Skip to content

    Health & Balance

    Select An Article
    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Topic Overview

    What is Chinese medicine?

    Chinese medicine is a system of medicine partly based on the idea that an energy, called qi (say "chee"), flows along pathways in the body called meridians. In this belief, if the flow of qi along these meridians is blocked or unbalanced, illness can occur. In China, doctors have practiced Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and it is gaining in popularity in many Western countries.

    Causes of qi imbalance are thought to involve:

    Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

    Go on a Meditation Retreat

    By Jenn Sturiale Meditation is not a team sport. There are no teammates to help us sit on our cushions, and there are definitely no finish lines or cheering fans. Most often an intensely solitary pursuit, meditation takes us on a personal, inward journey. So then, what's the deal with meditation retreats? "In modern life, with all its disparity and emphasis on intellectual education, talking and materialism, it's rare to pause long enough to allow another focus to deepen and come into view,"...

    Read the Go on a Meditation Retreat article > >

    • External forces, such as wind, cold, or heat.
    • Internal forces, such as emotions of joy, anger, or fear.
    • Lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, too little sleep, or too much alcohol.

    Another important concept in Chinese medicine is the concept of yin and yang. In this approach, all things, including the body, are composed of opposing forces called yin and yang. Health is said to depend on the balance of these forces. Chinese medicine focuses on maintaining the yin-yang balance to maintain health and prevent illness.

    Chinese medicine doctors look at the balance of body, mind, and spirit to determine how to restore qi, the yin-yang balance, and good health.

    What is Chinese medicine used for?

    People use Chinese medicine to treat many illnesses from asthma and allergies to cancer and infertility. Chinese doctors may use several types of treatment to restore qi balance.

    Chinese medicine therapies include:

    • Acupuncture, which uses thin metal needles placed along the body's meridians.
    • Acupressure, which uses the hands or fingers to apply direct pressure to points along the body's meridians.
    • Chinese herbs, combinations of herbs, roots, powders, or animal substances to help restore balance in the body.
    • Cupping, which uses warm air in glass jars to create suction placed on areas of the body to help stimulate qi.
    • Diet. Yin and yang foods can help restore the yin-yang balance in the body.
    • Massage (tui na) on specific areas of the body or along the body's meridians.
    • Moxibustion, which uses small amounts of heated plant fiber (moxa, or Chinese mugwort) on specific areas of the body.
    • Qi gong, which uses movement, breathing techniques, and meditation.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    woman in yoga class
    6 health benefits of yoga.
    beautiful girl lying down of grass
    10 relaxation techniques to try.
     
    mature woman with glass of water
    Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
    coffee beans in shape of mug
    Get the facts.
     
    Take your medication
    Slideshow
    Hand appearing to hold the sun
    Article
     
    Hungover man
    Slideshow
    Welcome mat and wellington boots
    Slideshow
     
    Woman worn out on couch
    Article
    Happy and sad faces
    Quiz
     
    Fingertip with string tied in a bow
    Article
    laughing family
    Quiz