual needs. Over hundreds of years, special charts and graphs have been created showing how energy flows through the body and what particular parts of the body can be accessed through points of entry on the skin. This shows that there is a systemic approach to the Chinese traditional medicine which was heavily relied on for many years.
While acupuncture, exercising, massages and herbal remedies or diets are the narrowed down treatment, the most general philosophy of Chinese medicine centres on yin and yang, which are two sides of everything in the universe. This concept is applied to celestial bodies, where yin is the moon and yang is the sun, and then is narrowed down to people—female and male, and eventually is carried over to nature and exterior environment—inside and outside, cold or hot, water and fire (Liao, 2011). When a person gets sick, they feel the rush between hot and cold which is described as an imbalance between yin and yang. One force is trying to take over the other, and there is no specific frame which can be sustained, so the person’s general energy flow is disturbed. Yin is closely related to heat and all the processes that are related to high temperature. When a person is feeling dry, has insomnia or an increased pulse and blood flow, it is said that yin part of the energy flow is overtaking the body’s current processes of the “malfunction” in the body. Yang, on the contrary, is connected to the cold side of nature, when a person is shivering, has a pale appearance, weak muscles and cold limbs, and experiences the slowing down of pulse. Traditional Chinese medicine has developed remedies and natural drugs which are meant to positively influence each side of the energy flow and restore the balance between yin and yang (Unschuld, 1985).
Another important part of the Chinese philosophy is a concept of five phase theory. The elements that make up the universe or human world are separated into five separate entities; these are wood, earth, fire, water and metal. There are outlines and rules, which show a unique interaction between these elements, where each one has a quality within the human body and the planet or cosmos. In order to make remedies based on these concepts efficient, a person must align oneself with the universe and understand the true entity of an occurrence. This is neither separate from physical sphere nor fully mental, but a balance must be comprehended and an individual will have to “feel” the true nature of the element. Traditional Chinese medicine separates the functions of the body into distinct groups. The first one is related to the physical processes and reactions that take place in the body. This is the transfer of nutrients, blood flow and the circulation of other fluids in the body which are necessary for the proper functioning of the body. The second one is the warm which is required for the person to stay alive. The sun transfers its heat to the body or person, and the organism distributes the warms to organs and limbs. The third force is the defence against any outside unwanted force such as viruses or physical damage to the body. The defence system is supported by the proper energy flow and transfer of warmth and blood to each part of the human being. The fourth one is containment, which is responsible for the prevention of the needed fluids in the body from leaving organs and depleting the functions of vessels and transfer of elements needed for life. The fifth one is the transformation of anything that the body intakes, such as food, drink, air and sunlight into the fluids, which are needed by the organism, and nutrients that enrich the blood and organs. The balance between all of these elements will ensure proper functioning and health of an individual (Unschuld, 1985).
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Chinese traditional medicine is clearly based on the close understanding of nature and its effects on the body. Blood, organs and body itself are made of elements that are present in the universe. All the chemicals in the surrounding environment have an interaction with the body because the same compounds can be found in the universe and the Earth. Unfortunately, the general medical field is unable to comprehend or test these concepts because the science of traditional Chinese medicine requires hundreds and thousands of years to understand and use them. The connection between the universe and the human body is so deep that science is unable to trace the physical linkage between these two entities. The natural treatment cannot be learned overnight as it requires a person to devote their time, attention and energy to developing the techniques and learning which particular part of nature is aligned with their body.
In conclusion, just like yin and yang, there are two sides of the concept of Chinese traditional medicine. Some people strongly believe and follow it, while others are sceptical and want to rely only on the scientific evidence. However, Chinese society has been using these methods for centuries, and people find no need to re-invent the medical field because whatever they are doing is working and is satisfying enough for the body and mind to keep practicing it. There is no denying that scientific evidence is required, but it might take time because of the spiritual and immaterial nature of the concept.