|Cold/Heat: This principle is used to determine the overall energy of the patient. A cold condition would be one marked by a slow metabolism, chills, pale skin, and a low-grade fever, while a hot condition would be characterized by a heightened metabolism, sensations of heat in the body, high fevers, and a flushed complexion.|
|Interior/Exterior: This principle describes symptoms in terms of the location of the patients problem. Exterior conditions are those caused by the invasion of the body by pathogens, and are usually acute and superficially located with a short duration. Exterior symptoms are those that affect the hair, skin, muscles, joints, peripheral nerves and blood vessels. Interior conditions result from pathogens that enter the interior of the body. Interior symptoms affect the organs, deep vessels and nerves, brain, spinal cord, and bones.|
|Deficiency/Excess: This principle describes the strength of an illness. In TCM, a deficient condition would be viewed as a lack of blood (such as in anemia), energy (Qi), heat, or fluids. Chronic illness would fall in this category. An excess condition, by contrast, means that the body has too much of something, such as Qi or blood. In TCM, an acute condition would be seen as an excess condition.|
|Yin/Yang: These principles are the generalization of the above principles, and a condition can be categorized in terms of the relative dominance of either yin and yang. In Chinese medicine, all organisms have both yin and yang qualities and a balance of the two is necessary for good health. In general, yin energy is associated with cold, female energy, and represents the solid organs. Yang is associated with hot, male energy, and represents the hollow organs. Chronic illness is seen as yin, while acute illness is seen as yang.|
According to TCM, the combination of these principles determine the nature or quality of the three consituents of the body, which are energy (Qi), moisture, and blood. As described above, Qi is vital life energy. Moisture is the liquid medium which protects, nurtures, and lubricates tissue, and blood is the material foundation out of which we create bones, nerves, skin, muscles, and organs.
TCM practitioners diagnose health problems using various combinations of the eight guiding principles. For example, a patient might be diagnosed as having an "internal cold" or "external heat" condition. Used in conjunction with the five element theory, the eight guiding principles give the TCM practitioner a more complete picture of a patients energy imbalances and determine the treatment to be pursued through acupuncture, herbs, diet, and exercise.
The diagnosis of a patients condition in TCM consists of three activities: an extensive interview, pulse diagnosis, and a tongue examination.
|Interview: The first step in diagnosing a patients condition is an extensive interview by the TCM practitioner. In addition to seeking information about the patients complaints, the practitioner will ask detailed questions about such issues as quality of sleep, dreams, appetite, preferred foods, and stress. The practitioner is also trained to use the senses of observation, listening, and smelling. Although smell is often camouflaged in the West by perfumes, deodorants, and breath mints, the Chinese believe it provides further knowledge about a person's health. In the Five Element Theory, each element has a corresponding smell associated with it.|
|Pulse Diagnosis: Whereas Western doctors locate one pulse on the radial artery in the wrist, a practitioner of TCM feels for six pulses in each wrist: three superficial and three deep at specific points along the radial artery. The twelve pulses correspond to the internal organs. For example, a deep pulse reading on the left wrist corresponds, top to bottom, to the heart, liver and kidney. Practitioners note the quality of the pulse in terms of frequency, rhythm, and volume and the Chinese have developed an elaborate vocabulary to describe a pulse, such as floating, thready, and slippery. Pulse taking requires years of training to master and is considered one of the most important diagnostic tools in Chinese medicine.|
|Tongue Examination: In addition to the pulse, the Chinese believe that the tongue is a strong barometer of human health. They developed an elaborate system to describe the condition of the tongue, including the color, texture, shape, size, and coating. A very red tongue indicates a fever or inflammation and is described in TCM as an excessive internal heat or dampness condition. A white tongue indicates some kind of deficiency of energy (Qi), blood, or moisture. In this system, each part of the tongue corresponds to the condition of an organ. The tip of the tongue, for example, represents the heart and lung organs.|
In China, herbal remedies are used as much as acupuncture to treat energy imbalances and illness. When considering the appropriate herbal remedy for a patient, practitioners of TCM apply medical theory - the Five Elements and Eight Guiding Principles - along with tongue and pulse diagnosis.
Herbs used in Chinese medicine are derived from plant, animal, and mineral substances. Although plant-derived herbs, such as ginseng and ginger, are the most common, minerals and animal parts such as oyster shells, deer antlers, and bear gall bladder are also prescribed. In China, herbs in powder form are boiled and made into a tea. In the West, TCM practitioners often premix the herbal remedy or supply the herb in pill form, especially for those patients who find the bitter taste intolerable.
