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A Basic Primer For the Healing Arts From China


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#1 Ya Mu

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 10:27 AM

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Reading several threads it became apparent that many posters are not familiar with the therapeutics/healing arts from China. Rather than reply in those threads and interrupt the topic, I created this thread and hope this helps to increase the knowledge. 

 

source of article: http://qigongamerica.blogspot.com/

 

I would encourage other practitioners to add to this thread if they wish.

 

A Basic Primer on Chinese Medical Therapeutics
...
"It appears there are many who have never been exposed to the Chinese Healing Arts. This article was written to give these folks a basic overview of forms of therapeutics utilized in the Chinese Healing Arts. I am attempting to keep this simple with basic instead of complex wording.
 
Although there are many approaches to therapeutics inside both Traditional & Classic Chinese Medicine, I think it safe to say the concept of Qi is an underlying aspect of most of these forms. In this topic, we can define Qi as the life flow of energetics.
 
A bit of history:
What is now called Traditional Chinese Medicine differs greatly from what many call Classical Chinese Medicine. Unfortunately, the communists, in efforts to "standardize", have "dumbed down" what is now taught in the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) schools, dictating a specific wording and methodology. Beyond this, we have the CCM (Classical Chinese Medicine) which include many almost-lost forms and advanced concepts. For example, the current style of acupuncture taught in TCM differs greatly from advanced needling concepts taught in CCM, Another example is advanced therapeutics forms like "Chinese Taoist Medicine" which would fall under CCM and be virtually unknown in TCM.
 
Although this article is not meant to be comprehensive, there are several categories which we could break down into a few basic categories:
1) Acupuncture
Actually, there is no real word for "acupuncture" as the word is an invented westernized term. But we are referring to needling. Most people in the west have heard of and many have utilized this therapeutic form. But we should realize that the practitioners of TCM are generally practicing a completely different approach than those who practice CCM.
 Also we should include moxa therapy here, which is performed by burning an herbal/base which adds intense heat to  "acupuncture points"  which are energy vortices that tap into the energy distribution system of the body. The main concept of acupuncture is to balance this energy distribution system.
An internet search will list many studies done on acupuncture.
 
2) Chinese Herbal Medicine
There are over 5,000 items in the Chinese pharmacopoeia. Although often referred to as "Chinese Herbal Medicine" These consist of herbs, minerals, and animal by-products or parts. Needless to say this can get very complicated and it is not suggested for people to experiment with this therapeutic form as the combinations utilized are quite powerful and if not monitored by a knowledgeable practitioner could potentially do more harm than good.
An internet search will list much information on Chinese Herbal Medicine.
 
3) Tui Na & Acupressure
Tui Na is the advanced massage form of TCM & CCM. Many hospitals in China have Tui Na departments. It is utilized therapeutically to treat a wide variety of conditions and is extremely effective. It is not as widely known in the west as acupuncture but in China it is ranked right up there at the top of therapeutic forms.
Also the term "Anmo" is utilized to refer to Chinese Massage techniques.
Acupressure is generally referring to finger pressure (mostly thumb) to the acupoints and has the same goal as acupuncture.
 
4) Medical Qigong
The term "medical qigong" covers the many energetic forms of therapeutics utilized in the Qigong Hospitals of China. Also, many of the hospitals have a Medical Qigong department. It is a highly-specialized and extremely effective therapeutic form with an almost unprecedented therapeutic efficacy. Its use has been proven through several decades of Chinese hospitals and clinics as well as through its vast history of development. It refers to what is called Wai Qi Liao Fa which means "healing with external energy". Most of the forms utilize off-body energy projection although some incorporate on-body techniques. 
There are also advanced and specialized forms of Medical Qigong. An example of one which has been introduced to the West is Chinese Taoist Medicine, which is a neuro-energetic bodywork form based on medical qigong application of/to the complete neurological system of the body. Forms like this are not as well known as the general medical qigong, but even medical qigong itself is not as widely known in the west as forms like acupuncture.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the self-practice of energetics called Qigong. Although not an applied therapeutic form, this  self-practice has proven itself in benefits to millions of people across the world. 
 
