Fundamental Theory of TCM & TCM Terminology

July 22, 2019

General Information
Duration 1 semester
Level Year 1, Semester 1
Unit Weighting Unit Credit Points: 10 credit points
Total Course Credit Points: 320 credit points
Student Workload Number of timetabled hours per week: 4
Number of personal study hours per week: 6
Total workload hours per week: 10
Prerequisites None
Academic Details
Description This unit provides a foundation in the fundamental theories of Chinese medicine and an introduction to TCM terminology to support the study of acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine.
In Fundamental Theory of TCM, students study the history, development, strengths and limitations of CM, Yin Yang and Wu Xing theory; the structure and function of the body (organs, channels, and vital substances); the Channel system and its role in human physiology; the Chinese medicine theory of the causes, development and progression of disease; the approaches to the prevention and management of diseases; and the therapeutic principles and methods employed in traditional Chinese medicine practice. TCM treatment is explored and examined in awareness of Australia’s multi-cultural and multi-racial context and in accordance with seasonal conditions, local conditions, and the patient’s individuality.
In TCM terminology, students study the use of the Pin Yin system of Romanisation and commonly used Chinese characters in TCM. This enables students to accurately spell, pronounce, write, and understand common CM terms used throughout their studies. Students also learn how to use a Chinese-English Pin Yin Dictionary to guide and inform their ongoing study of TCM.
Learning Outcomes Upon completion of this unit students should be able to:
a. Describe the history, philosophy, development, strengths and limitations of Chinese medicine and the necessity to refer to peers or other health professional when appropriate.
b. Explain Yin Yang theory, Wu Xing Theory, Zang Xiang theory, Jing Luo system, vital substances, and Shen.
c. Analyse the pathogenesis, disease mechanism, treatment principle, prevention method from the TCM perspective in appreciation of the multi-cultural/multi-racial context of Australia.
d. Demonstrate competency in the use of a Chinese-English Pin Yin dictionary and fluency in the use of the Pin Yin system of Romanisation through reading, spelling, pronunciation and writing.
e. Apply commonly used terminology in the practice of Chinese medicine, including relevant Chinese characters.
Assessment TCM Fundamental Theory Quiz (5%)
Terminology Quiz (15%)
Practical Activity: Flow Chart (30%)
Final Examination (50%)
Prescribed Textbooks/Readings * The prescribed and recommended readings are subject to annual review.

Albegov, Y. V., Butenko, D. V., & Butenko, L. N. (2010). The Wu Xing theory and homeostatic interaction of organs. Chinese Medicine1(02), 45.

Lavarini, D., & Del Franco, A. (1999). How to use a Chinese dictionary. Retrieved from

Liao, W., Dang, C., & Pan, W. (2017). The brief theory of viscus and its manifestations in traditional Chinese medicine. Integrative Medicine International, 4(1-2), 13-18.

Maciocia, G. (2015). The foundations of Chinese medicine: A comprehensive text for acupuncturists and herbalists (3nd ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone. (eBook is available)

MmMandarin. (2016). Notes on studying Mandarin Chinese. Retrieved from

Sakatani, K. (2007). Concept of mind and brain in traditional Chinese medicine. Data Science Journal, 6, S220-S224.

Sun, D. Z., Li, S. D., Liu, Y., Zhang, Y., Mei, R., & Yang, M. H. (2013). Differences in the origin of philosophy between Chinese medicine and western medicine: exploration of the holistic advantages of Chinese medicine. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, 19(9), 706-711.

Teppone, M., & Avakyan, R. (2007). Modern view on the theory of Channels, Collaterals, and Organs. Medical Acupuncture, 19(1), 43-48.

Ttplnn. (2007, February 23). Chinese pinyin in 6 mins [Video file]. Retrieved from

Yang, X., & Jia, C. (2013). Understanding association of spleen system with earth on traditional Chinese medicine theory. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 33(1), 134-136.

World Health Organization. (2007). WHO international standard terminologies on traditional medicine in the Western Pacific Region. Retrieved from

Wu, Q., & Liang, X. (2018). Food therapy and medical diet therapy of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Clinical Nutrition Experimental, 18, 1-5.