Herbs have four basic qualities and properties: nature, taste, affinity, and primary action.
|Nature: An herb's nature is often described as cooling or heating, but it can also be described as moistening, relaxing, and energizing. The peppermint herb, for example, has a cooling energy, and is used to lower the metabolism or reduce gas and bloating.|
|Taste: Herbs are categorized by five tastes -- sour, bitter, sweet or bland, spicy, and salty, and herbs representing different tastes are used to treat different conditions. Dandelion and goldenseal are two bitter herbs used for their drying properties in treating upper respiratory conditions.|
|Affinity: This property refers to the affinity that an herb has for a particular organ network.|
|Primary action: This property refers to the effect of a particular herb. An herb may be used to dispel (move), astringe (restrain), purge (expel), or tonify (strengthen).|
All hospitals in China that are devoted to Traditional Chinese Medicine include a massage clinic along with acupuncture and herbal medicine. Chinese massage was developed over 2,000 years ago and was popular in the Tang, Ming, and Qing dynasties. The Chinese call this therapeutic bodywork tui na, which literally means "push" and "pull".
Tui na works with the energy system in the body (Qi), which flows through channels called meridians. By stimulating or subduing the energy in the body, practitioners help bring the patients body back into balance. To determine what meridians need work, tui na practitioners feel the patients wrist pulse. Because it is based on the same meridian points as acupuncture, tui na is often called "acupuncture without needles."
Two popular styles of tui na practiced today are the rolling and one-finger methods.
|Rolling Method: This style was developed in Shanghai and is used for joint and soft tissue problems, as well as insomnia, migraines, and high blood pressure.|
|One-Finger Method: This style is similar to shiatsu, practitioners push points along the meridians with the tip of the thumb or finger. This method is often used for chronic and internal problems, pediatrics and gynecological problems.|
The Chinese believe that tui na regulates the nervous system so that Qi flows properly, boosts the immunological Qi of the body, and flushes metabolic waste out of the body. It is a popular part of the practice of TCM in China because it is both comfortable and effective.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, diet and exercise play an important role in maintaining good health by contributing to an optimum balance of vital life energy (Qi). In fact, the Chinese believe that diet is one of the three origins (diet, heredity, and environment) or sources of qi. Therefore, according to TCM, the foods we eat directly influence the excesses and deficiencies in our bodies.
Unlike the American diet, which emphasizes a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, the Chinese approach to diet is grounded in the five element and eight guiding principles theory. Foods are seen as having yin and yang, warming and cooling, drying and moistening properties. Certain foods are better for some people than others, depending on their type and condition. A person with a "cold damp" condition should not eat a diet of raw fruits and vegetables (which are yin), because they would further exaggerate the loss of body heat and fluid secretion.
Conversely, foods that are fried, broiled, high fat, or spicy are seen as warming (yang) because they generate heat and stimulate circulation. A person whose diagnosis is "hot dry" should avoid these foods, according to TCM.
In general, the Chinese approach to diet is to optimize digestion and increase qi, moisture, and blood, and aid the organ function. In this sense, it can be seen as an extension of herbal medicine.
In addition to diet, TCM includes a form of exercise called Qi gong, which is believed to optimize the flow of Qi in the body. Qi gong incorporates posture, movement, breathing, meditation, visualization and conscious intent in order to cleanse or purify the qi.
There are two types of Qi gong practiced: internal and external.
|Internal Qi gong: Used by individuals to maintain health by regulating Qi and harmonizing the internal energy of the body. Internal Qi gong uses certain movements and breath work or visualization to gather and circulate Qi in the body.|
|External Qi gong: The practice of transferring the practitioners Qi to another person for healing purposes. This form of Qi gong is similar to other body work modalities in the West, such as therapeutic touch.|
The movement postures of internal Qi gong have become the most common form of practice today and have been used as the basis for Tai Chi and other martial arts practices.
NOTE: The following resource listings are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to be used as a guide for treatment. They are provided for information only. The resources are selected and categorized to help you with your own research.
The Web That Has No Weaver
Contemporary Books, 2000
Comprehensive guide to the theory and practice of Chinese medicine. Includes theories, techniques, and reviews of scientific developments in the study of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and more, with a discussion of the possible adverse effects of these therapies. Kaptchuk also examines how Chinese healing can be brought together with western medicine.
