TCM – Zhong Yi

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM; Zhong Yi) is a coherent health care system of clinical assessment, diagnosis and treatment based on Chinese medical theory and practice. It consists of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and TCM Remedial Massage (Tui Na), as well as dietary therapy and various exercise therapies.

TCM is a system of thought and practice based on perspectives on health and disease which were developed in China over thousands of years and codified in modern China. It is the result of clinical observations and experiences, which have been critically appraised, formulated and re-formulated time and again, over centuries of investigation by scholarly physicians. Key TCM concepts include Yin-Yang and Five Elements philosophy; the theory of Qi, Blood and Body Fluids; and the theories of Zang-Fu organs and Channels, flavours and natures of herbs.

This medical system recognises that the human body is an integrated entity of connected channels and organ systems and that health stems from physical and emotional equilibrium and that illness only occurs when the body is unable to maintain its normal state of balance. Consequently, the TCM diagnostic system uses Syndrome Identification methodology to classify illness according to the nature of underlying imbalance and treats them using a holistic approach.

TCM is widely practised in China, Korea, Japan and much of South East Asia. In such places, TCM practitioners practise with Western Medicine practitioners in public hospitals so that patients can benefit both from TCM’s millennia of clinical experience and Western Medicine’s modern technologies.

In Australia, TCM is nationally regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Authority (AHPRA), and continues to gain interest as part of a broader movement towards natural therapies. Since 2012, the Australian Government has limited use of the title “Chinese Medicine Practitioner” to people who have professional registration under AHPRA. Many Australian private health funds also recognise TCM and provide rebates for a range of treatments.

Want to learn more about TCM? Consider taking Everyday Chinese Medicine – a free, 8-hour online course available on Coursera.