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The History of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The origin
Historical figures and their works The theory of TCM Diagnostic Methods Therapies of TCM Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine compared The current situation of TCM Protect our Traditional medicine culture


Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, exercise (qigong) and dietary therapy. These practices are a common part of medical care throughout East Asia, but are considered alternative in the Western world.


The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as Huang Di’s Inner Canon (黄帝内 经) and Treatise on Febrile and Miscellaneous Diseases (伤寒杂病论) , as well as in cosmological notions like Yin-yang(阴阳)and the Five Phases. Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were modernized in the People?s Republic of China so as to integrate many anatomical(解剖学的) and pathological (病理学 的) notions from scientific medicine. Nonetheless, many of its assumptions, including the model of the body, or concept of disease, are not supported by modern evidence-based medicine.


TCM's view of the body places little emphasis on anatomical structures, but is mainly concerned with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis consists in tracing symptoms to an underlying disharmony pattern, mainly by palpating the pulse and inspecting the tongue.

Traditional Chinese Medicine ("TCM") is an

integral part of Chinese culture. It has made
great contributions to the prosperity of

China. Today both of TCM and western
medicine are being used in providing

medical and health services in China.


Origin of TCM

Traditional Chinese medicine
(TCM)originated with Shen

Nong, the celebrated herbal
master of ancient China who

lived about 6,000 years ago, a
time which is believed to be the

embryo stage in the
development of traditional

Chinese medicine.

Shen Nong

Great books on TCM
Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic (《神农本草经》 ), prior to

the Qin Dynasty records 365 work that sums varieties of
medicinal herbs and classifies them into three categories in accordance with their respective primary treatments, functions

and toxic character. This is the earliest pharmacopoeia ever
found in China. But when we talk about the pharmacopoeia, we can not neglect Li shizhen?s work Compendium of material medica (《本草纲目》 ). It is so great that we use it as the basis of the modern TCM.

Pharmacopoeia: [,fɑ:m?k??pi:?]药典 ? Compendium: [k?m’pendi:?m]摘要,纲要


Famous Mdical Monograf

Historical figures in TCM

十 大 名 医 之 祖

一、针灸之祖——黄帝 二、脉学介导者——扁鹊 三、外科之祖——华佗 四、医圣——张仲景 五、预防医学的介导者——葛洪 六、药王——孙思邈 七、儿科之祖——钱乙 八、法医之祖——宋慈 九、药圣——李时珍 十、《医宗金鉴》总修官——吴谦

Famous doctors

At the peak of traditional Chinese medicine ,there comes forth many brilliant doctors known by the young and the old, such as Bian Que ,Hua Tuo ,Zhang Zhongjin,
Hua Tuo

Sun Simiao. Their legends inspire
us and make us confident of our
Bian Que

traditional culture.

Shen Nong
Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic wasn?t written by himself, it was finished in Warring States Period or Qin and Han Dynasty time ? Shen Nong tasted hundreds of grass and found herbs ? This book was the earlist extant medical monograph (现存的最早的医学专著)

Huang Di
He is the earliest ancestor of acupuncture and moxibustion(针灸鼻 祖). ? It was similar to Shen Nong, Huang Di’s Classic of Internal Medicine was also not written by himself. ? It?s said that it might be finished in Qin and Han Dynasty time

Hua Tuo
He is the earlist ancestor of surgery,lived in late Eastern Han Dynasty. ? He was famous for surgical operation and ma fei san (a kind of narcotic made of herbs). ? He created a body building exercise called five animals exercise,it is based on the movements of tiger, deer, bear, ape(猿)and crane(鹤).

Bian Que

He is the sphygmology mediator(脉学 介导者)of Traditional Chinese Medical Science and lived in Spring and Autumn and Warring States Period. The four diagnostic methods (四诊合参——望闻问切)was created by him.

Sun Simiao
He is the king of medicine(药王),lived in Tang Dynasty.He finished the book Golden Prescriptions for Emergencies《备急千金方》,it was the earliest clinical medicine encyclopedia(临床医学百科全书) in China.

Zhang Zhongjing
He is the herbalist doctor saint (医圣), lived in the Easten Han .
He finished the famous medical monograph Treatise on Febrile and Miscellaneous Disease《伤寒杂病论》.

He is the mediator of preventive medicine(预防 医学介导者),he was born in the Eastern Jin Dynasty and his theory contains the sprout idea (萌芽思想)of immunity.

Song Ci
He is the earliest ancestor of medical jurisprudence(法医之祖),lived in the Southern Song Dynasty. He wrote the book Record of Redressing Mishandled Cases《洗冤全集》in which he put forward the method of identify direct relative through blood(滴血认亲),it was a great idea at that time.

Qian Yi
? He

is the earliest ancestor of department of pediatrics(儿科鼻 祖) ,lived in Nothern Song Dynasty. ? He is the author of the first monograph of pediatrics Key to Therapeutic of Children’s Disease《小儿药证直诀》.

