There have been many miraculous cases of people who have healed themselves by clinging to religion or positively thinking themselves out of a life-threatening ailment. Psychologists have been studying the idea of mind over matter for decades now, with little scientific proof as to the mechanics of miracles. 

The proof lies in the end result for these anomalies. In traditional Chinese medicine, philosophy and Buddhist religious principles are the groundwork for medical therapies. Obviously, if you've been in a car accident or are in need of emergency medical attention, it's best to rush to the nearest emergency room; but if you are suffering from a painful long-term ailment or are just looking to improve your general well-being, then Chinese, natural medicines may be for you! 

Many Americans don't realize that traditional Chinese medicines date back nearly 5,000 years, passed down by oral tradition until about 3,000 years ago when people began writing down their findings in ancient texts like Basic Questions of Internal Medicine and A Treatise On Cold Damage. In the 1930s, the Nationalist government forbade doctors from practicing what was then called classic Chinese medicine because they feared missing out on scientific progress. 

However, thirty years later, Mao Zedong chose ten highly respected doctors to create a traditional but standardized practice called Traditional Chinese Medicine. Today TCM is taught in all Chinese schools and has even made its way around the world, opening schools in England, the US and Russia.

One of the basic principles of TMC is the Taoist idea of Yin and Yang. The term is used by the school of Chinese medicine to describe a series of opposites; for example, hot and cold, dark and light or moving and still. 

Just like the changing of the seasons or the fading of day into night, the body goes through constant motion as well. If the cycle of equilibrium is disrupted and there's an excess of something or deficiency of something, then the body naturally breaks down. 

The Zang Fu Theory of traditional Chinese medicine describes the functions and interrelation of various organs within the body. For instance, a Yin organ like the lungs is required to disperse Qi (energy) throughout the body. 

The lungs govern skin, hair and thwarting external illnesses. If the lung is weakened by dryness or emotional grief, then the sufferer may show signs of eczema, coughing or may be prone to the flu. 

In addition to medical procedures like Chinese acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine covers things like herbal remedies. TCM practitioners say the answers are easier than one would think. You don't need Lunesta to help you sleep. 

Instead, a chamomile tea and some light meditation just before bed will help you fall asleep right away and you will wake up feeling rejuvenated. Or instead of Tums for your bellyache, a mint leaf could do the trick. 

By Mike Selvon

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