Shaolin Temple Chengdu

Traditional Chinese Medicine

The roots of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) come from medical experiences and the Five-Elements Theory of ancient times.

Disclaimer: Traditional Chinese Medicine is one hour in the weekly schedule. Topics include fundamentals of the TCM, Yin and Yang theory, Five Elements theory, Meridians and Acupuncture, Moxibustion, Massage and Tuina, Guasha, and Cupping. If you join briefly, you will join the TCM classes as they follow the official curriculum starting in April. It means some topics mentioned above will not be in the study class. You can opt for tuitions one-to-one if you want to learn particular classes. If you wish to receive a particular certification, don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss this option. 

TCM Basics

The basic theory of TCM (中药, Zhōngyào) is the basis and core of the Chinese traditional medical system with the most distinctive features of the overall concept of the three philosophical views:

  1. Unity of nature and man
  2. Dialectical treatment
  3. Evidence-based view of similarity. 

Theories of the basic theory of TCM mainly include the theory of fractal Yin and Yang and five elements, the theory of viscera and five systems (heart system, liver system, spleen system, lung system, kidney system), the theory of five movements and six Qi, the theory of Qi, blood, essence, body fluid and spirit, physique theory, aetiology theory, pathogenesis theory and health preservation theory, fractal meridian theory, among which the theory of Zangxiang is the core, information-energy-material theory is the basis, comprehensively and systematically describes the physiological and pathological phenomena of the human body, and is used to guide clinical diagnosis and treatment activities.

Concepts in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The roots of TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) come from medical experiences and the Five-Elements Theory of ancient times. There is a strong correlation between nature’s law and people’s activities. Nature’s laws are natural changes such as location, climate, seasons and time.

The concept of Qi

Qi translates as information, energy, matter, vital energy, and pluralism. Qi is a flow or mixed flow of information, energy, matter, vital energy, and multiple units. Qi is the most vital substance of the human body and is used extensively in TCM. In Kung Fu practice, there is a correlation between Qi, spirit and the external body. Practising the Qi and spirit is much more challenging than exercising the body.  There are several types of Qi which are in motion and called ‘functioning of Qi’:
  • Qi from the parents is stored in the kidneys
  • Qi from the food stored in the spleen and stomach 
  • Qi is from breathing and is stored in the lungs.  The breathing technique and exercise of Qi and blood represent another crucial aspect of TCM. Ba Duan Jin, Taiji and Five animal exercises (tiger, deer, bear, monkey and crane) are very beneficial and can be practised even if the space is limited. Taiji is the most precise of the exercises mentioned above. Chen-style Taiji is the origin of all Taiji forms. Taiji is an internal martial art which coordinates the external with the internal. Yang Taiji is based on the Chen style and is divided into high, middle and low intensity and can be adjusted depending on age, gender, physical condition and body characteristics. Other beneficial styles are Sun style Taiji, Baguazhang (Eight Diagrams palm), and Xing Yi boxing. All these routines, if practised daily, have a strong effect on body development and anti-ageing properties. Breathing methods exercises include:
    • Holding breath (helps digestion in conjunction with abdominal breathing)
    • Eyes rolling exercises (eye disease)
    • Hearing
    • Swallowing saliva
    • Points massage (Shenyu for back pain, frequent urination, enuresis / Yongquan for curing impotence / Shenque for preventing and curing gastrointestinal disorders)  
  • The concept of meridians

    The meridians are pathways, neurological paths, and the cell-filled circulatory system of energy through which the Qi or vital energy flows. Twelve primary meridians connect to the Zang-fu organs and are the main pathways that transport Qi and Xue (blood) throughout the body. In addition, there are eight Extraordinary Vessels with the function of connecting the twelve primary meridians.

    The concept of Yin and Yang

    As a part of nature, every person is considered to be made of Yin and Yang, which are opposites and change constantly. Yin and Yang are independent and can transform one into each other depending on the environment. However, Yin has a small part of Yang and vice versa. From the human body perspective, the upper part is Yang while the lower part is Yin. The body’s surface is Yang while the internal Yin. Therefore, Yin refers to darkness, while Yang refers to the bright side.
    The balance between Yin and Yang is called the healthy state, and getting out of balance is correlated with a state of illness.

