A Brief History of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)
Traditional Chinese Medicine is thought to have started over 2,500 years ago. Its history is blended with myth and legend. TCM is said to have originated from two legendary emperors who were medical pioneers and keen to live long and healthy lives.
Early Chinese people are believed to have used herbs as medicines and to have warmed stones as a form of heat treatment. Inscriptions on tortoise shells over a thousand years old give evidence of the use of water and simple herbal remedies for healing. Over time (in the Zhou dynasties from 1100–256 BC), medicine developed into an organized system and absorbed influences from the philosophical and religious traditions of Confucianism and Daoism. This led to the development of the concepts of yin and yang and the five elements or phases. The system of diagnosing by means of the tongue and pulse and observing other body signs was also created.
Over many centuries great Chinese medical texts were compiled and acupuncture (needle treatment), moxibustion (heat treatment with a warming herb), and herbal medicine became widespread.
The arrival of Christian missionaries in China in the 19th and early 20th centuries led to the introduction of Western medical ideas and a downsurge of interest in TCM. However TCM was revived by Chairman Mao as part of his Revolution and it now flourishes alongside Western medicine in modern day China.