Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and look back on a tradition of more than 2000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietary therapy. These practices are a common part of medical care throughout East Asia, but are considered alternative medicine in the western world.
The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as the Yellow Emperor s Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage, as well as in cosmological notions like yin-yang and the Five Phases. Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were modernized in the People s Republic of China so as to integrate many anatomical and pathological notions from scientific medicine. Nonetheless, many of its assumptions, including the model of the body, or concept of disease, are not supported by modern evidence-based medicine. Clinical trials have so far produced little evidence for the efficacy of TCM therapies, such as acupuncture.
TCM s view of the body is little concerned with anatomical structures, but with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis consists in tracing symptoms to an underlying disharmony, mainly by palpating the pulse and inspecting the tongue