Li Shizhen

Li Shizhen (李时珍) of the Ming Dynasty, whose monumental masterpiece, Compendium of Meteria Medica (本草纲目), includes 1,892 medicinal substances, 11,096 prescriptions, and 1,162 illustrations.


宋 慈

洗 冤 录


李 时 珍

Chinese philosophies always
believe that everything including the

The Theory of TCM

universe is interrelated and changing all the time. One has to reach peaceful state of mind and harmony with the

surrounding to maintain good health.
Any harmful thing done to others will bring long lasting mental and physical damage to self at the end. 天人合一
Philosophy: [fi?l?s?fi]哲学 Interrelate: [,?nt?r??le?t] 相互关联〔影响〕 Harmony: [?hɑ:m?ni] 和睦, 融洽, 一致; 和谐, 协调

The Theory of TCM

Human organism is just like a miniature version of the

universe. They are inter-related and interplay in the five
basic elements, i.e., wood, fire, earth, gold (or metal) and water. They are constantly interacting in between the opposing and unifying forces - yin and yang. Health is achieved when the equilibrium can be maintained or

sickness will appear when it is out of balance. This is the
basic law that human and nature all have to follow.
Miniature: [?mini?t??] 小型的, 微小的 Equilibrium: [,i:kw??l?bri:?m]平衡,均势


Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that
disease is basically caused by the "weakening

state" of a body as a whole. And it cures
disease by trying to reinforce and stimulate

body's internal strength. TCM may take longer
time to cure a disease but it strengthens the

overall health of a patient.
Reinforce: [,ri:?n?f?:s] 加强;充实;使更强烈 Stimulate: [?stimjuleit] 刺激; 激励 Internal: [in?t?:n?l]内部的, 里面的


The Four Traditional Diagnostic Methods





Methods of treatment

in TCM


Methods of treatment

? ?

? ?


Herbal Medicine 中草药 Acupuncture 针灸& Moxibustion 灸术, 艾灼 Cupping 拔火罐 Massage 推拿 Diet therapy or food therapy 食疗 Gua Sha 刮痧 Qigong exercises and Medical Qikong 保健气功 Exercise therapy (Taijiquan and other Chinese Martial Arts)运动健身疗法

Herbal Medicine 中草药

This is the oldest form of Chinese medicine. This treatment originally required the patient to boil up medicinal plants and other medicinal substances, and drink the resultant liquid. These days Chinese Herbal Medicine is more commonly administered in the convenient form of powders that can be dissolved in water, or in the form of pills. Herbal Medicine is usually used to counteract the effects from excessive cold, heat, dampness or dryness, and to restore normal function of the organs.


Herbal medicine


That?s the XueDao of body above

Acupuncture & Moxibustion

Acupuncture & moxibustion is a unique therapy of China. It is a kind of treatment curing inner diseases from outside, and is used to treat various illnesses based on the theories of channels and vital points with applications of specific techniques. Based on the diagnosis and therapy of traditional Chinese medicine, the doctor can find out the pathogeny (病原)of illnesses, distinguish the features of diseases, determine which channel and viscera(内脏) the pathological (致病的)change belongs to, and identify which type the illness belongs to (inner or outer; cold or heat; insufficiency or excessiveness), and finally make the diagnosis. Then, the doctor can prescribe the corresponding acupuncture to prevent and cure the diseases by dredging channels, regulating vigor and sap(元气), balancing Yin and Yang, and harmonizing the functions of the viscera.

Cupping 拔火罐
In this modality ,glass or acrylic(丙烯酸) suction(吸入) cups are applied to specific areas of the body. It is a congested(使充血) treatment using a vacuum cup sucked firmly on the skin. Usually, the doctor fires an alcohol sponge(棉) and puts it inside the cup for a short while to make the cup a vacuum one, then he places the vacuum cup instantly over the selected spot of the skin. It is mainly used for conditions that are associated with “stagnation” (淤塞)which often manifests as chronic (慢性) pain.


Massage 推拿

Chinese Massage uses a number of techniques, which are designed to release tightness in tissues(组织), stimulate specific points or areas, and facilitate the flow of Qi. Chinese massages are usually very relaxing, highly invigorating(令人爽快的) or both.。

Diet therapy or food therapy 食疗

It is the preparation of medicinal food dishes, using selected food ingredients and superior herbs, to derive the necessary nutrients to treat specific health conditions. This combination of foods and herbs to make medicinal dishes to treat sickness is food therapy. Food therapy is believed to help improve health on a regular basis, prevent seasonal climate related problems, fight early symptoms of health problems, complement the primary treatment and to combat adverse side effects of harsh drugs during sickness, revive and regain vitality after sickness and repair damages and body malfunctions to restore health.

