TCM was mostly practiced in Asia and not commonly known of or studied in the U.S. until around the 1970s. Since Eastern practices, such as yoga, meditation, tai chi and acupuncture, started to gain notoriety in the media during this time period, hundreds of studies have investigated the health effects of such modalities.
Traditional Chinese Medicine draws on the belief that Qi (which roughly translates to “vital energy” and is pronounced “chee”) is essential for overall health.
Qi is said to circulate throughout the body along pathways called meridians, and proper Qi is needed to keep all systems in balance.
Meridians are utilized in many TCM practices, including acupuncture and acupressure, which focus on treating specific meridian points throughout the body that can be located anywhere from the head to the soles of our feet.
Meridians are believed to be connected to specific organ systems, and therefore focusing on certain meridians helps resolve specific symptoms. According to TCM, restoring Qi can be beneficial for preventing diseases from developing and treating existing inflammation, injuries, pain or illnesses.
Another concept that’s vital to Traditional Chinese Medicine is yin and yang, defined as opposing but complementary energies. You might be familiar with the yin-yang symbol (a circle that’s half white and half black with smaller circles inside), which is used to represent the concept of all of earth’s opposing forces, including hot and cold, winter and summer, energy and rest. It is believed that, like Qi, yin and yang negatively affect your health when they’re out of balance and one is more dominant than the other, so a primary goal of TCM treatment is to restore their equalizing relationship.