Fundamental Theory of TCM & TCM Terminology

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:

  1. Describe the history, philosophy, development, strengths and limitations of Chinese medicine and the necessity to refer to peers or other health professional when appropriate.
  2. Explain Yin Yang theory, Wu Xing Theory, Zang Xiang theory, Jing Luo system, vital substances, and Shen.
  3. Analyse the pathogenesis, disease mechanism, treatment principle, prevention method from the TCM perspective in appreciation of the multi-cultural/multi-racial context of Australia.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Chinese Medicine Channel. (2017, November 19). Yin Yang theory – A basic explanation [Video]. YouTube.

Chinese Medicine Channel. (2017, November 25). Wu Xing (5 elements)-A basic explanation [Video]. YouTube.

Feng, Y., Wu, Z., Zhou, X., Zhou, Z., & Fan, W. (2006). Knowledge discovery in traditional Chinese medicine: state of the art and perspectives. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine38(3), 219-236.

Fruehauf, H. (2015, March 28). The Twelve Organ Networks of Chinese Medicine [Video]. YouTube.

Geren, D. [Wellspring Acupuncture, Dr. Danny Geren L.Ac.]. (2014, August 6). External Causes of Disease and the Six Evils, The Common Cold in Chinese Medicine [Video]. YouTube.

Great Wall Chinese Medicine. (2012, February 26). The history of Chinese Medicine [Video]. YouTube.

Kundawell Official Channel. (2016, March 22). Stories about the legendary Chinese doctors [Video]. YouTube.

Lam, T. P. (2001). Strengths and weaknesses of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine in the eyes of some Hong Kong Chinese. Journal of epidemiology and community health55(10), 762-765.

Lavarini, D., & Del Franco, A. (1999). How to use a Chinese dictionary. Chinese in Chinatown. (2018). Chinese Pinyin lessons.

NihaoChina. (2010, September 23). Chinese pinyin-Lesson 1 (Mandarin).

Ou, B., Huang, D., Hampsch-Woodill, M., & Flanagan, J. A. (2003). When east meets west: the relationship between yin-yang and antioxidation-oxidation. The FASEB journal17(2), 127-129

Penner, J. (2015, November 21). Zang Fu, The Organs Part 2 The Kidneys [Video]. YouTube.

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

World Health Organization. (2022, March 3). WHO International Standard Terminologies on TCM.