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Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM; simplified Chinese: 中医; traditional Chinese: 中醫; pinyin: Zhōngyī) is a style of traditional medicine informed by modern medicine but built on a foundation of more than 2,500 years of Chinese medical practice that includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy. It is primarily used as a complementary alternative medicine approach. TCM is widely used in China and is becoming increasingly prevalent in Europe and North America.
One of the basic tenets of TCM "holds that the body's vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through channels, called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions." Concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to European humoral theory. Scientific investigation has not found histological or physiological evidence for traditional Chinese concepts such as qi, meridians, and acupuncture points. The TCM theory and practice are not based upon scientific knowledge, and there is disagreement between TCM practitioners on what diagnosis and treatments should be used for any given patient. The effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine remains poorly researched and documented. There are concerns over a number of potentially toxic plants, animal parts, and mineral Chinese medicinals. There are also concerns over illegal trade and transport of endangered species including rhinoceroses and tigers, and the welfare of specially farmed animals including bears. A review of cost-effectiveness research for TCM found that studies had low levels of evidence, but so far have not shown benefit outcomes. Pharmaceutical research has explored the potential for creating new drugs from traditional remedies, with few successful results. A Nature editorial described TCM as "fraught with pseudoscience", and said that the most obvious reason why it hasn't delivered many cures is that the majority of its treatments have no logical mechanism of action. Proponents propose that research has so far missed key features of the art of TCM, such as unknown interactions between various ingredients and complex interactive biological systems.
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- In the Orient, it is traditional to eat yang before yin. Miso soup (yang — fermented soybean protein) for breakfast; raw fish (more yang protein); and then the vegetables which are yin.
- Yin vacuity (also termed "vacuity-heat"): heat sensations, possible night sweats, insomnia, dry pharynx, dry mouth, dark urine, a red tongue with scant fur, and a "fine" and rapid pulse.
- Yang vacuity ("vacuity-cold"): aversion to cold, cold limbs, bright white complexion, long voidings of clear urine, diarrhea, pale and enlarged tongue, and a slightly weak, slow and fine pulse.
- Fire (火) = Heart (心, pinyin: xīn) and Small Intestine (小腸, pinyin: xiaǒcháng) (and, secondarily, Sānjiaō [三焦, "Triple Burner"] and Pericardium [心包, pinyin: xīnbaò])
- Earth (土) = Spleen (脾, pinyin: pí) and Stomach (胃, pinyin: weì)
- Metal (金) = Lung (肺, pinyin: feì) and Large Intestine (大腸, pinyin: dàcháng)
- Water (水) = Kidney (腎, pinyin: shèn) and Bladder (膀胱, pinyin: pángguāng)
- Wood (木) = Liver (肝, pinyin: gān) and Gallbladder (膽, pinyin: dān)
- "Upflaming Liver fire" (肝火上炎, pinyin: gānhuǒ shàng yán): Headache, red face, reddened eyes, dry mouth, nosebleeds, constipation, dry or hard stools, profuse menstruation, sudden tinnitus or deafness, vomiting of sour or bitter fluids, expectoration of blood, irascibility, impatience; red tongue with dry yellow fur; slippery and string-like pulse.
Yin and yang are universal aspects all things can be classified under, this includes diseases in general as well as the Eight Principles' first three couples. For example, cold is identified to be a yin aspect, while heat is attributed to yang. Since descriptions of patterns in terms of yin and yang lack complexity and clinical practicality, though, patterns are usually not labelled this way anymore. Exceptions are vacuity-cold and repletion-heat patterns, who are sometimes referred to as "yin patterns" and "yang patterns" respectively.
Exterior (表, pinyin: biǎo) refers to a disease manifesting in the superficial layers of the body – skin, hair, flesh, and meridians. It is characterized by aversion to cold and/or wind, headache, muscle ache, mild fever, a "floating" pulse, and a normal tongue appearance.
Interior (里, pinyin: lǐ) refers to disease manifestation in the zàng-fǔ, or (in a wider sense) to any disease that can not be counted as exterior. There are no generalized characteristic symptoms of interior patterns, since they'll be determined by the affected zàng or fǔ entity.
Cold (寒, pinyin: hán) is generally characterized by aversion to cold, absence of thirst, and a white tongue fur. More detailed characterization depends on whether cold is coupled with vacuity or repletion.
Heat (热, pinyin: rè) is characterized by absence of aversion to cold, a red and painful throat, a dry tongue fur and a rapid and floating pulse, if it falls together with an exterior pattern. In all other cases, symptoms depend on whether heat is coupled with vacuity or repletion.
Deficiency (虚, pinyin: xū), can be further differentiated into deficiency of qi, xuě, yin and yang, with all their respective characteristic symptoms. Yin deficiency can also cause "empty-heat".
Excess (实, pinyin: shí) generally refers to any disease that can't be identified as a deficient pattern, and usually indicates the presence of one of the Six Excesses, or a pattern of stagnation (of qi, xuě, etc.). In a concurrent exterior pattern, excess is characterized by the absence of sweating.
- Inspection focuses on the face and particularly on the tongue, including analysis of the tongue size, shape, tension, color and coating, and the absence or presence of teeth marks around the edge.
- Auscultation refers to listening for particular sounds (such as wheezing).
- Olfaction refers to attending to body odor.
- Inquiry focuses on the "seven inquiries", which involve asking the person about the regularity, severity, or other characteristics of: chills, fever, perspiration, appetite, thirst, taste, defecation, urination, pain, sleep, menses, leukorrhea.
- Palpation which includes feeling the body for tender A-shi points, and the palpation of the wrist pulses as well as various other pulses, and palpation of the abdomen.
- Singh, S; Ernst, E (2008). Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial. London: Bantam. ISBN .
Baran GR, Kiana MF, Samuel SP (2014). Chapter 2: Science, Pseudoscience, and Not Science: How Do They Differ?. Healthcare and Biomedical Technology in the 21st Century. Springer. pp. 19–57. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-8541-4_2. ISBN .
- McGrew, Roderick. Encyclopedia of Medical History (1985), brief history pp 56–59
Needham, Joseph (2000). Sivin, Nathan, ed. Medicine. Science and Civilisation in China. Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology. Cambridge University Press. ISBN . OCLC 163502797.
Novella, Steve (25 January 2012). "What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine?". Science-Based Medicine.
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