Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM, includes a range of traditional medical practices originating in China. Although well accepted in the mainstream of medical care throughout East Asia, it is considered an alternative medical system in much of the western world.
The clinical diagnosis and treatment in TCM are mainly based on the yin-yang and five elements theories. These theories apply the phenomena and laws of nature to the study of the physiological activities and pathological changes of the human body and its interrelationships. The typical TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and qigong exercises. With acupuncture, treatment is accomplished by stimulating certain areas of the external body. Herbal medicine acts on zang-fu organs internally, while qigong tries to restore the orderly information flow inside the network through the regulation of Qi. These therapies appear very different in approach yet they all share the same underlying sets of assumptions and insights in the nature of the human body and its place in the universe. Some scientists describe the treatment of diseases through herbal medication, acupuncture, and qigong as an information therapy.
TCM claims to be rooted in meticulous observation of nature, the cosmos, and the human body, and to be thousands of years old. Major theories include those of Yin-yang, the Five Phases, the human body Channel system, Zang Fu organ theory, six confirmations, four layers, etc. Modern TCM was systematized in the 1950s under the People's Republic of China and Mao Zedong.
With a history of 2000 to 3000 years, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has formed a unique system to diagnose and cure illness. The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of Western medicine. In TCM, the understanding of the human body is based on the holistic understanding of the universe as described in Daoism, and the treatment of illness is based primarily on the diagnosis and differentiation of syndromes.