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The Basic Theories of TCM

Posted by Chuncai Zhou on 19th Apr 2015

More than 2,000 years ago Traditional Chinese Medicine established its unique theoretic system. In this system, man and nature correspond with, influence, and guide each other through a core system of internal organs, meridians, and collaterals that are explained by tools such as Yin and Yang and the five elements. The properties of Yin and Yang are not definite, but are in fact relative. For instance, daytime is Yang and night is Yin. However, in terms of morning and afternoon, morning is Yang within Yang while afternoon is Yin within Yang. All things in the universe can be classified into either the Yin or Yang category and any part within one single object also can be further divided into two aspects, Yin and Yang. This theory is used to explain the tissues and structures of the human body. The upper part is Yang while the lower part is Yin; the external part is Yang while the internal part is Yin; the back is Yang while the abdomen is Yin…

The five elements, namely wood, fire, earth, metal and water, are the materials indispensable to human existence. Wood is characterized by free growth and external development. So anything that bears such a property pertains to the category of Wood. Fire is characterized by flaming up and warmth, and anything that bears such a property pertains to the category of Fire. Earth is characterized by growing crops and supporting all things on the earth, and anything that bears such a property pertains to the category of Earth. Metal is characterized by change and anything that bears such a property pertains to the category of Metal. Water is characterized by flowing downwards and moistening things, and anything that bears such a property pertains to the category of Water.

Note: The above introductions are excerpts from the book titled ‘The Illustrated Book of Traditional Chinese Cultivation of Heath” by Chuncai Zhou, translated by Zhaoguo Li.