Lecture Ten Traditional Chinese Medicine
Why is TCM unique? • Because of its complete dialectical theoretical framework, diagnostic methods,
pharmacology, and special methods of treatment including acupuncture and
moxibustion, deep breathing, and medical massage.
Theories of TCM • Theory of Yin and Yang
• Theory of the Five Elements
• Theory of Jing and Luo
Theory of Yin and Yang • The yin and yang theory holds that everything, or every phenomenon in the universe,
consists of two forces, yin and yang, that oppose each other and at the same time
complement each other. According to this, the human body is also made up of yin and
yang elements. When there is a balance between the two, there is no disease. If the
balance in a person is disturbed, he is sure to become ill.
Theory of the Five Elements • It assumes that material world is basically made up of five elements of metal, wood,
water, fire and earth. Among these elements there exists an interdependence and
inter-restraint which determines their state of constant changes. The human body is
regarded as part of the physical world and the internal organs such as lungs, liver,
heart, kidney and spleen correspond with the five elements in the universe.
Theory of Jing and Luo Jing, the main channels that run longitudinally; Luo, the branches that run latitudinally.
According to the theory, the internal organs and the limbs of the human body are related
and linked by channels through which blood and qi(vital energy) circulate. If there is a
blockage in either jing and luo, the blood and vital energy cannot pass through. To
clear the blockage and ensure the free flow of blood and vital energy is the first and
fundamental step in curing a disease.
Acupuncture and Moxibustion • Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese method of treating a disease or relieving pain by
inserting one or more metal needles at a certain point or certain points of the human
• Moxibustion was discovered by ancient people when they sat around a fire. They
found that the heat not only kept them warm but also relieved certain physical pains.
In the treatment moxa leaves are ignited over certain points on the skin’s surface.
Medical Books • The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine《黄帝内经》
• Shen Nong’s Canon of Herbs《神农本草经》 • Golden Prescriptions for Emergencies《备急千金要方》
• Supplementary Golden Prescriptions《千金翼方》 • The Compendium of Materia Medica《本草纲目》
Four Basic Diagnostic Methods
• Listening and Smelling
• Palpating (pulse-feeling)
Drug Forms • Decoction 煎剂
• Tincture 药酒
• Dispersion 散剂
• Ointment 油膏，软膏
• Paste form 浆剂
• Pellet form 片剂