Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has its roots in the ancient philosophy of
Taoism, which originated in China more than three thousand years ago. The
Taoists believed the universe to be an infinite web of complex and ever-changing
patterns. The expression of these patterns is carried out by two opposing yet
complementary primal forces, Yin and Yang, which we human beings perceive as
a variety of opposing qualities, such as day and night, heat and cold, excess and
deficiency, interior and exterior, activity and rest. The interactions between such
opposing qualities weave the grand patterns of the universe. Everything in nature
exhibits varying combinations of both Yin and Yang, nothing is purely one or the
other and one has no meaning without the other. In the human body, just as in
nature, a fine balance between Yin and Yang must be maintained for good health.
When the balance is upset, illness or dysfunction occurs.
The traditional Chinese medicine model emphasizes process rather than
structure. The human body is seen as an energy system in which various
substances—such as Qi, Blood, Jing, Body Fluids, and Shen—interact with each
other to create the whole physical organism. Among these substances, Qi is the
most important. Qi is a vital essence that is part matter, part energy. Qi flows
within a closed system of channels, or so-called meridians, through out the
human body. This network of meridians allows Qi to reach all the tissues and
organs, providing nourishment, warmth and energy to all parts of the body. If this
flow is weakened or blocked in any way, the ensuing imbalance in turn will
manifest itself as illness.
Although the meridians are deep within the body, points along them are
accessible from the surface of the skin. At such points, a traditional Chinese
healer can manipulate the flow of Qi by pressure, heat, or needle, bringing healing
essence to the organs that need it. In general, the goal of all TCM therapy is to
regulate Qi and other substances to ensure their optimal flow and to keep the
balance of Yin and Yang in the human body. Acupuncture is the insertion of fine
needles into the meridians to regulate the Qi and keep the balance in your body.