Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a system of health care based on the late-twentieth-century standardization of medical practices that originated in China some 2500 years ago. Two classic medical texts, the Nei Jing (compiled from 100 B.C. to 100 A.D.) and the Nan Jing (written circa 100 to 200 A.D.) were important early documents that presented the core concepts of TCM, and they have informed generations of scholars and practitioners ever since. These core concepts suggest that disease is the result of imbalances in the flow of the body"s vital energy, or qi (pronounced "chee"), and that the human body is a microcosm of the basic natural forces at work in the universe.
The clinical diagnosis and treatment in Traditional Chinese Medicine are mainly based on the yin-yang and five elements theories. The theories of Yin-Yang and the Five Element were the creation and development of the ancient Chinese through their long and faithful tradition of observing nature"s cycles and changes. Yin and yang are two opposing but necessarily coexisting forces in the universe. Yin is characterized by attributes such as dark, wet, passive, and negative while yang is associated with attributes such as light, dry, active, and positive. Together, these forces give rise to everything in the universe. They are constantly in flux, seeking balance. Five elements held that wood, fire, earth, metal, and water were the basic substances constituting the material world. These five basic substances were considered an indispensable part of daily life. They also noted that the material world is in a constant state of flux due to the dynamic movement and mutual antagonism of yin and yang factors.
The ancient Chinese applies these two theories in the medical field to explain the physiological activities and pathological changes of the human body, and to serve as a guide to the clinical treatment on the basis of syndrome differentiation. These theories have become in important component of traditional Chinese medicine. From its ancient roots, modern Chinese Medicine has developed into several inseparable facets, which include acupuncture, herbal medicine, Tuina, dietary regulation, and therapeutic exercise, such as Qigong and Tai Chi.