An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 1

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 1

We have all taken medicine for a headache, insomnia, or a stomachache that only offered temporary relief.  The reason that the relief was temporary is that the root (or underlying cause) of the illness was not treated.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnoses and treats the root of an individual’s ailment through pattern diagnosis.  Today, I will inform you about the methods used by a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the pattern diagnostic utilized, and about how TCM prevents and treats illness.

In TCM, the individual is treated, not the disease. An underlying principle of Chinese medicine is that the body knows how to heal itself. The practitioner works to remove obstructions to health, support deficiencies, clear/drain excesses, etc. A person’s body will resolve the ailment once the practitioner is able to balance the pattern they demonstrate.

The methods used in TCM are Acupuncture, Herbal remedies, Tui-na (an invigorating Chinese style of bodywork, also used as a treatment modality for young children), cupping, Gwa Sha (which is a scraping technique used on the skin to pulls out toxins from the body- the marking that is made on the skin is called the “sha”), and Moxibustion (which is a compressed plant that is burned close to the skin and has a deeply warming effect on the body). All of these approaches utilize pattern diagnosis to treat the meridians (or energy pathways) and the organ systems of the body. Treatments are very safe and effective. A Chinese Medicine Classic, the Spiritual Pivot, states in chapter 17, “It is by virtue of the twelve channels that human life exists, that disease arises, that human beings can be treated and illness is cured.”

…To be continued in Part 2:


Written by:

Yasmin Spencer LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM
427 F Street, Eureka, CA 95501




  • “Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text,”  The Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, translated and editied by John O’Connor and Dan Bensky.
  • Giovanni Maciocia, “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine” pg. 127
  • Spiritual Pivot, Chapter 17, by Wu Nian Jian
  • Five Branches University education  (MTCM)

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