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 based on the ideologies of health and disease which were developed in China over thousands of years and codified in modem 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. TCM is a system of thought and practice grounded in theories including Yin-Yang and Five Elements philosophy concepts; the theory of Qi, Blood and Body Fluids; the theories of Zang-Fu organs and Channels, flavours and natures of herbs.
TCM 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.
Traditional Chinese medicine is well-established in China, Korea, Japan and much of South East Asia. In Western societies, TCM is gaining acceptance by the general public, governments and the medical profession. In Australia, the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA), the Australian Natural Therapies Association (ANTA), the Australian Traditional Medicine Association (ATMS), the NSW Association of Chinese Medicine (NSWACM) and the Australian Traditional Chinese Medicine Association (ATCMA) guide and regulate the profession. Many Australian private health funds 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.