Since medical qigong is not as widely known I will list some research suggestions:
http://qigonginstitu...ml/database.php This is a compilation of research abstracts, a project of Dr Ken Sancier, and includes abstracts from studies performed all over the world which includes the many studies done in China. Dr Sancier was well known for his research at Stanford Research Institute.
http://qigonginstitu...sis.php#Medical Research This page has many good articles on qigong and energy medicine.
There are several schools of medical/clinical qigong in the USA. In China, after the fallout of falun gong challenging the communist government, the governmental policies have resulted in the closing of many of the dedicated qigong hospitals and suppression of information concerning medical qigong. What was once mainstream in the 80's and 90's and demonstrating tremendous growth is now a shadow of itself in China.
 
To sum this posting, I would suggest to each person reading that they open their minds to the concept of "world medicine" and not dismiss these amazing therapeutic forms from China. Unfortunately many people are still under the mistaken impression that allopathic western medicine is the only "proven" form of medicine. This simply is not so. Although scientific investigation and study is valuable, history of use has over and over again proven to be our ally in investigating the validity of medicinal therapeutics. Just look at the many western allopathic compounds that were proven by scientific study to be safe and have efficacy which were later proven, through history of use, to be harmful with no efficacy. These Chinese medicine forms have a vast history of use in proving their safety and efficacy and are now being investigated through the western scientific model."

 

 

 


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#2 grady

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:56 PM

Reading several threads it became apparent that many posters are not familiar with the therapeutics/healing arts from China. Rather than reply in those threads and interrupt the topic, I created this thread and hope this helps to increase the knowledge. 

 

source of article: http://qigongamerica.blogspot.com/

 

I would encourage other practitioners to add to this thread if they wish.

 

Glad to see more people are talking about *classical* Chinese medicine, and waking up to the fact that "traditional" Chinese medicine (TCM) is a contradiction in terms.

 

A short write-up I did on the subject for the hospital website:

 

http://apricotforest...inese-medicine/

 

I provide the link to Professor Heiner Freuhauf's excellent 2009 academic article on the subject below, which *everyone* interested in this topic should read.

 

I think the article itself deserves cutting and pasting here, but it's too long and the formatting is challenging.  

 

http://www.classical...-in-crisis-tcm/

 

Do you yourself a favor and click.


Edited by leandro, 03 March 2014 - 10:45 PM.

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#3 Gerard

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:54 PM

In the end TCM is not even the answer to the cause of suffering (first noble truth). You need to go past that and understand ho emotions, craving, attachment, delusion, etc. all the mental factors are the main cause of disease (aside from the external factors: damp, cold, wind, heat and summer-heat and dryness. But again if your mind/qi is strong and purified none of the external factors will attack you.

 

Everything that is, has been, and will exists rises with the mind and sinks back to it.

 

Tame your mind and cravings and you'll have angry wild elephants bowing at your feet. :)

 

In the meantime TCM is good, but ultimately you need to go past it.


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#4 themiddleway

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 10:13 PM

In the end TCM is not even the answer to the cause of suffering (first noble truth). You need to go past that and understand ho emotions, craving, attachment, delusion, etc. all the mental factors are the main cause of disease (aside from the external factors: damp, cold, wind, heat and summer-heat and dryness. But again if your mind/qi is strong and purified none of the external factors will attack you.
 
Everything that is, has been, and will exists rises with the mind and sinks back to it.
 
Tame your mind and cravings and you'll have angry wild elephants bowing at your feet. :)
 
In the meantime TCM is good, but ultimately you need to go past it.






I think your missing the point, Ya Mu is presenting the qi arts as a complete system. A person could utilize any of the practises above without having to study the first noble truth. Its nice to let traditions stand up on there own, honour there integrity and contribution to humanity. Buddhists seem to forget that alot.

