Traditional Chinese medicine

As a type of effective and practicalnatural home remedy,traditional Chinese medicine is based on a theory of the functioning of the healthy human being from a physiological, psychological, anatomical... It also attempts to explain the causes of the diseases and the biological and psychological mechanisms that are the consequences. Chinese medicine seeks to understand the human being, both healthy and sick, by managing the balance of internal energy called qi.

It is a medicine whose development is generally dated 1250 years BC. In the first treatise known Chinese medicine (the Huangdi Nei Jing), one finds for example the description of five organs (named Wu Zang) and six bowels (named Liu Fu) accompanied by diagrams.

Ancient Chinese sages


Huang Di

It is essentially marked by three legendary figures, three mythical emperors:

Fuxi: he is credited with writing the Yi Jing (Book of Changes), generally regarded as the oldest Chinese book.

Shennong: father of agriculture and phytotherapy. He is called the "divine laborer." He is awarded the first Bencao 本草 (Treatise on Medicinal Materials).

Huang Di: The Yellow Emperor, creator of rites and medicine. He is credited with writing the Nei Jing (Huang Di Nei Jing 黃帝內經 or Classical of the Esoteric Tradition of the Yellow Emperor) that will go through the centuries.

The oldest fragments of the Nei Jing Su Wen date back to the eighth century BC. And it seems to have been divided in two towards the end of this period, under the Qin:

The Su Wen (素問) "Simple Questions" in 9 chapters, presented as a discussion between Emperor Huang Di and his adviser Qi Bo 岐伯, discussing essentially theory.

The Ling Shu (靈樞) "Spiritual Pivot", in 9 chapters also, focused on practice.

One can add the Nan Jing (難經), Classique des Difficulties, a two-volume treatment of 81 difficult passages from Nei Jing. It also contains the first paper on the theory of pulse. Not mentioned in the Annals of the Han, it nevertheless passes for anterior to the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280).

Apart from these legendary figures, it is considered that the first medical writings attested, dating between 580 and 320 BC. AD, appear in the Zuo Zhuan composed at the beginning of the 5th century BC. They would therefore be contemporaries of the Hippocratic Greek texts. This does not mean, of course, that Chinese medicine dates from this period, because before it was written, it was transmitted orally in an esoteric way. At the time when rituals and administration were organized, doctors (yin) constituted for the first time a corporation independent of priests and magicians. The first "historical" figure quoted is Bian Que 扁鵲 (430? -350? BC), which is perhaps a generic name for several different characters. It is said that he knew the technique of pulse taking (Mo Fa 摸法) and some historians attribute to him the Nan Jing

Zou Yan 鄒衍 (circa 305-240 BC) introduces in China the theory of the Five Elements which will develop under the Han and impregnate all systems of knowledge, including medicine and alchemy, combining, Example, an organ at a cardinal point, a season, a taste, etc. It seems that there was at that time important exchanges between China, India and Persia.

Some Elements of home remedies and therapies


In practice, Chinese medicine relies on primordial therapeutic elements:

The Chinese pharmacopoeia including phytotherapy (plants), minerals, animal and even human substances (eg placenta). The first work of medical material is the Shennong bencao jing, the Classical of the medical material of Shennong, dating from around the beginning of our era. Chinese phytotherapy contains thousands of plants, decoctions, powders etc. They have an important role in Chinese medicine. Finally, the pharmacopoeia often joins Chinese cuisine with the use of flavors.

Acupuncture and moxibustion (combustion of a grass helping to circulate vital energy, qi).


Traditional Chinese massage, An Mo / Tui Na.

The qi gong, or Chinese Gymnastics, which allows by a regular practice, to balance the qi, thus to prevent diseases. Accompanied by the other therapeutic elements, it helps to care for the patient.

Emotion Management

Because of its strong imbrication in Chinese culture, we find in medicine all the concepts of its original culture: yin and yáng (symbols of the bipolarity of things), qi (the energy of being ).

Wuxing (cosmology).

We also find the Wuxing (Five Phases): these are five qualities that make it possible to study the characteristics of all symptoms, as well as their interactions. These five movements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Medically speaking, each of them is in relation with organs of the seasons, energies, organs workshop (yin), organs treasure (Yáng), senses and feelings.

Acupuncture in the West

The first contacts of the West with traditional Chinese medicine, and especially acupuncture, date back to the sixteenth century when the Jesuits were admitted to the imperial court (see Edifying and Curious Letters). A first wave of orientalism then arose among European intellectuals, followed by a second wave of contacts during the colonial expansion of the nineteenth century. We see then the first Western intellectuals truly versed in the understanding of Chinese culture, for example through the Taoist classics (see the work of Richard Wilhelm on the Yi Jing) or acupuncture (see the works of George Soulié de Morant).

However, it is truly from the second half of the twentieth century that acupuncture as a medical practice spreads in the West (as, for example, the practice of tai chi), thanks to a counterculture Which seeks alternative paths to its Judeo-Christian heritage.

Acupuncture is now recognized as an effective therapeutic practice for many conditions (including chronic conditions) by many countries and the World Health Organization.

The scientific community has looked at these methods. Several countries in the European Union and North America have given a place in their acupuncture care system, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, or Germany through Heilpraktiker who are cared for by The health system. 

The notion of qi (energy) and meridians is totally foreign to western medicine. However, acupuncture is sometimes used in addition to a medical accompaniment to fight certain problems related to stress, pain. It is most often proposed in addition to patients in analgesic treatment.

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