Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

Still controversial and mostly considered alternative medicine in the west, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a more than 2,000 year history and is not only the most common form of medical care in Asia but gains more and more popularity in the western world.
The concept of TCM is fundamentally different from modern medicine, rooted in a holistic understanding of the body and universe. Balance is the key element in TCM, - treatment methods may include acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage therapy as well as dietary therapy.

These ancient concepts are found in every aspect of life, they are complementing opposites: e.g. cold and hot, slow and fast, masculine and feminine. While apparently opposites they are interdependent; without 'cold' there would be no 'hot'. TCM believes that an imbalance between yin and yang will lead to illness and disease.

The five basic - yin - elements of the material world are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. These elements undergo constant movement and change. In TCM the 5 Elements explain the complex connection between material objects as well as the unity between the human body and the natural world. Each element is also related to a key zang organ (wood-liver; fire-heart; earth-spleen; metal-lung; water-kidney).

Focus is on the body's function such as breathing and digestion rather than its anatomy. The key entities in TCM are Qi (Energy Flow), Xue (Blood), the five primary/zang organs, six secondary/fu organs (small and large intestines, gallbladder, bladder, stomach, san jiao), and 20 meridians. Everything is defined by their function in the human body:
The zang organs produce and store qi and xue.
The fu organs transmit and digest substances like food and waste.
The meridians are channels from all organs to the interior of the body as well as the limbs and joints, their function is to transport qi and xue.

Generally, TCM considers disease as disharmony in the functions and interactions of yin, yang, qi, xue, zang, fu, meridians, etc. as well as the relationship of the body and the environment. Symptoms are only one minor part of the diagnosis, more important (and more difficult) is to recognize a pattern. This may lead to two patients with the same disease symptoms receiving different treatment based on their individual disease pattern.

Plant elements and extracts are the most common among the 13,000 medicines and 100,000 medical recipes. Some examples: Ginger is believed to aid digestion and to treat upset stomach and nausea. Ginseng aims to strengthen the immune system.
Acupuncture is probably the most well-known form of techniques used in TCM. Several hundred acupuncture points are located along the meridians, activating them restores and/or maintains balance in the human body.
Qi Gong exercises including T'ai Chi Chuan are part of physical exercises, as are breathing and meditation exercises.

TCM holds the human body in great reference, respecting and promoting its endless capacity for rejuvenation and recovery. TCM practitioners 'listen' to the language of the body, interpret disharmonies and offer help through medicines and techniques. The end goal is to harmonize body, mind, and spirit with the material world so that we will be able to prevent and fight illness and improve the quality and duration of life. TCM certainly requires an open mind for Westerners yet its long history and wide popularity has earned it a place as medical treatment, maybe not exclusively but in addition to modern medicine.

CST China Special Tours creates special group tours to China. Should you be interested in learning more about TCM, if you are studying TCM or are a TCM practitioner, please contact us and request a customized proposal.  


One new hotel every two weeks - Starwood Hotels (including chains like Sheraton and Westin) has recognized the importance of the Chinese market place and plans to open a new hotel every other week. Already the leader with more than 70 hotels in China, another 90 are currently in the pipeline, making China the second largest market after the US.  In addition, Starwood will send their executives to Shanghai for a month-long education and familiarization with Chinese culture and business practices.

Beijing-Shanghai Train - Traveling at an average speed of 180mph the new high-speed train between the two major cities cuts travel time to 4 hours 45 minutes. More than 1,000 passengers are expected to enjoy the ride daily.

World's highest hotel - The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, will occupy floors 102 - 118 of the International Commerce Center (ICC) Building, the tallest building in the city. 312 luxurious rooms in Kowloon mark the comeback of Ritz-Carlton after the closure of its former property 3 years ago. The Ritz-Carlton group is currently running 7 hotels in China.


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