UNDERSTANDING THE 5 CORE PRINCIPLES OF CHINESE MEDICINE
AS SEEN IN: The Chalkboard Magazine
as seen in 8.3.17 article here.
Chinese medicine is a powerful tool with a holistic approach. It considers the laws of nature, the environment around us and the natural physical response of the nervous system to help create functional balance in the body. Chinese medicine sees that we are whole in our body and we respond to the environment around us. In Chinese medicine, the ‘body’ we refer to is not only defined by the organs and systems it carries, but also as the home of the mind and spirit.
There are five main principles that traditional Chinese medicine follows:
OUR BODIES RESPOND TO THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND US
Depending on the weather, the season, or the energy around us, our body has a direct response to the its environment. Have you ever noticed when you travel you feel a certain way? When you’re in a different environment your body uses different organs to properly respond and provide for your needs. Also, when the seasons change, our bodies need different types of nourishment. Learning about the proper ways to eat, sleep and nourish the body during these times is essential to relaxing and restoring the nervous system.
YOUR BODY KNOWS HOW TO HEAL ITSELF
The body is a powerful instrument and its intelligence works far beyond the human brain. The reason why we use tools such as acupuncture and herbs to restore the body is primarily to remind the body of its own natural function and how it’s supposed to be functioning.
What happens over time is that your nervous system loses its strength in certain areas and gets more strength in other areas, creating weaknesses and deficiencies, which in turn create improper nervous responses. Just like a muscle that hasn’t been used for a while, the same thing happens to the nervous system – it gets weak and ‘flabby,’ until we work it out.
When a foreign object, such as an acupuncture needle, is inserted the reality is that it’s invading your body. During this time your entire nervous system wakes up to attack these needles. The good news is, your body gets a jump start and those areas that were weak or sleeping, wake up! So acupuncture is essentially a work out for your nervous system. It’s important to understand that it is not the needles that are healing you, but rather your nervous system; blood gets a boost and starts to flow properly, creating a natural regulating and healing process.
EVERY PART OF YOUR BODY IS CONNECTED
Every organ has a specific function, for itself as well as for its surrounding organs. The way the brain communicates with the body is simple, but we are never really taught what happens when these signals leave the brain. I’ll explain a mental image for you to hold on to: Your brain releases a signal, the signal then travels down your spinal cord, to the nerves within the vertebrae, these nerves are attached to the organs of the body, then each organ has bundles of nerves that connect to your extremities. When signals travel from extremities back up to the brain, the role is reversed. Alongside this, the blood that is pushed by the energy of the heart’s pump, moves oxygen and natural elements throughout the body in order to aid the proper functioning of each organ. Now, you could imagine that if there is something that is creating an imbalance, then there’s a ripple effect throughout the body and the source must be found.
YIN, YANG + THE SILVER LINING
In Chinese philosophy, the expression of yin and yang translates to the understanding that seemingly opposite or contrary forces have an interconnected, complementary and interdependent relationship. They feed each other as they interrelate to one another. For example, during the day, there is a point in which night enters and during the night there is a point in which day enters. The silver lining is the visual of the sunset we experience, for example. Understanding this allows us to realize that everything is connected and that we have to find the fine lines or silver lining and sharpen our sensitivities to realizing how to respond to their appropriate aspect. Also, when we diagnose in Chinese medicine, we find the proper response within the yin and yang functions of the blood, water, organs and mind in the body.
OUTSIDE FACTORS AFFECT BALANCE IN THE BODY
The natural balance of the body can be swayed because of emotional states such as stress, sadness, anxiety, stress, anger, fear or loss, heartache, poor nutrition, weather conditions, congenital factors, trauma, infections or poisons. This is important to understand because we can stop, assess our situations, change what we need to, listen to our body and create a change to avoid chronic imbalance.
Overall, traditional Chinese medicine has a very unique approach to viewing the body, the mind, the soul and the environment. When a person realizes how deep and how profound this philosophy is, they realize why Chinese medicine requires no advancements, such as in Western medicine. Chinese medicine deals with the roots of issues and there are only so many roots. All the variables in the roots are in respective relationship with the organs involved, how the blood is flowing the amount and push behind the energy in the body and the spirit.