An allegory is a symbolism device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract, concept is conveyed with the aid of a more corporeal object or idea being used as an example.
This theory underscores the Chinese belief that human beings, both physically and mentally, are intertwined with nature.
Although it is difficult for Westerners to relate this philosophy to the Western approach to medicine, it is fundamental to the understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In the five element theory, each of the five elements has a season and particular organs and senses associated with it, such as taste, color, sound.
The wood element, for example, is associated with spring, the liver, and the gall bladder. Similarly, the fire element is associated with early summer, the heart, and small intestines; the earth element corresponds to late summer, the stomach and spleen; metal is associated with autumn, the lungs and large intestine; and water is associated with winter, the kidneys and bladder.
Although a person may be oriented towards a particular element -- a person who is aggressive might be described as having a "wood" personality -- the Chinese believe that aspects of each of the five elements are present in every person at different times.
The eight guiding principles actually consist of four polar opposites: This principle is used to determine the overall energy of the patient. A cold condition would be one marked by a slow metabolism, chills, pale skin, and a low-grade fever, while a hot condition would be characterized by a heightened metabolism, sensations of heat in the body, high fevers, and a flushed complexion.
Exterior conditions are those caused by the invasion of the body by pathogens, and are usually acute and superficially located with a short duration. Exterior symptoms are those that affect the hair, skin, muscles, joints, peripheral nerves and blood vessels.
Interior conditions result from pathogens that enter the interior of the body. Interior symptoms affect the organs, deep vessels and nerves, brain, spinal cord, and bones. This principle describes the strength of an illness.
In TCM, a deficient condition would be viewed as a lack of blood such as in anemiaenergy Qiheat, or fluids. Chronic illness would fall in this category. An excess condition, by contrast, means that the body has too much of something, such as Qi or blood. In TCM, an acute condition would be seen as an excess condition.
These principles are the generalization of the above principles, and a condition can be categorized in terms of the relative dominance of either yin and yang. In Chinese medicine, all organisms have both yin and yang qualities and a balance of the two is necessary for good health.
In general, yin energy is associated with cold, female energy, and represents the solid organs. Yang is associated with hot, male energy, and represents the hollow organs. Chronic illness is seen as yin, while acute illness is seen as yang. According to TCM, the combination of these principles determine the nature or quality of the three consituents of the body, which are energy Qimoisture, and blood.
As described above, Qi is vital life energy. Moisture is the liquid medium which protects, nurtures, and lubricates tissue, and blood is the material foundation out of which we create bones, nerves, skin, muscles, and organs.BASIC PRINCIPLES.
Acupuncture is the practice that most often comes to mind when thinking of Chinese medicine, but TCM represents a much broader system of medicine that includes herbs, massage, diet and exercise therapy.
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