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Chinese Medicine
Three Thousand Years of Evolution

Chinese Medicine is a coherent and independent system of thought and practice that has been developed over two millennia. Based on ancient texts, it is the result of a continuous process of critical thinking, as well as extensive clinical observation and testing. It represents a thorough formulation and reformulation of material by respected clinicians and theoreticians. It is also, however, rooted in the philosophy, logic, sensibility, and habits of a civilization entirely foreign to our own. It has therefore developed its own perception of the body and of health and disease.

Within the Eastern world view, a human being is a living microcosm, a universe in miniature, the offspring of Heaven and Earth, a fusion of cosmic and terrestrial forces. People are recognized as beings with a self-aware mind embodied in physical form. The unseen and the seen, psyche and soma, are mutually valid and cogenerative: the body provides a home for the mind, and the spirit, nestled securely within the body, animates physical life.

Whereas modern medicine relies on Cartesian-Newtonian science, Chinese Medicine is embedded within a philosophy of nature. A postulate of Chinese Medicine is that by observing patterns in the natural world, the dynamics of human nature are known - as above so below. The world is a single, unbroken wholeness that exists without and within. Chinese medical logic relies upon correspondence thinking: things that correspond to the same thing correspond to each other. Human physiology and identity in Chinese Medicine proceed from the assumption that each person is a universe in miniature, so the same forces that shape the macrocosm swirl within each of us, organizing our interior. Life arises from the magnetic interplay of the polar forces Yang and Yin, Heaven and Earth, heat and cold, sun and shadow, dryness and wetness, summer and winter. Just as these divisions are relational, so all living processes are seen as a mosaic of connected relationships and conditions.

In short, the human body is viewed as an ecosystem, and the language of Chinese Medicine is based on metaphors from nature. Each person has a unique terrain to be mapped, a resilient yet sensitive ecology to be maintained. As a gardener adjusts irrigation and applies compost, so the traditional Chinese doctor uses acupuncture, herbs, food, massage (Tui Na) and exercise (Tai Chi and Qi Gong) to recover and preserve health.

Health results from the proper balance of contenting forces. In simple terms, diagnosis identifies imbalance, while treatment seeks to restore harmony. Whereas in Western medicine, diagnosis is an attempt to name disease, in Chinese Medicine the goal is to recognize patterns of disharmony. Health is considered to be the ability of the organism to respond appropriately to a wide variety of challenges while maintaining equilibrium, integrity and coherence.

Ontology and pathology are closely linked: how people get sick is inextricably tied to who they are. Chinese medical thinking is holographic: each aspect of bodily life reflects the whole of which it is a part, all parts are in constant interaction with each other, and universal patterns are replicated at every level of human existence. The categories of classification in Chinese Medicine are interdependent, exist along a continuum, and are neither fixed nor absolute. The body is viewed more as a functional entity than a structural one.

How does Chinese Medicine work?

Chinese Medicine works by reestablishing balance and harmony within the body. This means balance between yin and yang, balance between the five elements, balance between the organs, and balance between the fundamental substances of the body. This balance is reestablished by supporting the body's healthy or righteous energy and attacking any unhealthy or evil energy.

How does the Chinese medical practitioner determine what is out of balance?

Practitioners of Chinese Medicine diagnose what is out of balance in a person's body by employing four basic examinations. The first is questioning about one's signs and symptoms, medical history and course of disease. The second is visually inspecting one's face, body, and especially one's tongue and its coating. The third is listening to one's voice and the sound of one's breathing as well as smelling odors emanating from one's body or excretions. And the fourth is palpating various areas of the body and especially the pulse at both wrists. Using a combination of one's signs and symptoms, tongue diagnosis, and pulse diagnosis, the practitioner can determine the pattern of disharmony which requires rebalancing.          more ......

How is this rebalancing accomplished?

If something is too hot, the practitioner seeks to cool it down. If something is too cool, they try to warm it up. If something is too wet, they try to dry it, while if something is too dry, they try to moisten it. If something is too much, they try to make it less, And if something is too little, they try to build it up. If something is stuck, they try to move it, and if something is flowing inappropriately, they try to make it flow in the right direction and amount.

What methods are used to reestablish  balance within one's body?

The main professionally applied methods of reestablishing balance are Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture / moxibustion. Chinese herbal medicines may be prescribed internally or applied externally. Acupuncture and moxibustion seek to regulate the flow of the life force or energy (known as "qi", pronounced "chee") and blood within the body by either inserting fine, sterile needles at certain acupoints or warming certain acupoints by various methods. In addition, Chinese medical practitioners may also use therapeutic massage (Tui Na), they may also prescribe remedial or preventive exercises, and they typically counsel their patients on diet and lifestyle, all according to the theories of Chinese Medicine.

What is Chinese Medicine good for?

Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system which attempts to treat the full range of diseases, acute and chronic, traumatic, infectious, and internally generated. That being said, if a disease is extremely virulent or far advanced, and especially if there are serious changes in organic tissue, Chinese Medicine by itself is sometimes not powerful enough or too slow. In particular, Chinese Medicine is an excellent and effective choice at the beginning of any disease or for diseases which modern Western medicine either does not understand or for which it has no effective treatment. Furthermore, Chinese Medicine can also speed up the healing process when used in conjunction with modern Western medicine.          more ......

Is Chinese Medicine safe?

When practiced correctly by trained, qualified professional practitioners, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are extremely safe. In fact, when practiced correctly, they have no side effects and produce no iatrogenic or doctor-caused disease. If a patient reports side effects from a Chinese medical treatment, the practitioner modifies the treatment until there is healing without side effects. This is because Chinese Medicine seeks to restore balance to the entire person, not just a piece or part. Side effects means there is imbalance which needs to be corrected.


  • Understanding Chinese Medicine (Dharmananda)
  • Traditional Chinese medicine (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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    This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify.This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. This site was compiled by the Chinese Medical Centre of Cyprus and its mission is to inform the general public about the Chinese medical practices offered by the staff of the centre. It is for information only. If you feel unwell you should seek advice from a qualified health care professional. Our mission is to provide effective holistic health care using acupuncture, herbs, and massage. We do not actively collect any data about website visitors. This site is entirely funded by the Chinese Medical Centre of Cyprus, without any sponsorship or advertisement, and we do not host any form of advertising. This site contains links to external sources. We try to ensure we only link to reputable websites but we cannot guarantee the quality and accuracy of information contained on internet pages not compiled by the Chinese Medical Centre of Cyprus. This page was last updated in 15/02/2021 by Dr. Charis Theocharous.