Seeking from the origin, we can find out that preserving health, “Yang Sheng 养生” in Chinese, is an important part of the TCM culture. It derived from ancient Chinese philosophy, from sources like the I-Ching 易经, an important carrier of Confucian and Taoist thought that has gradually become the foundation of traditional Chinese culture and wellness. At present, this traditional health-keeping wisdom is still relevant! It not only corresponds with necessities for people in modern society, but also leaving a profound significance in scientific health-preservation.
Oneness of Man and Nature
“Harmony” is one of the most frequently mentioned words in TCM and in the book, I-Ching 易经. Based on this ideology of harmony, TCM presents "oneness of nature and man" concept as a whole. In the original work of TCM -- Huang Di Nei Jing, believes that man is the product of nature; he should co-exist with nature and everything within it.
People ought to follow the internal law of nature, eating and living, work and exercise, and as the four seasons, geography and the social environment change, they make corresponding adjustments. So, in accordance with its natural tendency, people will have fewer diseases, postpone aging and live a longer life. People who go against and make destruction to the nature will be subjected and receive the retribution, leading to disease of the body.
TCM seasonal health-preservation advocates:
nourishing the yang in spring and summer, while supporting yin in autumn and winter; healthy diet as well as sentiment health-preservation all extended and developed Confucianism, reflecting predominance of TCM overall recuperation function. If the child has weak function of spleen and stomach, he or she could not eat too much ice cream; the old who has bad digest function should have more porridge at dinner.
TCM believes that the human body is composed of various tissues and organs. These different parts are united into an organic whole because they are closely related to each other in structure, physiology and pathology. In structure, the body centers round the five zang-organs, namely the heart, the liver, the spleen, the lung and the kidney. Through the system of the meridians and the functional activities of the corresponding six fu-organs, the five constituents, the five sensory organs and the nine orifices; the body becomes a unified whole that is connected with the upper and lower as well as the internal and external. In physiology, the viscera (internal organs), though different in functional activities, cooperate with each other in function.
Take food for example. When it enters the mouth, the stomach digests it first and then transmits it to the small intestine where it is further digested with the function of the spleen to transform and the small intestine to separate the clear from the turbid (usable and unusable material). Then the nutrients are absorbed and transformed into Qi and blood to be transported to all parts of the body. The waste part is transmitted to the large intestine where it is transformed into feces and then discharged through the anus. Actually the liver, the gallbladder and the triple energizer are also involved in this digestion process. It is obvious that the digestion of food, the absorption of nutrients and the discharge of waste are accomplished by concerted action of a number of organs.
In pathology, morbid changes in any part of the body will affect the other viscera and tissues or the entire body. Similarly, general pathological change in the body will affect the functions of the local viscera.
Individual Differentiation Wins
// “Bian Zheng 辩证” (syndrome differentiation) is another important concept that differentiates TCM from biomedicine. While biomedicine diagnoses a disease that occurs in different people with mostly the same numeric standard and treats it with a common drug/procedure, TCM differentiates the treatment based on each individual’s constitutions and syndrome. Then the therapeutic methods are decided according to the result of syndrome differentiation. One disease may display different syndromes while different diseases may demonstrate the same syndrome in their courses of development. Therefore in TCM, the understanding and treatment of disease mainly focus on differentiating syndromes and analyzing them of differentiating disease.//
For example, one disease may demonstrate different syndromes which should be treated with different therapies due to difference in constitution, onset of disease, geographic conditions, or stage of development.
Take common cold for example, clinically for TCM, it is divided into wind-cold syndrome and wind-heat syndrome due to difference in pathogenic factors. The two patterns have overlapping symptoms, but the former is treated by relieving superficial pathogenic factors with herbs acrid in taste and warm in property, while the latter with herbs acrid in taste but cool in property.
However, same therapeutic method can be used to treat different diseases with the emergence of the same syndrome in their courses of development.
Take dysentery and jaundice for example. They are two different diseases. But if they all demonstrate damp-heat syndrome, both of them can be treated by the therapeutic method for clearing away damp-heat.
Prevention is Key
Traditional Chinese medicine has been always attaching great importance to prevention. The earliest preventive thought, known as "treating the undiseased," was advanced in Huang di Neijing. It has imposed great influence on the formation and development of preventive medicine. TCM Preventative principles include: complying with nature, moderate work and rest, proper diet, proper living habits, prevention of the invasion of pathogenic Qi (external pathogenic factors), and prevention of the recurrence of disease (for example, when just recovering from diarrhea, infants should have light food, as functions of the spleen and stomach have not completely restored to the normal state; otherwise, heavy diet and overeating will severely impair the spleen and stomach and lead to the recurrence of disease).
Cultivating Mental Faculties
Among all the health-preservations, mental health is among the top. Humane people lives longer, which is the core thought of Confucianism, that requires no greed, no mania, being moderate and absorb the essence from nature.
TCM believes that the heart dominate the whole body so that healthy heart lubricate physiological functions of human body. Greed is enemy in life; balance of mentality is the secret for long life. The young should not fight each other, the middle-aged not doing things emotionally, the old not money-driven. Optimistic, calm and gentle are all beneficial characters for long-life pursuing.