I know you mean well.



#5 Aeran

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:07 AM

Very interesting - do you have any suggestions for further reading on the subject?



#6 kevin_wallbridge

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 12:30 AM

With all due respect to Heiner Freuhauf I disagree with quite a bit of his article. I teach the history of Chinese medicine, and know many of the same sources as he does, yet my conclusions are quite different. I have been trained in a "classical" family tradition of Chinese medicine as well as the modern state system.

 

There is a favourite line in the West that "the communists broke Chinese medicine." The creation of modern curriculum and the active removal of some references to certain traditions is often cited as the cause. The thing is that the codification of curriculum and the removal of elements that were considered irrelevant of superstitious is a process that goes back to the foundation of the Taiyi/Imperial Bureau of Medicine in the Song Dynasty 1000 years ago.

 

Is the Huangdi Neijing still the foundational text? Yes. Are other classics like the Nanjing, the Shanghanlun, the Zhouhou Beijifang,or the Shennong Bencaojing still studied? Yes as well. What is missing? Well, its the folk practices that are derived from clinical experiences by particular doctors at particular times. Sometimes these things are clinical pearls, but most of the time, because of misunderstanding, mis-transcription (homonyms are a major problem in transmission of old texts), or just plain wrong ideas, these things were useless or even dangerous practices that needed to be lost.

 

We cannot just wash folk-modelling with a brush of wishful thinking and presume that most of the practices that have been dropped from Chinese medicine should be preserved. It starts to become like apologists for for an idealized view of North American First nations people as all peaceful and at one with the land, ignoring the facts of pre-Columbian environmental degradation or human sacrifice, and so on. Magical thinking that did not stand up to the tests of clinical use often arose and fell throughout the history of Chinese medicine, to say that classical is better is just simple minded.

 

That is not to say that there was not a concerted effort on the part of the Communists to impose the doctrine of dialectical materialism upon Chinese medicine and to modernize it. The thing is that Yin-Yang is so much more solid as a philosophy than dialectical materialism and so integrated into Chinese medicine that it just went back to Yin-Yang anyway. A passage in a teaching text in China may read a bit like Maoist propaganda at first, but the quote they site will, in the end, lead to classic Daoist philosophy and thinking.

 

The integration of science into Chinese medicine is not the hobgoblin it seems to be presented as. It does create challenges and issues to be sure, but it is not an either/or choice. Sure there are people involved with the science of Chinese medicine who use antibiotics and shun traditional formulae, yet there is quite a lot of room within the world of Chinese medicine. There are also many thousands who look at the older methods and pass on much of the wisdom that is not found in a Macciocia textbook or one of Shanghai volumes.

 

The biggest problem is that the basic education that people receive in Chinese medicine is just a start. Its the apprentice level of craftsmanship and it gets confused for being sufficient. What gets called by the critics "Classical Chinese medicine" or "Authentic Chinese medicine" is simply the journeyman and master craftsman level of the training. I say that the wider Chinese medicine is practised the greater likelihood of there being more master level practitioners out there.

 

I have heard the same critique of Taijiquan, yet there are many more high-level players today than there were 40 years ago, and in a large part this is due to Taijiquan's increasing popularity. With more people practising there are more people practising it wrong, but also more people going deeper and trying to figure it out and share it. Sure there are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people doing crappy Taijiquan out there, but that means there are more than ever doing good Taijiquan as well. The thing about the basics of Chinese medicine that come from the Communist moulded system is that it is at least competent and not crap. If a practitioner wants to just stay there it is too bad, but not a growing problem that needs to be solved. There are more and better high-level practitioners of Chinese medicine than any time in the last 150 years.

 

The same classics that were used 1000 years ago are the same classics studied today. In fact I teach a third-year class tomorrow which is a character by character analysis of passages from the Neijing that illustrate many of the first instances of core concepts outlined from fundamentals in first-year. I for one know the classics are being taught, I am teaching them myself.

