is a dynamic state of harmony and balance. In the fast-paced,
high-stress environment of North America in the twenty-first century,
there are many factors that cause disharmony and imbalance. Imbalance is
any mind/body disharmony that eventually leads to disease. Traditional
Chinese Medicine (TCM), has been in constant use for over four thousand
years by two-thirds of the world's population. The main concepts of TCM
are that your mind and body are an integral and holistic system and that
disease is the natural bi-product of imbalance within that system.
The factors that cause imbalances and disease can be internal or
external in origin. The internal factors usually involve inappropriate
diet and an inability to manage stress. These factors result in a
weakened immune response and disease inevitably occurs. The external
origins of disease are the various viruses, bacteria and other pathogens
that prey on a weakened immune system. The most significant external
cause of disease in North America is the polluted and stressful urban
environment that most of us inhabit.
Another concept that is key to TCM is the meridian system. The
bio-energy of your body, called Qi (chee), flows through a system of
pathways called the meridian system. This systematic flow of energy in
your body is much like the flow of blood through the vascular system.
The main meridians, of which there are twelve, flow from the chest to
the hands, from the hands to the head, from the head to the feet and
from the feet to the chest. Then the cycle starts again, along slightly
different trajectories, from the chest to the hands, etcetera.
The main meridians have branches called collaterals that serve to carry
energy from the main pathways on the trunk, limbs and head to other
areas of your body. Like the vascular system, the collaterals continue
to branch into ever smaller segments so that eventually every cell of
your body is nourished with the bio-energy of Qi.
As long as the meridians are full of Qi energy and their flow is
unobstructed, you will remain in good health. If the meridians become
deficient of Qi or the flow is blocked, imbalance and disease soon
follow. We will explore how TCM helps keep your body balanced and how
you can take a more active part in keeping yourself in a state of
The healing modalities of Traditional Chinese Medicine are many, but the
most well known fall into these categories:
Herbal Medicine and