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What is Chinese medicine?

Five pillars of TCM for understanding Chinese medicine

Acupuncture, food, herbs, qigong, and massage are the Five Pillars of Chinese medicine

Understanding Chinese medicine is easy. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) provides a road map with directions on how to live a happy, healthy, and long life. It is practiced in small villages and mega-cities all over China.

Western medicine uses one map and Chinese medicine another.  You can read more about the differences between the two road maps here. Briefly, the TCM road map provides a holistic view of the body. Everything you do affects all aspects of your mental and physical well being.

All the services, courses, articles, and products provided by Radiant Shenti are selected to help enhance your understanding of Chinese medicine for optimal health and happiness.

Here is a quick primer to introduce the basic concepts of this road map to health.


The Five Pillars of TCM


The first pillar is acupuncture.

Chinese medicine views the body as a bioelectrical system. Over thousands of years, practitioners identified a network of points in the body.  They discovered that you can press on one point of the body to influence other areas. This network is referred to as meridians or channels. Acupuncture is the application of very fine needles along the meridian points.

Other ways to influence energy along the meridian points include acupressure, moxibustion, and cupping.

For example, if you have a headache, you may find faster relief by massaging a point on your leg. If you cannot sleep, you can massage different points to help cure your insomnia.


The second pillar of TCM is nutrition.

traditional chinese medicine

All foods have energetic properties that help keep the body in balance.

Understanding Chinese medicine means that you know the energetic nature of different foods. What you eat has energy. The Western medical road map focuses on calories, fat content, and vitamins. When a particular diet has a desired effect for some people, many other people jump on the bandwagon.

To illustrate, many people swear by a raw food only diet. However, people susceptible to seasonal allergies should not eat raw food. It is cooling in nature, and weakens the body's efforts to fight off external pathogens. A diet of warm soups and porridges can cure someone of allergies quickly.


The third pillar is qigong.

Qigong is the art of effortless power. Qigong uses movement, breath work, and meditation to replenish and circulate energy throughout your body. You can use qigong to clear stress and recharge your system.

The Quick Qigong exercise video to shake off tension gives you a good sense of this energy. After you do the shaking, pause and tune in to the buzzing, tingling sensation in your body. You can feel that your life force energy has been activated.


The fourth pillar of TCM is herbal medicine.

traditional chinese medicine

Understanding Chinese medicine comes from understanding its long history, thousands of years of old. Over this time, TCM doctors created formulas of different herbs that balance the individual's internal energy. 

If you have too much heat, herbs will cool the body. And vice versa, if you are too cold, herbs can warm you. Doctors also know which meridian the energy goes to. As an example, if you feel irritated and your eyes are dry and red, your TCM doctor might prescribe an herbal formula to balance your liver.


The fifth pillar is massage (tuina)

Massage therapy started in ancient China.  Early foot, hand, and ear reflexology charts date back thousands of years. As doctors mapped out the meridian system in more detail, massage therapy included other parts of the body.

Appreciating the power of massage to calm and heal your mind and body goes a long way to understanding Chinese medicine.  It’s all about healing through pleasure. Your body relaxes, and you create a healing effect in your system. You can try the patting massage and acupressure massage videos to get a sense of how these simple techniques help you feel better immediately.


TCM is true healthcare, not sick care

For most of the history of Chinese medicine, you paid your practitioner when you were well. If you got sick, you didn’t pay. What was their motivation? Keeping you healthy.

Even more importantly, everyone can use TCM tools for healing. Understanding Chinese medicine, you know to see your doctor to reset imbalances and help you get better faster when you feel sick. 

Most of the time, you will use the Five Pillars of TCM to bring your body into balance with a healthy, happy, and long life. Let Radiant Shenti teach you how.