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Introduction

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the name given to traditional medical practices carried out through its thousand-year-old cultural evolution. The main theoretical foundations are based on this long experience, the Ying-Yang Theory, The 5 Elements Theory and others. The treatments are related to this philosophical framework based on the concept of the balanced chi that runs through the person's body. The chi regulates the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical balance and it's influenced by the ying and yang opposite forces. The disease appears when the chi flow is altered and a ying and yang unbalance is produced. It uses herbs and food therapies, physical exercises, meditation, acupuncture and soothing massages.

Its philosophical basis is the observation and knowledge of the fundamental laws governing the functioning of the human body and the interaction with the environment according to the cycles of Nature, thus trying to apply this understanding to the treatment of diseases and the keeping of health with several methods.

It is based on the theory that the human body already has a wide and sophisticated system of defences able to localize the diseases and to address its own energy and resources to cure the problems by itself. It has to be focused on reinforcing the self-cure internal functions already present in the human body without interfering in them and on the immune system itself when faced to disease.

In 1979 the WHO recognized acupuncture as an efficient method to treat at least 49 diseases and disorders. This number has been extended thanks to the research carried out in the following years.



Overview

Acupuncture, moxibustion, phytotherapy (medical herbs), nutrition, exercising (Tai Chi, Qi Gong) are an integral part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.).

TCM is based on a theoretical and philosophical system supported by the research and observation over the last millennia, a “dialectical way of thinking” which studies the laws ruling the macrocosm as well as the microcosm.

The mainstays of a healthy and long life are the Yin-Yang, The 5-Element Theory, the Zang-Fu, the essence, the Qi, the blood (Xue), the body fluids, the meridians, the etiology, the pathogenesis, the diagnosis methods and the rules of prevention and treatment.

Yang is the realm of luminosity, heaven, clearness, expansion, activities, external expression, rising and shining.

Yin is the realm of darkness, earth, internal expression, the decreasing of an activity, rewinding, and falling.

At the beginning, the Universe was in "Wu Chi" (which means "empty", "there is nothing"). Like an egg full of a "sea of air", it started to move and change continuously.

Out of that movement water was formed (by the 5-Element Theory). And water produced wood and wood produced fire. The fire heated up and expanded that "sea of air", that "egg", and a big explosion occurred (Big Bang?).

From that explosion, the clearest and lightest particles rose towards the sky: the Yang. And those dirtiest and heaviest descended towards the Earth: the Ying. Between the sky and the earth there is Man and Nature. Thus, we have the Yin-Yang principle defined within the trigram concept: Earth-Man-Sky.

As night and day, heat and cold, movement and stillness, "Movement and changes in Yin Yang promote development and change in everything." This is explained in Chapter "Manifestations of Yin and Yang" in the Suwen, the interdependence between those that are opposite and those that are complementary.

Universe expands. The force invigorating the most basic material structure in the world in the TCM is called Qi ("chi"). The concept of Qi is wide and is also used to explain each of the events or things that make up its manifestations.

Every Qi blocking or Qi obstruction leads to disturbances which may express themselves not only in the physical realm but also in the psychological and spiritual realms as well.

In order to be healthy the "concentration of energy" in the human body -which gives shape to all things -must flow harmoniously in accordance with the time in which it takes place (different seasons, schedules or ages) and it must be free from any obstacle (external, “perverse” climatic factors; or internal such as emotions) to be healthy.

The Qi transforms itself into matter but its essence is invisible. What we see is only the expression of the Qi (which is in the macrocosm, the universe, as well as in the microcosm, our body).