a comprehensive approach to medicine (TCM)

A global approach

Although its main treatment methods are aimed at the physical body (massage, acupuncture, dietetics, pharmacopoeia) and the reasons for consultation are most often physical ailments and somatizations (musculoskeletal pain, withdrawal, fatigue, depression, respiratory, digestive, uro-genital disorders, etc.), Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not envisage separation between the physical, emotional and spiritual planes. Nor can it conceive of the functioning of the individual outside of his social, geographical and even cosmological context… We are a long way from a vision that compares the body to a sophisticated machine made up of distinct, interchangeable and repairable parts. TCM has always favored a global approach, it bases its diagnosis and its treatment plan on a conception of life where every component is considered in a network of relationships and interdependencies.

Man and his environment

For example, Heaven and Earth, considered the two major forces of macrocosm, provide the human microcosm both its original spirit and its material framework (the body) which, indivisible, allow it to exist. The organism, throughout its life, receives from the Sky-Earth couple the Air and Food necessary for its survival. Other aspects of the environment are also decisive for human beings, and are considered as integral elements of their physiology; one can think of the climate, the day-night light cycle or the seasonal variations in temperature and humidity which influence the life cycles of micro-organisms, plants and animals. All this has a major impact on the food chains and ecosystems on which we depend, as well as on the development of pathogenic factors such as viruses and bacteria, which TCM equates in its language with Perverse energies.

A circular vision

TCM explains that health and balance come from the relationship between three important aspects of our being:

Thus, the circle is closed in a spiral which maintains our health and develops our know-how, or on the contrary which leads us towards illness and physical and psychological suffering; and this whole – organic and inextricable – depends on our daily choices, constantly repeated.

A step-by-step healing

TCM intervenes in small doses, case by case, step by step… through breathing exercises and the thousand times repeated and corrected gestures of Qi Gong, through daily meditation, regular diet, firm and repetitive massage movements. Tui Na, acupuncture treatments that awaken the memory of a lost state of balance or that gradually draw the map of a new order, and decoctions or herbal teas, drunk and rebued with the same grimaces, but the same patient determination. All these efforts are used gradually to correct the general state, to stimulate the immune functions and to drive out the pathogenic factors, like a slow fight which is sometimes won in a dazzling (and easy) way, but more often centimeter by centimeter with courage and perseverance!

The curative approach of TCM is certainly not the easy way out – it does not suggest taking two pills and waiting! His holistic vision, however, allows the patient to be an active element in the heart of the healing process. It offers the opportunity to take responsibility for one’s own health, by considering the multiple dimensions of one’s being both to assess one’s problem and to choose among the countless possible avenues of healing.

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Xiang Qin
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