The Foundations of Chinese Medicine: A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists
Churchill Livingstone, 1989
Complete text that is especially helpful for students of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
|Nigel Wiseman and Andrew Ellis
The Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine
Paradigm Publications, 1995 (rev.)
For those who are interested in a more direct translation from the Chinese, this textbook translates the classic medical textbook, Zhong Yi Ji Chu Xue.
|Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac., O.M.D.
Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine
Ballantine Books, 1992
Written by two long-time practitioners, this book is one of the most readable and thorough books available on TCM. Within this comprehensive guide is an excellent overview of the five element theory, which the authors call "five-phase archetypes." The section includes case histories and a questionnaire to help readers figure out their type.
|Achim Eckert, M.D.
Chinese Medicine for Beginners: Using the Power of the Five Elements to Heal Body and Soul
Prima Publishing, 1996
Written by a western medical doctor who has studied both conventional and alternative practices, this book explains the benefits of Eastern medicine and its mind/body/spirit approach.
|David Eisenberg, M.D.
Encounters with Qi: Exploring Chinese Medicine
W.W. Norton & Company, 1995
Another book written by a western-trained physician, Eisenberg recounts his experiences of learning from numerous Chinese practitioners and lay people about qi, Chinese TCM clinics, acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet and massage.
|Nigel Wiseman, Andrew Ellis, Ken Boss, and Robert Felt
Grasping the Wind
Paradigm Publications, 1989
This book gives insight into the complexities of Chinese medicine, discussing difficult concepts such as the energetic point system, the spiritual, mental and emotional aspects of Chinese medicine, and the source, theory, and classical energetic anatomy and physiology..
|George Soulie De Morant and Lawrence Grinnel
Paradigm Publications, 1994
An outstanding description of both the theory and practice of acupuncture. This book is widely recognized as one of the best, most detailed, and most practical of clinical texts.
|Peking Staff Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine
An Outline of Chinese Acupuncture
LAU's Company, 1989
An excellent book on acupuncture, produced by the Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
|Nigel Wiseman, Ken Boss, and Andrew Ellis
Fundamentals of Chinese Acupuncture
Paradigm Publications, 1991
This text presents a thorough view of classical acupuncture alongside the modern approach. The authors have applied a precise method of translation, providing consistent information, in a systematic arrangement.
|Dianne M. Connelly, Ph.D.
Traditional Acupuncture: The Law of the Five Elements
Traditional Acupuncture Institute, 1994
Connelly provides one of the most readable and in-depth discussions of Five Element Theory. In addition to a thorough description of the five elements, Connelly explains how they are applied in a section on examination and diagnosis. She describes several case studies and vignettes, one with a detailed example of a patient interview.
|Kikko Matsumoto and Stephen Birch
Five Elements and Ten Stems: Nan Ching Theory, Diagnostics and Practice
Paradigm Publications, 1983
This clearly written book, based on the classic Chinese texts, explains the five element (or five-phase) theory and applies it to diagnosis and treatment.
The Secret of Chinese Pulse Diagnosis
Blue Poppy Press, 1997
Flaws, a highly regarded Western practitioner of TCM, explains how to do Chinese pulse diagnosis, which is one of the four main methods of diagnosis in TCM.
Tongue Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine
Eastland Press, 1995
This book provides a good history of the Chinese system of tongue diagnosis, with a clear explanation of how the Chinese diagnose conditions. The book includes excellent photos to illustrate what is meant by the variety of tongue conditions, such as pale, red, or swollen.
|Li Shi Zhen
Paradigm Publications, 1985
Translated from the ancient classic Chinese text, Bin Hu Ma Xue, this text develops each of the basic pulses and their combinations, explaining the essentials of pulse diagnosis: depth, position, relation to areas of the body, seasonal variation, and organ relationships. The four principal pulses are detailed and explained and the variations of each are described.
|Hong-Yen Hsu and Associates
Oriental Materia Medica: A Concise Guide
Keats Publishing Inc., 1986
A comprehensive and more scientifically-oriented reference on Chinese herbal medicine.
|David Molony and Ming Ming Pan Molony, O.M.D.
