Eastern/Oriental/Complementary/Traditional/Chinese medicine is much different from "Western or allopathic" medicine. You and I are more familiar with "Western" medicine but recently we all have been hearing more about herbs, Tai Chi as a form of exercise for health, acupuncture for pain etc. relief, and the role of foods in the development as well as disappearance or regression of diseases.
Causes of Disease: Illness is believed to result from an imbalance created by the patient doing something that they do not have a strong enough constitution for, such as smoking causes bronchitis or lung cancer in the weak or susceptible or overeating causes diabetes and heart attack. The terms for balance are "Yin" (pronounced "een") and "Yang" (pronounced "yahng"). Yin forces are sweet, earth, female, cold, dark, water, drugs and alcohol, body, and vegetables that grow up like leafy green vegetables. Yang is meat, fire, heavy, light, heaven, hot, male, mind. cheese, beans, and vegetables that grow down like carrots. Some things are of "mixed quality," part yin and part yang.
Treatment: Health follows harmony (Yin/Yang balance), which must be re-established through food, acupuncture, tai chi, qi gong, tuina/anmo, mind control, and herbs/medications.
The Patient: The patient is primarily responsible for their own health and the physician is a guide or educator, the employee of that patient, not the father or employer.
Keys to Health: Health occurs from the active integration and balance of all aspects of that individual including the physical/emotional/spiritual/mental as well as proper exercise, diet, deep breathing, positive attitude and the willingness to accept reality, and drinking of clean liquids. (Control of the 5 Basic Errors) The very origins of disease must be identified, and this is usually an imbalance (excess or inadequacy) of these 5 Basic Errors, the balance of which is to be re-established in their proper order to achieve health.
Traditional Diagnosis: Pulse reading, visual diagnosis, history taking and general examination.
Energy and Harmony: Balance of energy (or Qi) in the body, which is the essential life force permitting health and once defeated, allows disease. Health is re-established through the knowledge of proper interaction between the patient's genetic makeup and behavior including the 5 Basic Errors, and the environment as a whole.
Traditional/Alternative/Complementary/Eastern/Oriental Medicine helps us understand and interact properly with the various relationships of our life including friends, family, work, the climate, and the environment. Understanding this allows us to comprehend how diseases occur and can be treated.
H. Robert Silverstein, MD