One of the beautiful things about Chinese Medicine is that the theory, being entirely concerned with what can be directly seen, felt, heard or tasted, is at its heart very straight forward. Applying these simple theories to clinical situations can take a lifetime of study but gaining an initial understanding is easy enough to be within anyone’s grasp.
The basic theories of Chinese Medicine are pragmatic tools for the understanding of health and illness both clinically and in everyday life. The interrelationship between an individual and his/her environment such as the typical reactions to changes in weather or season, effects of diet and interplay between body and emotion are conceptualized through an easy to understand, simple framework built on common sense.
A key feature of the application of Chinese medicine is the concern with identification of patterns of imbalance rather than diseases. This means the focus is on the state of an individual’s body at the moment. For example, if two individuals are diagnosed with bronchitis one may be found to be too hot while the other is too cold. The treatment, therefore, will be different despite the fact that both have the same bacteria invading their lungs. An effective treatment changes as the condition changes. Another common example is back pain, which is not a “disease” at all. The patients’ complaints may be very similar but depending on whether the sufferer is in a state of deficiency or excess, hot or cold, wet or dry, the approach taken to the problem may vary considerably. The individual often begins to understand the reason for their pain and may effective steps to prevent a relapse.
The North American Tang Shou Tao program covers all aspects of Chinese medical theory including Yin and Yang, Five Phases, Qi Blood and Body Fluids, Zang Fu (viscera and bowels), Etiology and Pathogenesis of disease- the Six External Evils and Seven Internal Evils, meridian theory, diagnostic methods of Eight Principles, Six Divisions, Four Levels, and Differentiation of Syndromes.
The theory is typically taught through short lectures and directed reading combined with Qigong exercises and bodywork training. This gives the student a way to ground the theory in experience, and begin to apply what is learned.