 

Professor Kevin Walllbridge, 東方古典科學院 Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences


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#7 Ya Mu

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 06:13 AM

Leandro, thanks for the links. I found the articles interesting and agree with many of the points.

 

Gerard, I am referring to Chinese therapeutics and not self practices, although I did mention qigong as a self-healing exercise. Perhaps I should have left that out as my intention here is to speak of applied therapeutics.

 

Kevin, thanks for your views. Myself I find sharing the views of both yourself and the opposite side of the coin.

For one thing, unlike IMO far too many who get involved in Chinese Therapeutics, I am not anti-western medicine. My view is the concept of what I refer to as "world medicine". Let's take the whole of what the world offers that works and chunk out what doesn't. For purists of any camp I am sure that statement doesn't sit well.


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#8 Gerard

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 02:53 PM

Hi Ya Mu,

 

I should have stated that my comment was directed to advanced stages of cultivation, in which the concept of disease is viewed from a different perspective. I am not here to nitpick on TCM or your system. It's all good, that's we have an open forum, merely to state our opinions in a civilised manner. Thanks!


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#9 Spotless

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 03:56 PM

Bravo - great discussion - thank you!



#10 Ya Mu

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 06:31 PM

Very interesting - do you have any suggestions for further reading on the subject?

Almost missed your post.

 

Here is the thing, between my wife and I our medicine library is about 6'x50' stuffed full of collections of texts on Chinese therapeutics. At least 15-20 (probably more) different texts on acupuncture alone then corresponding texts on specialized diseases, treatments, Chinese herbal medicine (perhaps 50 books or more). tui na, tui na for babies, specialized moxa treatment , qigong, medical qigong, female problems, male problems, fertility issues, pain specialties, Japanese needling, specialized Chinese needling, Korean needling, etc etc etc And then there is our vast western medicine library...and my homeopathic medicine library... osteopathic medicine library... veterinarian Western/Chinese/chiropractic (how did that get in there?) ...American/European herbal medicine library, Native American herbal medicine Cherokee, Lakota and miscellaneous.

 

Now I am going to say something that will be controversial but you ask about further reading and this is my genuine opinion. And this opinion is based on studying the above mentioned books  as well as a l o n g time running and operating a clinic. 

 

They are none of them worth reading IMO. I studied all this stuff for more years than most people that post here are aged. And yeah, the therapeutics work.

 

But I learned therapeutics that are written down nowhere (except my own material) that IMO far exceed anything in those books and if someone spends 1-3 weekends with me they can learn the beginnings of a IMO much higher end therapeutic system that will give them far greater efficacy than if they spent 30 years with those books. 

 

So, OK, an answer to your question, No, I can't recommend any further reading. Except possibly my book for an idea of high level medical qigong. And that is not worth reading compared to actually learning the medical qigong and Taoist medicine, even though it does list unique, never before published medical qigong treatment methods.


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#11 Green Tiger

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 07:06 PM

Here is the thing, between my wife and I our medicine library is about 6'x50' stuffed full of collections of texts on Chinese therapeutics. At least 15-20 (probably more) different texts on acupuncture alone then corresponding texts on specialized diseases, treatments, Chinese herbal medicine (perhaps 50 books or more). tui na, tui na for babies, specialized moxa treatment , qigong, medical qigong, female problems, male problems, fertility issues, pain specialties, Japanese needling, specialized Chinese needling, Korean needling, etc etc etc And then there is our vast western medicine library...and my homeopathic medicine library... osteopathic medicine library... veterinarian Western/Chinese/chiropractic (how did that get in there?) ...American/European herbal medicine library, Native American herbal medicine Cherokee, Lakota and miscellaneous.

 

They are none of them worth reading IMO. I studied all this stuff for more years than most people that post here are aged. And yeah, the therapeutics work.

