Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) goes back over 3000 years. It was not developed by any particular individual; rather, it grew out of the necessity of maintaining good health among the Chinese people. TCM is a comprehensive medical system that is used to diagnose and treat illness, prevent disease and improve well-being. It is effective for both physical and psychological problems.

Chinese medicine uses the body's energetic framework to balance the flow of Qi (vital energy, pronounced chee) in the body. If Qi is deficient, excess, stagnant or scattered, disease often follows. The subtlety of the medicine often allows it to prevent a trend towards illness while remaining a powerful tool against disease. Maintaining good health now, which is what Traditional Chinese Medicine does best, allows you to live well today and sets you up for a more healthy future. Just like your retirement saving plan, the little bit that you steadily invest in your health now will reap rewards in the future that far outweigh your initial investment.

When you visit a Chinese doctor, she will observe your complexion and look at your tongue, take your pulse, and ask you many questions about your symptoms, your eating habits, and your food preferences. Then the doctor will come up with a diagnosis of what is wrong with your body and tell you whether you need acupuncture or herbs and what foods are good for you. In general, pain and muscular symptoms are more effectively treated by acupuncture, skin diseases and diseases of internal organs by herbs. Although acupuncture and herbology are two different branches of Chinese medicine, with the former treating disease by external methods and the latter by internal administration of herbs, they are frequently used simultaneously in clinical practice.

The following passage may shed some light on the nature of Chinese medicine:
'The disease of the five viscera may be compared to a sharp needle in the skin, a stained chair, a knot, or a deposit of mud and sand in a river. One can still remove a needle from the skin, no matter how long ago it was used to prick the body. One can still wash off a stain, no matter how long it has been on the chair. One can still untie a knot, no matter how long ago it was tied. One can still remove a deposit of mud and sand in a river, no matter how long it has been there. Some people assume that a disease can not be cured, simply because it has a long history, but the truth of the matter is that an outstanding physician can cure a disease for the same reason that one can pull a needle from the skin, wash off a stain from the chair, untie a knot, or clear the blockage from a river. A chronic disease with a very long history can still be cured, and those who think otherwise have not really mastered the art of acupuncture.'
          -----adapted from "The yellow Emperor's Classics of Internal Medicine", one of the timeless classics of Traditional Chinese Medicine, published in the third century B. C.

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