The American Association of Oriental Medicines Complete Guide to Chinese Herbal Medicine
Berkeley Books, 1998
A thorough guide for the layperson, this book covers the basics and theories of herbal medicine, how they are used in treatment, and specific formulas and suppliers. Includes an alphabetized list of illnesses that can be treated with Chinese herbs, a glossary of common terms, a list of reputable suppliers, and more .
|Dan Bensky and Randall Barolet
Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies
Eastland Press, 1990
This book serves as a well-written and readable reference guide to traditional Chinese herbal formulas that have been translated and compiled by the authors. Contains a good explanation of the functions of herbs and common conditions they treat.
|Warner J.W. Fan, M.D. and Kendra Crossen
A Manual of Chinese Herbal Medicine: Principles and Practice for Easy Reference
Shambhala Publications, 1996
A good reference covering both the diagnosis of conditions and therapy with Chinese herbs. Dr. Fan covers important basic concepts as well as causes of disease, classification of symptoms, methods of diagnosis, preventive measures, 342 formulas for common compound drugs, and more.
Chinese Herbal Patent Formulas
Shya Publications, 1985
A concise guide to both pill and extract remedies, this book includes a section on the recommended dosages for various herbs. A good book for students.
|Daniel P. Reid
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Shambhala Publications, 1992
Reids book serves as a brief, but good guide to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions using Chinese herbs.
|Ron Teeguarden, Xu Guo-Jun, Zhou Zhen-He
Radiant Health: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs
Warner Books, 1998
Teeguarden uses his more than 20 years of experience to explain the theory and art of herbal medicine, including an explanation of the five elements, yin-yang properties, and the mind/body connection. The book is easy to read and includes a rating system for herbs according to their various properties (antioxidant, organ support, etc.)
The Handbook of Chinese Massage: Tui Na Techniques to Awaken Body and Mind
Healing Arts Press, 1997
Mercati provides a good introduction for health practitioners to the Chinese form of massage called tui na, with clear illustrations and photos. Mercati relates the practice of tui na to the five elements.
Chinese Massage Manual: The Healing Art of Tui Na
Sterling Publications, 1999
Pritchards book provides a more theoretical orientation to the history and practice of tui na.
|Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming and Alan Dougall
Chinese Qigong Massage: General Massage
Ymaa Publications, 1992
An introduction to an ancient Chinese healing technique provides an overview of qigong theory and the history of its use in Chinese medicine before demonstrating techniques of self-massage and massage with a partner. Includes 500 photos and color drawings.
|Henry C. Lu
The Chinese System of Food Cures
Sterling Publications, 1986
Uses the theories and fundamentals of Chinese medicine to explain why certain foods are good or bad for you.
The Tao of Healthy Eating
Blue Poppy Press, 1998
A good overview to the Chinese dietary beliefs, this book covers such topics as digestion, food choices, raw vs. cooked foods, and allergies.
Qi Gong: Essence of the Healing Dance
Health Communications, 1999
Many books have been written on the practice of Qi gong, but Garripolis book discusses its origins and foundations in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The book also includes Qi gong exercises.
The Healing Art of Qi Gong: Ancient Wisdom from a Modern Master
Warner Books, 1999
Liu provides an inspirational account of his journey in becoming a Qi gong master.
See our resource guide on Acupuncture.
American Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and
Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine
This site lists two research journals and one newsletter on clinical practice in which abstracts have been translated from the Chinese.
Chinese Medical Sciences Journal
The journal publishes original research papers, review papers and short communications on almost every branch of basic and clinical medicine, pharmacology and traditional Chinese medicine.
Clinical Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
The first international peer-reviewed quarterly journal to provide clinical information on the clinical practice, research, research reviews, educational issues, and management of clinical problems of acupuncture and oriental medicine.
Journal of Chinese Medicine
This quarterly English language journal provides professional and student-level information on the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine, including treatment of diseases, Chinese medical theory and practice, case reports and analysis, and book reviews.
Qi: The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness
A quarterly publication distributed internationally, specializing in Eastern healthcare practices. This website has a complete and categorized listing of research links-click on "Research & Links."
The following alternative and complementary medicine journals contain occasional relevant articles:
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine
A bimonthly clinical research journal with particular emphasis on mind/body approaches to wellness.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
This peer-reviewed journal includes clinical trials, observational and analytical reports on treatments outside the realm of allopathic medicine.
American Association of Oriental Medicine (AAOM)
433 Front Street
Catasauqua, PA 18032
Toll-Free: (888) 500-7999
Phone: (610) 266-1433
Fax: (610) 264-2768
The AAOM was formed to be the unifying force for practitioners of Oriental medicine in the U.S., and pledges to honor and support the integrity of Oriental medicine by advocating excellence in professional standards. Click on "Referral List" to see a state-by-state list of practitioners.