 

So, OK, an answer to your question, No, I can't recommend any further reading. Except possibly my book for an idea of high level medical qigong. And that is not worth reading compared to actually learning the medical qigong and Taoist medicine, even though it does list unique, never before published medical qigong treatment methods.

 

It's definitely a lot easier to become a collector of books than an experienced practitioner.  Before I went to your seminars, I knew very little about Chinese medicine.  Since then I've collected a couple dozen books on the subject and I still feel that I learn more in one day of practice than I've learned reading all of them.

 

That said, I do think some are better than others.  I really like A Light Warriors Guide to High Level Energy Healing, by Michael Lomax; Power Healing, by Zhi Gang Sha; and Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy, by Jerry Alan Johnson.

 

They are no substitute for real experience and instruction from a master, but they are interesting.


You may learn internal martial arts for health, but for fighting it's a little more difficult.
 
-- Guo Yunshen

#12 Taomeow

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 07:39 PM

Is the Huangdi Neijing still the foundational text? Yes. Are other classics like the Nanjing, the Shanghanlun, the Zhouhou Beijifang,or the Shennong Bencaojing still studied? Yes as well. What is missing? Well, its the folk practices that are derived from clinical experiences by particular doctors at particular times. Sometimes these things are clinical pearls, but most of the time, because of misunderstanding, mis-transcription (homonyms are a major problem in transmission of old texts), or just plain wrong ideas, these things were useless or even dangerous practices that needed to be lost.

 

Yup -- and the pearIs were far from lost.  E.g. this book,

51WRgNiPzcL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

 

which I own, includes a helluva lot of folk medicine meticulously collected from every region of China where its use had been  handed down via oral tradition and hands-on practice without ever making it to the classical texts or enriching and socially uplifting a single physician.  In fact, Communists had to resort to threats and coercion to force folk practitioners to surrender their secrets that for many generations were being only taught by father to son and mother to daughter and guarded with extreme care.  Some of the information therein blew my mind.  (E.g. folk herbal contraceptives that are apparently about one hundred percent effective, with no side effects, which are taken once, in one single dose, and work for a whole year -- or a different formula which works for three months, should you change your mind sooner.  Neither classical Chinese medicine nor Western have anything even remotely this good for the purpose.)     

 

When people realize that the practice of medicine is the practice of power (incidentally, in Native American tongues these words, medicine and power, are interchangeable), they might start understanding what is, was, and will be happening to medicine -- any medicine anywhere.  It has always been a power struggle, first and foremost.  The winners have always been the most ambitious, not the most talented and compassionate and knowledgeable.  Which is one reason we don't have a great medicine anywhere for any purposes, at best we have pockets of mediocre or not-bad medicine here and there, against the general backdrop of atrocious medicine (the most glorified kinds are overwhelmingly in this category).  But don't let me digress...    


Edited by Taomeow, 04 March 2014 - 07:42 PM.

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>^..^<


#13 Aksijaha

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:11 PM

Leandro, thanks for the links. I found the articles interesting and agree with many of the points.
 
Gerard, I am referring to Chinese therapeutics and not self practices, although I did mention qigong as a self-healing exercise. Perhaps I should have left that out as my intention here is to speak of applied therapeutics.
 
Kevin, thanks for your views. Myself I find sharing the views of both yourself and the opposite side of the coin.
For one thing, unlike IMO far too many who get involved in Chinese Therapeutics, I am not anti-western medicine. My view is the concept of what I refer to as "world medicine". Let's take the whole of what the world offers that works and chunk out what doesn't. For purists of any camp I am sure that statement doesn't sit well.

Well the very last sentance is correct. When you (specifically)  start mixing up Native American methods with your Qi gong.. it's kinda a bummer and sends some people running and screaming the other direction.

 

Does "world medicine" mean you get to take stuff/material from Amerind/FirstNations/Aboriginal traditions and mix it into TCM? 


Edited by Aksijaha, 04 March 2014 - 08:17 PM.

