What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the worlds oldest medical systems, still widely practised across the globe today. It is a unique and independent medical system which originated in China thousands of years ago. The system was adopted by other South and North-East Asian countries, including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia etc. Over the past few decades, acupuncture especially has seen tremendous growth in popularity in the West. Many western counties are now embracing TCM and acupuncture is becoming available in mainstream healthcare systems.  

Chinese medicine was developed through centuries of clinical practise and academic research. The first recorded evidence for TCM is believed to date back to around five thousand years ago. However, its social history, traditions and roots predate this and are a fundamental part of Chinese culture.

Acupuncture needles with chinese herb selection used in herbal medicine with calligraphy script on rice paper on old hemp notebook. Translation reads as chinese herbs.

Unlike Western medicine, TCM doesn’t focus on science and medicine. Instead, it’s based on balance, harmony and energy. There are two central ideas behind TCM:

Qi: This is also known as life energy or vital energy. The belief is that it runs throughout your body. It’s always on the move and constantly changes. TCM treatments often focus on ways to promote and maintain the flow of qi.

Yin and Yang: These are opposites that describe the qualities of qi.

Yin: night, dark, cold, feminine, negative

Yang: day, light, warm, male, positive

The belief is that everything in life has opposites and balance is key. According to TCM, when there is a balance of yin and yang Qi, the body is healthy.

What kind of practises does TCM use?

  • Acupuncture: inserting thin needles into targeted areas of the body
  • Cupping: suction cups placed onto the skin to benefit blood flow, relaxation and well-being
  • Herbs: using leaves, roots, flowers etc to make herbal formulas in teas, pills, tablets and more
  • Meditation: a way to sit quietly and calm your mind
  • Moxibustion: dried mugwort burned near the skin or on acupuncture needles
  • Tai Chi: exercise with slow movements and focus on breathing

Why study Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Chinese medicine is not provided through primary healthcare systems in the West so training can be very limited. In the UK, education in herbal medicine is now more threatened than ever before. Phoenix Academy hopes to change that.

Embarking on a course of study in Chinese medicine offers a range of personal and professional benefits. You will be able to help patients more effectively by combining more than one Chinese medicine discipline. In turn, this generates another income stream from your practise. This is especially important after the Coronavirus outbreak which stopped face-to-face consultations but promoted remote consultations, such as herb consultations.

Additionally, Chinese herbal medicine makes treatments more effective as you can provide more support for your patients. Unlike acupuncture, herbal medicine is considered a lifestyle treatment for many long-term conditions such as phlegm, blood stagnations and yin deficiency. Furthermore, offering a combination of acupuncture and herbs increases efficacy for patients which helps to give better treatments and results, meaning happier and healthier patients.

Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture work in synergy. Our Diploma in Chinese Herbal Medicine is designed for acupuncturists who want to expand their TCM career by following on with herbal medicine.

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