Introduction to TCM

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) assumes that the life energy Qi flows incessantly and changes constantly. Qi animates all living beings and creates life. All Qi manifestations have a share of Yin and Yang.

The energetic exchange between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, is also evident in the seasons and in the alternation of day and night. This directly affects the energy that flows within each of us. Qi expands and is active during the day, while at night it retreats inside to regenerate. “The only constant is change”.

Another concept of Chinese Medicine is the teaching of the five phases of change.  We humans are part of nature, our organs and physical, as well emotional and mental functions reflect the order of nature. Each element brings forth, nourishes and leads to the the next element (Creation Cycle – Sheng).  In addition, there also other pathways of how the elements influence each other:

  1. Controlling cycle (Ko)
  2. Insulting cycle (Wu)
  3. Overacting cycle (Cheng)

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) looks back on a tradition of over 2000 years. The philosophy on which it is based is a complex, multi-layered concept.

Humans are embedded in nature between heaven and earth and form a universal unit with it. In Chinese Medicine, the human being is seen as an organic whole, a part can only be understood in relation to the whole. We looksat the dynamics of life, everything is in constant change. This change is unintentional. Every state, when it is reached, already contains its opposite. A reached maximum state is unstable and must collapse.

Yin and Yang are two forces in the universe that are effective everywhere. Their interplay is the basis for the continuous process of every natural change, every movement in the universe and the basis of man himself. Yin and Yang are relative quantities, they determine each other, are dependent on one another, together they form a whole, they are constantly in motion and in constant change.

In the Su wen (chap. 2) it says:

“Yin and Yang are the law of heaven and earth, the basis of everything, the parents of change, the origin of creation and destruction.”

We are healthy and our self-healing powers are active when Yin (vital fluids and substance) and Yang (vital force and energy) are in a balanced relationship to one another.

Yin signifies:

  • the ability to relax, restful sleep and good nerves, serenity, patience and calm. Sufficient substance and vitality are necessary for this.
  • the night, autumn and winter, passivity and standstill, the front, the lower and inner area of ​​the body, the inhalation, cold, wet and damp, direction downwards.
  • compressed matter, substances, that sink to the bottom.
  • darkness, cold, contraction

Yin is assigned to the storage organs, these are the lungs, heart, pericardium (also called master of the heart), spleen, liver and kidney.

Yang signifies:

  • dynamics, movement, resistance, joie de vivre, willpower
  • all active processes in our organism
  • sufficient energy (Qi), life force and warmth are necessary for this
  • the day, the spring and summer, activity and movement, the back, the upper and outer areas of the body, the exhalation, warm and dry, direction upwards.
  • dynamic energy
  • light, brightness, warmth, expansion

Yang organs transport fluids and blood, i.e. the large intestine, small intestine, triple heater (regulates temperature and energy movement), stomach, gall bladder and bladder.

Qi is the breath of life, like a stream, an invisible force that keeps all physical, emotional and spiritual processes going and lets us be alive. It pulsates, transforms, nourishes and is the engine of an ongoing cyclical change, filled with the energies of heaven (Yang) and earth (Yin).

Qi drives the blood, the nervous and lymphatic systems (Ying-Qi), it strengthens the immune system (Wei-Qi). It turns food into body substances, keeps organs in place, prevents excessive perspiration, keeps the body warm, and is the source of movement and growth.

Qi is everywhere in the body, its flow runs along certain channels, the so-called meridians. There are 12 main meridians corresponding to the main organs and 8 extraordinary meridians.