What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicne (TCM) is a health system with its own perception of the body, health, diagnosis and disease. It is based on ancient texts, common theoretical concepts and principles as well as common practices and treatment modalities. It has evolved over 5000 years of experiment and clinical practice, especially in the last 50 years as it has greatly integrated ideas with modern western medicine. TCM cannot be separated from Chinese culture and philosophy as they have evolved together.

Theoretical Frameworks of TCM

Basic theory of TCM forms the conceptual background from the academic ideas, opinions and practices of the great doctors, scholars and practitioners. The basic theory of TCM was formulated thousands of years ago by observing nature under the guidance of ancient philosophies. The theoretical foundations and guiding principles are fundamental to all aspects of TCM including yin/yang, the 5 elements, the vital substance and the 3 treasures


The Yin-Yang Theory proposes that there are two basic types of force. These are opposing and yet mutually independent Yin and yang are extreme polarities and opposing forces that represent opposite but complementary qualities. Yin and yang explains that everything within the universe is dualistic and can be explained in relationships between the two polarities. Yin and yang can be seen as two phases of a cyclical movement in which 'yin contains the seed of yang so that yin can transform into yang and vice versa. Each is needed to balance the other

The Five Element Theory

The 5 elements are a tool created by the ancient Chinese to understand natural phenomena and categorise events in the universe. The five elements are the fundamental, living faces of energy that are constantly in motion. Each of these elements - wood, fire, earth, metal or water - correspond to one of the five major organ system, seasons of the year, a time of day, a colour, a sound, a smell, an emotion, a food and much more. Everything relates in a complex yet interdependent relationships that underlies the physical level of reality.

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