Identify Root Problem
Western medicine looks at our body at the cellular level to the organ and to the part before considering the body as a whole. TCM sees our body as a whole system of tightly-knit inter-relationships with external environment and internal parts and will not just consider symptoms of the diseased parts.
There are constant flows of blood, fluid, energy/qi and nutrients throughout our body. When any flow is obstructed, we become sick. By applying The Yin and Yang Theory and The 5-Element Theory to our body system, Chinese doctors can identify where imbalance exists and can interpret the condition in terms of weak or strong, excessive or insufficient, hot or cold, and blood or qi, etc. to identify the root causes of problems and the treatments that are necessary.
Treat Root Problem First
When one organ fails, the symptoms usually show up in another. For example, when the lung energy is weakened, the liver energy will become out of control and can develop into headaches or high blood pressure. Therefore, when treating headaches which is caused by over active liver energy, Chinese doctors will strengthen the lung energy first. When energy in the lung is restored, liver energy will be kept under control and all symptoms of the problem will disappear. Health can be restored once the body can regain its balance and reaches equilibrium.
Balancing the Whole
When one force is in excess, the doctor will either tame it or drain it or lift the opposing energy to contain the excess. Another example is when the body is suffering from a cold, it has an excess of yin. Typical symptoms are tiredness, weakness, feeling cold, low body temperature, low activity and withdrawn, etc. When yin excess persists, it can transform into yang excess with fever. Other yang excess symptoms are hyperactivity, feeling hot, feverish, acute, virulent, advancing and flourishing, etc. For blood deficiency, the symptoms are dizziness, impaired vision, numb limbs, weak pulse, pale face, thin body, dry skin and dry hair. For qi deficiency, the symptoms are general weakness, pale face and whitish tongue, speaking with little energy and with low voice, etc.
Internal and External Treatments
When a problem is being identified, foods and herbs of the opposing nature will be used to bring back internal balance to the body. Besides internal treatment, TCM doctors will also uses external treatment modalities such as acupuncture, moxibustion, chi-gong and tai-chi exercises, meditation and massage therapy to address energy imbalances in the body to speed up recovery.