Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. Chinese medicine is a product of years of practice and repeated testing that has continued to evolve throughout the ages. As medical concepts of different eras emerged, Chinese Medicine evolved each time incorporating many of these concepts into its fundamental theories and treatment of disease.
Chinese Medicine has been so successful at treating disease and dysfunction that it is still studied today. Chinese medical concepts are able to explain phenomena in Western medicine while staying true to its fundamental theories (like the yin-yang and five element theories).
It seems that Chinese Medicine originates from the philosophy of Taoism in China, although its exact beginnings are probably older. Also, many of the fundamental concepts of Chinese Medicine came from ancient medical books. As a result, they provided a framework for its development and application.
The accumulation of medical knowledge and books over the years led to the theoretical system of Chinese medical practice. This theoretical system consists of four components including- theory, methodology, prescription, and pharmacy. The development of unique medical techniques such as acupuncture, moxibustion, and Chinese herbal treatments helped refine the practice into what it is today.
The Classics of Chinese Medicine
Ancient medical books, commonly known as the classics, provided a framework for many of the theories and practices in Chinese Medicine. Such books include Huangdi’s Classic of Medicine, Shen Nong’s Classic of Herbalism, and Huang Fumi’s A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.
The cumulative knowledge from thousands of years in medical research and practice can be found in these books. Most importantly, these classics of Chinese Medicine are still used today for diagnosis and treatment.
Huang Di’s Classic of Medicine:
Also known as The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, this is one of the oldest text in Chinese Medicine. Likewise, this book provides much of the framework for Chinese Medicine including the yin-yang and five-element theories. Consequently, the book recognized the need for balance in the body, the interaction between different organs, and the effects that aging has on the body and disease.
Shen Nong’s Classic on Herbalism:
This book goes over many of the pharmaceutical and formulation principles of Chinese Medicine. This also includes the use of herbs, minerals, and animal parts as medical agents to treat disease and dysfunction. Shen Nong was the founder of herbal medicine in China. Furthermore, he is known to have helped promote farming practices and the use of plants as a food source.
Zhang Zhonjing’s Treatise of Febrile and Miscellaneous Diseases:
This classic helped develop the scientific foundation of Chinese Medicine in a clinical practice. This included the classification of symptoms, diagnostic methods, therapeutic methods, and prescription. Examples of diagnostic methods include questioning, palpation, and auscultation (listening to organ function- heartbeat, breathing, etc).
Huang Fumi’s A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion:
This book helped establish a framework for the use of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of disease. It helped draw a connection between other Chinese medical theories like the zang-fu organ theory, five-element theory, yin-yang theory, and meridian theory. Acupuncture and moxibustion provided a holistic treatment modality for disease and dysfunction in the body.
Chinese Medicine has continued to evolve. It relies on many of these fundamental texts as a reference for the treatment of disease. Modern practices include acupuncture, tui nua (massage), herbal medicine, tai chi, and qi gong, and many others. It is a holistic medical practice that can supplement other forms of medical treatment by providing a distinct approach to health and well-being.
Stop by Santa Cruz CORE today to learn more about how we incorporate Chinese Medicine in our acupuncture and massage services to benefit your health and wellness!