Traditional Chinese medicine is considered to be a form of alternative medicine in the Western world, which means that it is looked at as a viable form of medicine only when more conventional Western methods of treatment fail. However in both Taiwan and the mainland of China, traditional Chinese medicine is an essential and a very valuable element of the health and medical care system.
Traditional Chinese medicine was once thought of as traditional medicine or folk medicine and it was a kind of “non-invasive therapeutic intervention” that was deeply rooted in ancient beliefs that included traditional religious ideas. There are other forms of traditional medicine that have disappeared whereas TCM has remained strong and a valuable part of the healthcare system in China although attempts have been made to integrate some of the more modern Western principles of medicine. The instruments and methodologies of Western medicine in particular have been combined with the observations and hypotheses to help balance TCM out as much as possible and to make it as useful for people as it possibly can be.
The fact that TCM has remained such a large part of the Chinese medical system is a surprise to many people because in most areas across the globe, modern Western medicine has the upper hand when it comes to infections and diseases. It is interesting as well that traditional Chinese medicine has remained a separate, branch of medicine all by itself as has not completely merged with modern Western medicine. This is not what has happened in other intellectual areas such as for example, there is no longer Chinese biology or Chinese physics as it has merged with the broader Western view.
Traditional Chinese medicine has effectively been used to treat many conditions with its highest rates of success being attributed to treating the unfortunate side affects of chemotherapy as well as treating both the cravings as well as the withdrawal symptoms that are often experienced by drug addicts. TCM has shown to be effective at treating a host of chronic health conditions that modern Western medicine has found it difficult to resolve. As well traditional Chinese medicine is often used to successfully treat infections that are resistant to any number of antibiotics.
TCM is based on the philosophy that the human body is a “small universe with a set of complete and sophisticated interconnected systems, and that those systems usually work in balance to maintain the healthy function of the human body.” The balance of the feminine yin and the masculine yang is related to qi, which stands for breath, spiritual energy or life force. Blood (or jing) in the TCM framework stands for semen or kidney essence, while TCM also includes the Five elements, other bodily fluids (such as tears and urine), emotions and finally the spirit or soul which is referred to as shen in traditional Chinese medicine.
While the modern Western approach to medicine looks at the human body in terms of parts, the traditional Chinese medicine model is more concerned about the particular function of an organ.