Tuesday, December 1, 2009

UMHB: Chapter 2 - Human body system (1)

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TCM theory differs from Western medicine. TCM stands for human body is a complete system. Ancient Chinese came out with theory of Yin Yang, and 5 elements. 5 elements are using few natural elements to represent human body 5 major organ: lung, liver, kidney, heart and spleen. Each organ correspond to one element: lung with gold, liver with wood, kidney with water, heart with fire, spleen with soil.

In ancient time, there is no anatomy. The idea of internal organ is very abstract, which it is based only on imagination. Ancient TCM have no idea on the internal organ outlook and functionality. Thus they were using 5 elements characteristics to relate to the organ functionality.

In TCM, no organ is an isolated organ. Each organ live within a system, which includes the organ, correspond meridian and Collaterals , and acupuncture point. Let's use current electricity system to explain this. Organ is like a light bulb. Meridian is the wiring system connecting the power supply to the light bulb. Acupuncture point is the switch. These 3 components make up an electrical lighting system. When a light bulb cannot be turn on, it could be no power supply, or the switch is broken, or the wiring problem, or the light bulb itself. Analogically, when an organ does not function well, it could be the energy level is insufficient, or the acupuncture point is blocked, or the meridian is stuck with lots of garbage, or the organ itself.

There is a traditional Chinese saying: Try to cure the head if there is headache, try to cure the leg is the leg is painful 头痛医头,脚痛医脚, this is used to describe doctor whose medical skill is very poor. When there is a symptom on the patient, a good doctor will first observes the patient, use TCM knowledge and his experience to find the root cause of the disease. For example, when we drink cold water, if we drink in rush, it will usually cause an area from cheek to forehead Sun acupuncture point 太阳穴 to be very painful. From TCM, that painful line is stomach meridian. Thus the painfulness represents that if we drink cold water in rush, it will hurt the stomach. The painfulness at the forehead is actually a symptom that there is something wrong with the stomach. Meridian stomach start from head till toe, at both left and right symmetrical side of the body. Any painfulness at these line indicates there is stomach related disease. TCM practitioner usually treat it using acupuncture at the stomach meridian near leg. In this case, headache is treated by acupuncture near the leg. Headache doesn't means it must be treatment must be at the head. If a doctor only treat the organ which is having painfulness, people will normally doubt on his medical skills.

[To be continued]

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