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I am Dr. Marie-Sabine Thomas, a trained Naturopathic Physician and a fellow at Bastyr University Research Institute.

The purpose of this blog is to educate people so that they can make informed decisions about their health. I answer burning questions about natural medicine and discuss research findings that can better support wellness. I invite you to join the discussion!

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Traditional Chinese Medicine – Not As Crazy As You May Think
Posted on April 25th, 2011 by Webmaster

Ying Yang SymbolTraditional Chinese medicine (TCM) refers to a total body method of healing.  There are two main concepts: the body is a complete organism and the whole organism should be treated, and diagnosis and treatment can only be done after carefully evaluation of all symptoms.

TCM is believed to have started around 4,000 years ago in the area that is now known as China.  While this form of health care is common in Asia, Russia, and parts of Europe, it has a much smaller, but growing, following in the U.S.

In the 1950’s the Chinese government did an analysis of this form of health care and came to the conclusion that it was effective enough to continue it’s use and practice. The effectiveness was so impressive, in fact, that the government encouraged the growth and expansion of this form of health care.  It is common for TCM to be combined with allopathic care (only focusing on the illness and not the total mind, body spirit, directly opposite of holistic care) with great success.

While TCM does have set principles there is a lot of variation with many different schools of thought.  TCM can deliver both general and specialized care.

Here  are the 5 main principles that are adhered to for this form of healing:

  1. There are laws that control the universe and you are a part of the universe, therefore, you too must conform to those laws.
  2. The Universe is naturally organized and in harmony and if you live according the the laws you will be in harmony too.
  3. The Universe is constantly changing so stagnation and lack of change can actually cause health issues.
  4. All life is connected which is why this form of health care stresses including all parts of the whole to prevent and treat illness.
  5. We are part of the Universe and connected to it.  For this reason it’s important to be mindful of what’s in your environment to keep illness away.

While not everyone is jumping on the traditional Chinese medicine bandwagon more people and even medical professionals are beginning to realize that relying solely on potentially dangerous drugs to relieve symptoms, while not really curing the underlying problem, is ineffectual and short sighted.  It seems as though the best idea is a hybrid combination of both schools of thought.

The bottom line is that you should take some time to learn more about alternative forms of health care, many of which have been around for centuries, with that kind of longevity they must have something going for them!

Image: Danilo Rizzuti

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