The Components of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Qi is very important to Chinese medicine because it is the basic component that is
responsible for the metabolic processes and physiological events of the human body. It is the "energy" that drives
the functioning of the body. There are 5 basic functions that Qi's actions perform.
Chinese Alternative Medicine
When you hear the words Chinese medicine, most people will think of acupuncture.
Chinese medicine is so much more than acupuncture. The major components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is
the clinical diagnostics that go into discovering the causes of disharmony within the body and herbal medicine
which is a therapy used by Chinese practitioners to treat certain illnesses and conditions and is also used as a
preventative or strengthener.
Qi is very important to Chinese medicine because it is the basic component that is responsible for the metabolic
processes and physiological events of the human body. It is the "energy" that drives the functioning of the
There are 5 basic functions that Qi's actions perform.
The 5 basic functions that Qi's actions perform are warming, transforming, propelling, defending and lastly
securing and containing.
Qi warms the body by regulating temperature needs of the body.
Qi transforms by turning food we ingest into nourishment for our body or into waste products.
Qi propells by initiating all of life's growth and development needs of each individual organ within the body.
Needs such as maturation of the sex organs, monthly menarche, and the ever present heartbeat.
Qi defends the body from pathogenic invadors. Recurring illnesses are a sign that this particular function is
weak and in need of reinforcement by way of Chinese medicine.
Qi secures and contains by keeping all of the body's functions as they should be for optimum health. This
function keeps blood flowing and blood vessels working properly. It also keeps organs like the stomach and uterus
The Chinese medical practitioner pays attention to the Qi functions in order to diagnose the patient and as a
guide to getting the body healthy again by restoring balance and harmony when it contains illness.
There are several components to Chinese medicine besides Qi, the practice of Chinese medicine concentrates on
restoring and maintaining balance in the human being in body, mind and in spirit.
The Chinese medical practitioner seeks to heal not only the physical body, but the emotional and spiritual body
Chinese medicine uses a combination of diagnostic techniques, herbal therapy and methods such as acupuncture,
acupressure, and others in combinations that are based on individual need.
There is no one pat treatment for any one illness or condition. Two patients suffering from the same unbalance
(disease) may be prescribed two different treatment combinations as the causes of their symptoms may be different
even though the result is the same illness or condition.
This idea of individualized treatment is a very important component of Chinese medicine and is what makes it
vastly different from western medical practices.
One vital component of Chinese medicine is that of understanding that the underlying cause of a disease or
condition may have both a root and branch to the disease.
The root is what causes the disease or condition and the branch develops from that root and is responsible for
the obvious manifestations of that disease or condition.
A good example of this is cancer. The root cause of cancer is the yang deficiency, which depletes the energy
needed to carry out bodily functions.
The branch manifestation is in the fact that because of the root cause (lack of energy) fluid is allowed to
build up, forming local masses or excess in organ structure (tumors). Tumors of both benign and malignant follow
The components of root and branch can present special concerns as treating one may aggravate the other and will
require a skilled Chinese medical practitioner to address both the root and branch in a manner that will restore
both to health without causing aggravation to either of them.
The skill needed is in both diagnosing and treating with proper herbal remedies.