of the body
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is largely based on the philosophical
concept that the universe is made of an energy called qi. This energy
can be any state of matter or energy in existence. TCM believes that the
body is a small universe unto itself that is a complex of subsystems of
energy and matter, and that these systems work together to maintain a
healthy mind and body. The characteristics of the operation of the
mind/body are described in terms of the five elements (metal, water,
wood, fire, and earth), Yin/Yang organs, deficiency/excess,
emptiness/fullness, hot/cold, wind, dampness, pathogens,
internal/external, meridian channels, qi (several different types),
essences, body fluids, vessels and more.
TCM posits that illness is caused by external and/or internal factors
which disrupt the body's natural processes.
The body concept is based on a functional description, as opposed to
discrete tissues or specific organic compounds. In TCM, the spleen is
not a specific piece of tissue, but an aspect of function related to a
process (transformation and transportation). An additional difference
(among many) from modern science is a functional description of the mind
and emotions as a result of various internal organs rather than the
This functional approach makes it possible to treat the entire mind and
body not just the mind or just the body, through the therapies available
in this system.
About Yin Yang
In Chinese philosophy, the
concept of yin yang is used to describe how polar or seemingly contrary
forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and
how they give rise to each other in turn. The concept lies at the
origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as
well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and a
central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and
exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (tai chi), and qigong (Chi Kung)
and of I Ching divination. Many natural dualities — e.g. dark and light,
female and male, low and high, cold and hot — are thought of as
manifestations of yin and yang (respectively).
Yin yang are complementary opposites within a greater whole. Everything
has both yin and yang aspects, although yin or yang elements may
manifest more strongly in different objects or at different times. Yin
yang constantly interacts, never existing in absolute stasis. The
concept of yin and yang is often symbolized by various forms of the
Taijitu symbol, for which it is probably best known in western cultures.
There is a perception (especially in the West) that yin and yang
correspond to good and evil. However, Taoist philosophy generally
discounts good/bad distinctions as superficial labels, preferring to
focus on the idea of balance. The idea that yin and yang has a moral
dimension originated in the Confucian school (most notably Dong Zhongshu)
around the second century BC.