Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, Chinese massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.
The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage, as well as in cosmological notions like yin-yang and the five phases. Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were standardized in the People’s Republic of China. Attempts to integrate them with modern notions of anatomy and pathology have been made. However, TCM is not based upon the current body of knowledge related to health care in accordance with the scientific community but based on the Chinese philosophy, traditional use and years of observation.
TCM is mainly concerned with the identification of functional entities that regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc. Health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world while disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction. A TCM practitioner traces symptoms to come up with patterns of an underlying disharmony in addition to measuring the pulse, inspecting the tongue, skin, and eyes, and looking at the eating and sleeping habits of the patient among other things.