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California College of Natural Medicine -- CCNM's focus is on traditional naturopathy along with non-invasive energy medicine such as homeopathy and Qi Gong healing, integrative wellness, neuro-physiology, bio-neuro-hormonal health, naturopathic assessment and NeuroPhysical Reprogramming...

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Career Information: Chinese Medicine


Specialty Chinese Medicine
Official Resource American Association of Oriental Medicine http://aaom.org

Short Definition
The general term to describe the numerous techniques utilized in China for many thousands of years to heal bodily ailments. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a complete system of healthcare with its own unique theories of anatomy, health, and treatment.

Expanded Information
The Chinese have always been in the forefront of holistic medicine with the well-practiced philosophy of preferring prevention rather than cure. This comprehensive system looks to the complete person, as body, mind and spirit, and maintaining the balance thereof. Taoist healing techniques may well be the oldest treatise on holistic healing in our modern world (within the last ten thousand years). The Yellow Emperor, the father of Taoism developed the Yang Shen Shu, or The Tao of Revitalization about six thousand years ago. This was a system of internal organ exercises to maintain the correct balance of Qi (Chi or Energy, Life Force). Also during this time the knowledge of plants, trees, fungi and herbs, together with the wisdom of application was developed to a very high degree. The basis of Chinese Medicine is the balance of Yin and Yang Energies. The balance of the dualistic polarities is the cornerstone of our physical creation, in an unenlightened state of consciousness.

In theory and practice, traditional Chinese medicine is completely different from western medicine both in terms of considering how the human body works and how illness occurs and should be treated. As a part of a continuing system that has been in use for thousands of years, it is still employed to treat over one-quarter of the world's population. Since the earliest Chinese physicians were also philosophers, their ways of viewing the world and man's role in it affected their medicine. In TCM, both philosophically and medically, moderation in all things is advocated, as is living in harmony with nature and striving for balance in all things. Prevention is also a key goal of Chinese medicine, and much emphasis is placed on educating the patient to live responsibly. The Chinese physician also is more of an advisor than an authority; he or she believes in treating every patient differently based on the notion that one does not treat the disease or condition but rather the individual patient. Thus two people with the same complaint may be treated entirely differently, if their constitutions and life situations are dissimilar. Disease is also considered to be evidence of the failure of preventive health care and a falling out of balance or harmony.

There is some confusion in the West about the fundamental philosophical principles upon which traditional Chinese medicine is based -- such as the concept of yin and yang, the notion of five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water), and the concept of chi -- yet each can be explained in a way that is understandable to Westerners.

Yin and yang describe the interdependent relationship of opposing but complementary forces believed to be necessary for a healthy life. Basically, the goal is to maintain a balance of yin and yang in all things.

The five elements, or five phase theory, is also grounded in the notion of harmony and balance. The concept of chi which means something like "life force" or "energy," is perhaps most different from western ideas, and asserts that chi is an invisible energy force that flows freely in a healthy person, but is weakened or blocked when a person is ill. Specifically, the illness is a result of the blockage, rather than the blockage being the result of the illness.