American Oriental Bodywork Therapy Association (AOBTA)
1010 Haddonfield-Berlin Rd, Suite 408
Voorhees, NJ 08043
Phone: (856) 782-1616
Fax: (856) 782-1653
The AOBTA is a national non-profit professional association of practitioners of Bodywork Therapies of Asia, including Five Element Shiatsu and Tuina.
Community Acupuncture Network
P.O. Box 18157
Portland, OR 97218
CAN's mission is to make acupuncture more affordable and accessible by promoting acupuncture clinics around the country that provide low-cost acupuncture services. The organization has hundreds of acupuncturist members, and dozens of clinics are listed on its website.
National Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NAAOM)
44 Linden Street
Brookline, MA 02146
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
The NAAOM aims to provide a common forum for discussion and development of research, education, and scientific excellence in acupuncture and oriental medicine.
National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)
11 Canal Center Plaza, Suite 300
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 548-9004
Fax: (703) 548-9079
This organization is responsible for managing a national certification examination, a requirement for licensure in the majority of states. The site provide information on the examination and a searchable data base of practitioners.
Academy of Oriental Medicine at Austin (AOMA)
2700 W. Anderson Lane, Suite 204
Austin, TX 78757
Phone: (512) 454-1188
Fax: (512) 454-7001
The goal of the academy is for the students to understand the philosophies of Western and Oriental medicine as they develop their intuitive healing skills. AOMA strives to graduate dedicated and integrated healers, who will balance their strong didactic education and extensive clinical training with compassion and sensitivity toward their patients.
Offers degree: Master of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (ACAOM)
9100 Park West Drive
Houston, TX 77063
Phone: (713) 780-9777
Toll-free: (800) 729-4456
Fax: (713) 781-5781
Offers an M.S. in Oriental medicine.
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM)
455 Arkansas Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 282-7600
Fax: (415) 282-0856
The ACTCM is a private independent graduate school preparing candidates to enter the practice of traditional Chinese medicine, instilling in graduates the theoretical structures and analytical abilities necessary for continued professional learning through their practice, and providing graduates with an understanding of bioethics and professional responsibilities.
New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
155 First Street
Mineola, NY 11501
Phone: (845) 258-1732
Offers ACAOM accredited combined Bachelor/Masters degree programs in acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
Pacific College is the largest school of Oriental medicine in the nation, offering a four-year Master's degree program. This school is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, and its graduates are eligible for state licensure and national certification.
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
3725 North Southport
Chicago, IL 60613
Toll-Free: (888) 729-4811
Phone: (773) 477-4822
New York Campus:
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
915 Broadway, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10010
Toll-Free: (800) 729-3468
Phone: (212) 982-3456
San Diego Campus:
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine
7445 Mission Valley Rd., Suite 105
San Diego, CA 92108
Toll-Free: (800) 729-0941
Phone: (619) 574-6909
Fax: (619) 574-6641
Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NIAOM)
701 North 34th Street, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98103-8800
Phone: (206) 633-2419
Toll-free: (877) 207-5875
Fax: (206) 633-5578
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, admissions: email@example.com
Offers an M.S. in acupuncture and in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Schools and Institutes of Chinese Medicine
A state-by-state listing of 67 schools and institutes in the U.S. and Canada, all of which have 4 to 18 years of experience.
The Wellspring Center for Eastern Healing Arts and Education
1514 W. Franklin St.
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: (208) 388-0206
The goals of the Wellspring are to inspire enthusiasm for wellness of body, mind and spirit, to provide education in the theory and practice of wholistic health and Classical Chinese Medicine, and to be a cohesive healthcare community of practice focused on East Asian medical principles. Some of the services offered include TCM, acupuncture, and Chinese Herbal Therapy.
See our Acupuncture Resource Guide for many more colleges and training centers in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
NOTE: Promotional and commercial sites are not included in this listing unless they provide significant impartial information resources.
Chinese Medicine Sampler
Learn about Chinese medicine principles, such as tongue/pulse diagnosis, the five elements, herbal medicine, and more. Click on "Diagnostic Questionnaire" to obtain a mock diagnosis by a USA national board certified M.S. in Oriental medicine for a fee.
Formerlly known as acupuncture.com, this site has many useful links to all aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Click on "Professional and Student Resources" for links to resources on continuing education, professional organizations, schools of chinese medicine, and more.
HealthWorld Online: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Comprehensive information on TCM, including the basic principles of yin and yang, anatomy, Qi, methods of diagnosis, the five elements, and the pathogenesis of disease.
History of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Provides several links to information on TCM.
Oriental Medicine Internet Resources
Complete and categorized listing of web resources on TCM.