Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was developed in China over 4 thousand years ago. Over the last few decades the practice of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine has rapidly gained recognition in the West. Despite the advances in Western medicine, in China and many other Eastern countries TCM continues to be the favoured option for medical treatment.
The foundation of TCM originated with ancient China’s belief that it was taboo to perform surgery on the body. The body was seen as a holy temple and shouldn’t be invaded. Hence, ancient China sought to treat internal illnesses using external methods. This is one of the popular theories of how acupuncture and Chinese herbalism came about.
In ancient China another important philosophy was to prevent disease or illness from occurring. In practice this meant each village was under the care of a doctor. By keeping the villagers healthy, the villagers were able to reciprocate the care given to them by supplying the doctor with food and clothing. The consequence of villagers getting sick was high, no food for the doctor! In maintaining everyone’s health with acupuncture, Chinese herbs and other ancient health practices such as moxibustion and cupping, everyone was able to purposefully and efficiently fulfill their role in their community.
Traditional Chinese medicine has always valued preventive medicine above reactive medicine. A classical Chinese medical text written about 4600 years ago expresses the logic in preventative medicine;
“The sages of antiquity did not treat those who were already sick, but those who were not sick… When a disease has already broken out and is only then treated, would that not be just as late as to wait for thirst before digging a well, or to wait to go into battle before casting weapons?” (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon)