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History of TCM

Model of Body




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Model 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 brain.

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.


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