chapter  20
Traditional Chinese medicine
Pages 3

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a total and complete system of health care,

and a form of preventive medicine. It is a unique combination of holistic principles

that leads to diagnosis and cure of illness, which has been practised in China for

thousands of years. The oriental approach is still practised in China and is well

integrated with the more conventional western style of health care, but is funda-

mentally different from that of western medicine. In TCM, an understanding of the

human body is based on the theory that the body as a whole organism and the planet

are inextricably linked. Historically, TCM combined herbal and plant medicine, mass-

age, acupuncture, qigong (breathing and meditation exercises), Tai Chi (Chinese

martial arts) and Feng Shui (Chinese astrology). This also encompassed a spiritual

relationship with the environment, earth and universe. At present it is more frag-

mented and focuses mainly on Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture, with the

addition of massage and meditation.