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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)dates back nearly five thousand years and is often defined as an ancient healing system that sees the relationship between body and mind as a whole, integrated process. In TCM, different aspects of life including our mental and emotional state, our diet and lifestyle, and our environment are considered equally important for a person’s well being.
When all these elements are balanced, we experience steady health and wellness, both physical and emotional.
According to TCM, all our organs and vital body functions interact in a single continuum, each one influencing, restraining and controlling each other.
This means that harmony (which here means the healthy absence of pain and disease) within the whole body depends on the good functioning and interactions between all the vital systems and organs.
If even one element is not fully functioning as it should, our entire organism will suffer for it.
The difference between the TCMholistic approach and that of western medicine is evident: while modern Western medicine views body and mind as separate entities (therefore treating particular diseases with specific drugs, and searching to eliminate offending micro-organisms from our bodies), Chinese medicine uses natural approaches to rebalance our whole being, never separating out the mind and/or body from the environment.
Where western medicine frequently neglects and even denies the reciprocal interactions of body and mind, TCM aims to restore the balance between the physical and the metaphysical.
We all familiar with the specialized fields into which western medicine has divided itself in recent decades. It is common now to have different doctors, cures, prescriptions and therapies for every last individual body part and system.
For every health issue we experience, we are advised to consult a different specialist and are frequently prescribed drugs and medications that when combined create adverse and unhelpful reactions between each other. In historical terms, this approach has evolved from the West’s 17th and 18th Century concept of the body as a machine from which single components could be removed, analysed, repaired and reinstalled to ensure the good functioning of the whole system.
In our Toronto Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic, on the other hand, we start from an alternative philosophy that there is no other way to restore health except by treating the body as a whole entity. This intimate and mutually dependent interaction between all body parts is crucial to understanding why TCM works and why it is so different from western medicine.
TCM also takes a different approach to the treatment of pain. Many modern medicines simply block off the pain and so offer a temporary reprieve from discomfort. However, modern medicines do not always address the root cause of the pain which consequently may remain untreated in the body.
In TCM philosophy, pain is seen as a clear indication of a blockage of energy (in other words, an impediment to the natural flow of our body energy), and treats it directly. In TCM terms, ignoring the pain, or simply numbing it, wouldn’t produce any real benefit. TCM herbalist therapies and holistic treatments aim to heal the whole person, not just the pain, disease or a single aspect of it. TCM’s focus is on prevention rather than letting problems arise and then having to find a cure.
A health assessment in Traditional Chinese Medical can detect subtle imbalances in the body before they develop into diseases, and much earlier than regular Western medical tests can detect any abnormalities.