Some people simply glow with health. Their eyes shine and sparkle.
Their hair is lustrous. Their skin is strong and clear. Ask these people
and you're likely to hear that their energy level is consistent and their
emotions even-keeled. They rarely get sick, and when they do, it doesn't
last long. Other people are not so robust. They may catch colds easily
and often or struggle to get through the day without their energy
"crashing." Some don't sleep well at night, while others never seem
to fully wake up. These people may have poor digestion, erratic emotions,
and/or aches and pains that just won't go away. If this latter type of
person goes to a western physician for help, they're likely to be put
through a battery of examinations and may still be told there's
"nothing wrong" with them. It may be implied that their ails are
psychosomatic—in effect, that their problems are all in
their head—or stranger still, they may be given a token
pharmaceutical prescription as a placebo until a better diagnosis
can be made. In western medicine, the health of the person who
neither looks nor feels well may be considered, in quantifiable terms,
equal to that of the person who looks and feels healthy.
In this respect, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine
(TCM) have a clear diagnostic advantage over their western
To get a better idea of how this is so, please click on
the links under the Chinese Medicine heading in the toolbar to the left.
These will give you an overview of some basic TCM theory
and other concepts to help you familiarize yourself with the terminology
and processes of TCM treatments.
Throughout this site, I use uppercase letters to differentiate the western,
biomedical concepts of common terms (eg: blood, marrow, kidney function)
from the TCM concepts (Blood, Marrow, Kidney Qi), which often do not precisely
correlate with one another. For instance, the Chinese call the viscous red
fluid that courses through our arteries and veins xue, which translates
as "blood," though the TCM practitioner's understanding of what that means
varies greatly from the western physician's. The two systems of medicine
measure the quality and quantity of blood differently and recognize in it
different purposes and characteristics.
For instance, in TCM the Blood returns to the Liver for storage while
we sleep, where among other things it is said to "anchor the Hun"
(ethereal soul). If the Blood is deficient or the Liver dysfunctional,
the Hun will be rootless and we will have restless sleep, disturbing dreams,
and difficulty making decisions and choosing direction in life. Western
medicine recognizes no such attributes in its understanding of either the
blood or the liver, let alone acknowledging the existence of a soul.
To avoid confusion, I use lowercase letters ("blood") when I use a term
in the sense of its common English usage and uppercase ("Blood") when
referring to its concept as it relates to TCM theory.