Gua Sha 刮痧

With this treatment, the skin on the back, limbs, and other parts of the body is lubricated (被润滑) and then pressured and scraped(刮) with a rounded object (a ceramic spoon(瓷勺), a piece of jade, or similar object). The method produces "sha" which are small red petechiae (瘀斑). Gua Sha can be used to prevent and treat diseases and strengthen the body. Raising Sha removes blood stagnation(淤滞) considered pathogenic(病原), promoting normal circulation and metabolic processes(新陈 代谢). It has a very quick effect on pain and an obvious effect on various diseases caused by functional disharmony of the internal organs.

Qigong exercises and Medical Qikong 保健气功

Medical Qigong is one of the major branches of Chinese Medicine, designed to re-balance patterns of energetic disharmony. This healing method utilizes special methods of breathing, postures and creative visualization to cleanse, collect, circulate and store one?s “life force energy.” Qigong is also widely practiced by the Chinese today for physical fitness and the prevention of diseases.

Exercise therapy (运动健身疗法)

Taijiquan(太极拳,often Romanized as T?ai Chi Ch?uan) is the name of an internal martial art of Chinese origin. People -play -Tai Chi Chuan to improve one?s well being both mentally and physically and so embrace the spirit of good living Tai Chi when correctly practiced on a regular basis is said to restore vigorous health, improve digestion and raises ones spirits. The Chinese further emphasize that it has the ability to improve the circulation of blood and energy throughout the whole body.


Introduction to TCM

Herbal medicine



Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine compared
Generally speaking , the western and traditional Chinese medicine is essentially different.

In principle , western medicine cures disease by using external forces. TCM in another hand attempts to

reinforce and stimulate body's internal strength to cure
External: [eks?t?:nl] 外面的, 外部的

Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine compared
Western medicine bases on the theory that disease is caused by bacterial and other external means.

TCM believes that disease is basically caused by
the imbalance of body.


Western medicine is chemical compound while the
traditional Chinese medicine is natural . The western medicine works quickly, but it has more side-effect . The

traditional Chinese medicine will take more time to work,
but it has less side-effect.

Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine compared

It is an element that cure the disease in western

medicine, but it is the prescription that works not one
element. For example, when we get a high fever, the western doctor will give us some pills which contain paracetamol(扑热息痛), but the traditional Chinese doctor may suggest some soup of ginger with brown sugar.



Hospitals in China are classified as specialized in western medical system, TCM or both. TCM is now available to 75% of the areas in China. Now, TCM is

under the Ministry of Health of the People?s Republic
of China and the State administration of the PRC.

TCM and its development are regulated. National
strategies, law and regulations governing TCM are

now in place to guide and promote the research and
development in this promising industry.


The current situation of TCM

Universities and colleges in China are providing degree and diploma courses in TCM. It takes seven years of university education to complete a Doctoral degree in TCM. Cross education in both TCM and western system are provided to medical students with major in either one of the systems.

Beijing University of Chinese Medicine

The current situation of TCM

The attitude towards traditional Chinese medicine
and pharmacy across the world is changing. A

large number of specialists in TCM have been
invited by countries in Asia, Europe, America and

others to give lectures on TCM or to conduct
activities in TCM therapy and scientific research.


The current situation of TCM

In China, among the foreign students in natural

sciences, those who major in traditional Chinese
medicine accounts for the highest percentage.

World Health Organization has established 7
collaborating centers of traditional medicine and

pharmacology. International training centers have
been set up in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Xiamen to train TCM personnel from over the world.

The current situation of TCM

Colleges of traditional Chinese medicine and
acupuncture have been founded in France, US, Italy and Australia. An institute of TCM theoretical research has been set up in the Munich University of Germany. Cooperation in TCM has been

established between China and
Japan, the United State and Germany.


The current situation of TCM

Though the development of TCM is promising, there are still some problems. First, while more and more foreign patients turn to TCM ,more and more Chinese believe in western medicine, because western medicine works more

quickly than TCM. Patient is to the doctor what
water is to the fish. No patients, no doctors, put

aside the prosperity of the TCM.

The current situation of TCM

Secondly, because patients believe in the western medicine, less and less Chinese students will choose this subject. So you

can hardly see young traditional
doctors. It will be not surprising

that one day , there is no
Chinese who masters TCM.


The current situation of TCM

At last , the managerial system of TCM is in chaos. Some leaders just develop TCM on the blob not in action. TCM hasn?t get enough focus.



Protect our Traditional medicine culture

As we talk above, TCM is now in

a serious position in China.
Several weeks ago, the Korean proclaimed that TCM should be changed into traditional Korean medicine and some professors in

China want to abolish TCM. So
we have much work to do to protect our tradition medicine.

Protect our Traditional medicine culture

To the government, the system should be
consummated, more money should be invested

in this field. The government should
propagandize TCM home and abroad and ban

illegalities which is in the name of TCM. To our
ordinary citizens, we must have more confidence

of the TCM. To TCM itself, TCM should learn
from the advantage of the western medicine and improve the ability to serve the public.


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