What is Chinese Medicine?

Chinese medicine view of bodyTraditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, is an ancient holistic medicine centered on the Chinese concept of energy. This vital energy, known as Qi, animates all manifestations of life in the universe and activates all the processes of the body.

Disease is seen as the result of energy blockages and imbalances. Thus, Chinese Medicine restores the natural balance of both the body and the mind to achieve equilibirium of Qi.

“To restore equilibrium when energies are in excess or when there is deficiency is the main object of the physician’s endeavors”, states a two-thousand-year-old Chinese medical text.

Each organ, each disease, is seen within the context of the whole. The same disease manifesting in two individuals may not have the same root cause,  therefore the treatments are highly individualized. Diagnosis is based upon pulse and tongue analysis, astute observation, and careful listening.

History of Chinese Medicine

Dynasties & KingdomsImportant People/ Texts/Events
New Stone Age
8000-2100 BC
Bian stone needles
Shen Nong
Forefather of chinese herbal medicine
Huang Di
Founder of chinese medicine
Xia Dynasty
2100-1600 BC
Shang Dynasty
1600 – 1100 BC
Jia Ku Wen
writings on animals bones & shells on diseases
Zhou Dynasty
1100 – 221 BC
Metal needles replaced Bian stones
Bian Que
First legendary medical doctor Originated chinese medicine 4 diagnosis technique Nan Jing (Classic of Difficulties), Book on pulse and 5-shu transport points
Lao-Tze 604-521BC /Confucius 551-479BC
Socrates and Buddha lived at same period
Qin Shi Huang,first chinese Emperor, built Great Wall
Qin Dynasty
221 – 207 BC
Han Dynasty
206 BC-220 AD
Huang Di Nei Jing (Inner Canon of Yellow Emperor), Book that laid foundation for TCM
Hua Tuo
First surgeon in the world Founded anesthesia
Zhang Zhong Jing
Most famous chinese herbal doctor
Three Kingdoms
220-280 AD
Western Jin Dynasty
265 – 316
Ge Hong
Renowned Daoist alchemist and physician World’s earliest recorded writing on smallpox Zhouhou Beijifang(Emergency Prescriptions), book on treatments of contagious diseases
Huang Pu Mi
Zhen JiuJiayijing (ABC of Acupuncture and Moxibustion), the first acupuncture book
Eastern Jin Dynasty
317 – 420
Northern & Southern Dynasties
420 – 581
Tao Hongjing
Shennong Ben Cao Jing (Shen Nong Classic of the Materia Medica) based on Shen Nong’s findings
Sui Dynasty
581 – 618
Tang Dynasty
618 – 907
Influence of Buddhism
Sun Si-Miao
Herbal King/Daoist alchemist/Ethicist Bei Ji Qian Jin Zao Fang (Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Gold for Emergencies), the first medical encyclopedia in China was comprised of 30 volumes and 5,300 prescriptions.
1st organized medical school, 200 years before medical school in Europe
Five Dynasties
Song Dynasty
960 – 1279
Wang Wei Yi
Casted full-size bronze acupuncture model Tong Ren Shu Xue Zhern Jiu Tu Jing (Illustrated Manual of the Bronze Man showing Acupuncture and Moxibustion
Liao Dynasty
916 – 1125
Jin Dynasty
1115 – 1234
Liu Yuan-Su School of Cooling
Zhang Cong-Zheng School of Attack and Purge
Li Dong-Yuan School of nourishing earth
Yuan Dynasty
1271 – 1368
Zhu Dan-Xi School of nourishing yin
Ming Dynasty
1368 – 1644
Qing Dynasty
1368 – 1644
Ye Tian-Shi
Famous for his thesis on febrile disease Wenre Lun (Treatise on Epidemic Fevers), book on febrile theories, influencing TCM practice today
Republic of China
1912 – present
People’s Rep. of China
1949 – present