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Missing Fundamentals of TCM in Wikipedia

07/20/14

Wikipedia is the internet’s most used encyclopedia. The information there is supposed to be relevant, current, and correct. However, the Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) article in the English version has one of the most important concepts of TCM missing which is well-being and maintenance of well-being.

In the first chapter of the fundamental classic book of Traditional Chinese medicine called Neijing/The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, it says that the holy doctors  taught people how to protect their bodies from injuries and disease, how to maintain well-being, and in different times, seasons, and ages, there are different ways to do so. It also said that the best doctors treat the lack of disease because if doctors treat disease but not the lack of disease, it will be just like trying to fight an invader by starting to make weapons. It is too late to do that if the enemy is already here. Treating the lack of disease focuses on well-being and the maintenance of well-being. Also, if we are sick, the parts that are still healthy will be strong enough and won’t be affected by disease. In the same book, it says that the best doctors treat lack of disease, good doctors treat the beginning of disease, and a general doctor treats disease. If you treat people with serious diseases, the results won’t be good.

The components of well-being and maintenance of well-being include diet, season, climate/environmental factors, clothing, clothing changes, meditation and mental health, and more. It is complicated but taking season as an example, our behavior must change. Going in chronological order, summertime is the season where you should be active and take advantage of the good weather. Go to bed not too late and get up early. Fall is when you should be careful and wary of negative feelings like you should be wary of bad weather and storms coming soon. You’re supposed to go to bed early and get up early to get as much sunshine while you can. Wintertime is the time of “storage” and rest. During this time, you should go to bed early, sleep in a little more and take it easy with your emotions. Spring is a time for growth and activity. One should go to bed early  and wake up early for a fresh start. In the book, it says that not following these rules each lead to negative consequences or illnesses the next time the same season comes around, or when the next season starts, and that it will cause a shorter lifespan.

In daily practice, TCM doctors tell people what to do aside from the disease treatment they are coming for. TCM doctors tell people a combination of changes they should make to maintain well-being which reflect the above rules. The herbal medicine, acupuncture, and lifestyle changes are supposed to be given in combination. The point is to treat the diseased parts of the body and to strengthen the healthy parts to be stronger and unaffected any further by the disease.


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