What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese medicine is sometimes abbreviated to TCM or T.C.M. and it is a series of traditional medical and health practices that have been put to use in China and have developed very slowly, over a period of what some say is thousands of years.

Some of the natural medical practices that are a part of traditional Chinese medicine include acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage. Traditional Chinese medicine is a type of Oriental medicine, which is to say that it takes into consideration other traditions medical systems that evolved in East Asia such as traditional Korean medicine and traditional Japanese medicine.

Interrelated Aspects

According to TCM, the processes that compose the human body are interconnected and are constantly interacting and interrelating with the environment. This theory of health thus seeks to isolate what causes imbalance and disharmony in both the internal as well as external environment of a person and from there it seeks to comprehend a health problem as well as effectively treat it and work to prevent further illness or disease from taking place in the future.

The theory of traditional Chinese medicine is base on more than one philosophical viewpoint. In fact it is based on a variety of frameworks with the most influential being the human body Meridian system, the Theory of Yin and Yang, the Zang Fu organ theory and the Five Elements.


Diagnosis for health conditions as well as proper avenues for treatments are decided upon based on these concepts. In a general sense traditional Chine medicine is not connected with the scientific outlook of the modern Western way of thinking but some practitioners do try to make sure that it is conducted in an “evidence-based” framework of health and medicine.

What is today known as traditional Chinese medicine was once called classical Chinese medicine (CCM). For a period of 30 years CCM was outlawed in China until a man by the name of Mao Zedong decided in the 1960s that something had to be done in regards to classical Chinese medicine.

During those years he gathered together 10 of the top doctors of the time and had them take a cryptic look at CCM by surveying it carefully and then coming up with a standardized format for which it could be put to use. It is this standardized form that came to be known as what we know it as today, which is traditional Chinese medicine.

Western culture and its modern scientific approach to medicine have not reduced the interest in TCM at all. In fact a great deal of the TCM practices have shown high rates of success and therefore when Western medicine is found wanting, many patients turn to TFCM in the hopes of being healed.

The advantage of TCM is that it does not involve drugs, with the exception of an occasional herbal supplement and therefore patients avoid concerns about chemicals polluting their bodies and dangerous toxicity levels. There are areas in the world where Western medicine is not available and therefore TCM is very important in these areas. TCM has proven to be especially effective when it comes to problems such as a variety of allergies and the flu.