Chinese medicine is a complete medical system that uniquely categorizes and treats ailments using traditional Chinese techniques such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, tui na. The way a Chinese medicine practitioner categorizes disease states is much different than a western medicine practitioner. In Chinese medicine disease states are always looked at in relation to the other systems of the body and the systems are seen as functions rather than concrete anatomical structures.
For example, in Chinese medicine the function of the spleen is for digestion of food, but it also functions to digest thoughts and emotions. To contrast this with western medicine, the digestive tract digests food and that is it. However, newer scientific research shows that many neurotransmitters needed for thought are produced in the digestive tract. It may be that science is now validating the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine.
What is also unique to Chinese medicine and acupuncture is that diagnosis is made in relation to the other functions. The system is all about balance. This balance is always seen relative to the other organ functions in the body. For example if the spleen is under-active, this often means that the liver is overactive because these two are in relative balance.
We can extract the essence of this wisdom and see that one system only exist by looking at its opposite. Without something to compare and contrast to, you have nothing. Another way to say this is everything would be the same without a comparison. They used the element around them to describe the internal workings in the body. In Chinese medicine they describe 5 Elements, Earth, Fire, Metal, Water, Wood. Each can play a supportive role to one other element and each can play a combative or controlling role to one other. In this way the body can support and balance itself. Knowing this, the Chinese medicine doctor can bring the body back into balance through manipulating these different elements with acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.
Therefore when treating our ailments we should always keep in mind that there are other systems and functions that are going to be effected by our treatments. Knowing and understanding the impacts of these, is the essence of holistic medicine and holistic health.