Stolen from Dvaldron on ah.com

"I am almost as brilliant as I am arrogant, nearly as clever as I am pompous, and my rudeness is almost matched by my creativity, my capacity for inspiration falls barely short of my gift for offending. I may be a thoroughly unpleasant and contemptible excuse for a human being. But if I say that this can be done, then you should take it as given that it can be done and done well."


#14 Ya Mu

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:24 AM

Aksijaha,

 

Yes, I do believe "World Medicine" does allow that. If you look at the post above you, made by TM, you will see a book containing powerful medicine but these teachings are not generally included (really, not at all) in TCM. So your question could be rephrased, "Are TCM practitioners ALLOWED to incorporate these teachings into their practice?" My opinion is YES! Or do you just have something against Native American medicine, which is very powerful?

 

Yes of course I believe, as I stated above, that a "medicine practitioner" should be allowed to take what works into their system and not have their head in the sand about being a "purist". The goal SHOULD be to utilize whatever tool is needed at the moment to achieve the highest efficacy. What occurs in the purist camp, whether that be by choice or by law, is substandard treatment. An example of what I am referring to would be the child who comes into a western medicine office with a sore throat. The western medical doctor examines the child and determines, through their own experience and knowledge, that an herbal tea would be the best approach in this particular case. But instead, due to something called "standard of care" (purist) they must give the child an antibiotic, which the child in this example, doesn't need. And, with another example the antibiotic may be the best choice.

 

First, do no harm, then achieve the highest efficacy should be the goal here and not jealousy or discrimination of any medicine form.


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#15 Ocean Form

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 04:41 AM

The goal SHOULD be to utilize whatever tool is needed at the moment to achieve the highest efficacy.

I feel this is the crucial thing here. Combining two systems, separetely mastered, because the situation calls for it. This is very different from intellectually piecing a new system together because "more is always better".
I think we see a lot of the latter in alternative healing and new meditation systems.
"Tummo reiki".
 

 
 (incidentally, in Native American tongues these words, medicine and power, are interchangeable)

That is really interesting. I remember reading about a Native American language where the word for power and poison was the same as well.
Ok gotta go shake some more after morning tobacco :)

Edited by Ancient Sword of Khuul, 05 March 2014 - 04:41 AM.

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#16 snowmonki

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 05:24 AM

Chinese medicine, like all things Chinese, due to the pragmatic belief system, is inclusive not exclusive. "Doing whatever is required or needed to help your patient IS chinese medicine." This is what my classical Chinese medicine teacher teachers. The bodywork, needles, herbs etc are simply the time tested therapeutic applications most often used.

 

Kevin is correct in the ststement that the standardisation and stripping of superstition from medicine has been an ongoing and long process, not just a recent thing. However I do disagree that modern TCM  teaches the classics in the way that is implied in his post. Yes random quotations are often used to support the theories or views within TCM, but even in China people are not taught from the classics. 

 

They are taught from textbooks. 

 

In the past the classics WERE the textbooks.  

 

 

Now, is the situation simple and straightforward? No, cumon, is it ever !?

 

But the TCM i was taught and have experienced, and that of my missus, both in China and in the West is quite a different animal to the Classical Chinese medicine we've been taught. And yet, why is it that the CCM of three teachers supports and constantly echoes each other, not in method, but in theory and perspective?

 

In line with my teacher, I do not denigrate TCM, I see it as a "school" of Chinese medicine, it will have the same spectrum of good and bad teachers, or practitioners, and or ideas, methods etc that ANY other line or approach of medicine will have. 

 

The "classical" label is becoming increasingly popular,  I predict more will start using it,  like "qigong" teachers suddenly using "neigong" . Well it's all the same anyway... No it's not. 


  • Taomeow and Green Tiger said thanks for this

"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away." Hakuin


"I'm not going to tell you that's wrong. I'm just going to show you this, so that as you meet things the rest of your life, you have comparison." Dr Xie Peiqi

 





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