Traditional Chinese medicine (also known as TCM, simplified Chinese: 中医; traditional Chinese: 中医; pinyin: zhōngyī) is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts which have been developed in China. TCM has a long and rich history that lasts for thousands of years.
The original foundation of TCM was established over two thousand years age, during a long course of development, it has been shaped by accumulative and consolidated knowledge gathered from accomplished medical practitioners of different medical approaches and establised a complete array of medical theories, practical experiences and unique therapeutic techniques.
TCM has its own specific understanding both in the physiological functions and pathological changes of the human body and in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. It regards the human body is an organic whole and all parts are connected with each other by channels and collaterals (otherwise known as meridians). The internal is related with the external, and the exterior with the interior. Pathological changes inside the human body are reflected externally as abnormalities of the complexion, emotions, appearance of the tongue, or pulse irregularities. In regard to the onset and development of a disease, TCM attaches great importance to the endogenous pathogenic factors, namely the seven emotions, also includes the exogenous pathogenic factors, namely the six pathogens.
In TCM, there are four examination methods: Questioning/history taking, inspection, auscultation (listening) & olfaction (smelling), and palpation. The four methods have their unique clinical functions and cannot be replaced by one another. Sometimes, false manifestations of a disease occur which emphasize the importance of integrating all diagnostic methods. In addition to the four examination methods, TCM also emphsis the prevention and preventive treatment of disease.
TCM medicine practices include various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (tui na), and dietary therapy. Often Qigong (exercise) and Taiji are also strongly affiliated with TCM. It is primarily used as a complementary alternative medicine approach TCM is widely used in China and it is also used in other parts of Asia and the West.