    Biological Rhythm and Five Elements Theory

    The concept of the Five Elements

    The Five-Elements Theory explains the movement and transformation of the five elements: Wood, Metal, Fire, Earth and Water. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates developed a similar theory about the world, showing the similarity between the ancient western and eastern cultures. These elements interact by promoting or restraining each other. The specific features for each element are as follows:
    1. Wood: grow, develop, relax
    2. Fire: warm, restless
    3. Earth: accept, produce, behave
    4. Metal: clean, pure, contract
    5. Water: flow downwards, humid, nourishing, cold

    Promoting elements are:
    1. Wood is fuel for the FireFire (without Wood, you cannot light a fire)
    2. Fire creates Earth (Volcanic eruption)
    3. Earth extracts Metal (extraction of metals from metal ores from the Earth)
    4. Metal transports Water (the ship floats on the Water, and the metal pipes carry Water)
    5 Water sustains Wood (one of the most important elements for the tree to develop and grow is Water)

    Restraining elements are:
    1. Wood divides Earth ( the roots of a tree)
    2. Metal cuts the Wood (metallic blades for cutting trees)
    3. Fire melts Metal (metals are shaped in Fire)
    4. Water extinguishes Fire
    5. Earth retains Water ( dam – like a barrier for water flow)

    The Five Elements correlate with the human body’s five internal organs: Wood for the liver, Fire for the heart, Earth for the spleen, Metal for the lungs and Water for the kidney. Per the TCM, keeping the right balance in the body means using medicine (herbs), massage, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, Qigong and psychotherapy.
    The human body is an organic whole. With the five internal organs as the centre, cooperate with the six internal organs, connect the five bodies, five sense organs and nine orifices, etc., and distribute them vertically and horizontally through the meridians to penetrate the internal and external, run Qi, blood and body fluid, nourish and regulate the activities of various tissues and organs.
    Another correlation is between the tastes and the five organs in TCM. Taste influences different organs by nourishing or depleting them. The five tastes are: spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Spicy foods benefit muscle development and relaxation, blood circulation, Qi flow and pain reliever. Sweet foods help improve the body’s condition after exercise, while sour foods are good for the kidneys and stomach. Bitter foods benefit Qi and relax the digestive system, while salty foods help the circulatory system.

    The concept of philosophy

    The three major philosophical schools in China: Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, have influenced the development of TCM over the centuries. The TCM have its roots in observing and learning from nature. By combining Kung Fu with TCM, there have been many remarkable contributions to the theories and applications of the theories of Yin-Yang, Qi, blood, energy and spirit. 

    The concept of pancreas meridian

    In the clinical research on treating diabetes with Wujue Pointer Therapy, it was found that the pancreas also has certain meridians and acupoints and has a good effect on treating diseases. According to the traditional Chinese medicine theory of viscera and meridians, it is determined that various factors cause pancreatic dysfunction or meridian pancreas lesions are the basic pathogenesis of diabetes, which has laid a theoretical foundation for the syndrome differentiation and treatment of diabetes.

    Treatment Methods for TCM

    TCM treatment methods include external treatment and internal treatment.

    1. External treatment methods: acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, guasha, and massage. Through benign physical stimulation, the Qi and blood in the viscera and meridians can be dredged to achieve the balance of Yin and Yang.
    2. Internal treatment method: after the dialectical analysis of the tongue coating, pulse condition and symptoms, the nature, flavour and meridian distribution of the Chinese herbal medicine are combined with the monarch, minister, adjuvant and envoy to formulate prescriptions, which can be decocted for oral administration or processed into pills, powders, granules and ointment.

    chinese medicine, fill a prescription, traditional chinese medicine-3666268.jpg

    Therapeutic Principles and Methods of the Eight Basic Theories of Chinese Medicine

    “Treat the root of the disease” is the guiding ideology of traditional Chinese medicine to treat the disease. It specifically means that when treating the disease, we must find out the root cause of the disease and treat the essence of the disease. Therapeutic principles are basic for treating diseases, such as strengthening the body, eliminating pathogens, and adjusting Yin and Yang. Therapeutic methods are methods for treating diseases, such as the eight methods of sweating, vomiting, lowering, harmonizing, clearing, warming, tonifying, and eliminatingTreatment measures refer to the specific techniques, methods and ways to treat diseases and syndromes under the guidance of treatment methods, including medicinal treatment, acupuncture, massage, guidance, fumigation, etc. 

    The most commonly used treatment method in Chinese medicine is the eight methods, namely “sweating, harmonizing, descending, eliminating, vomiting, clearing, warming, and nourishing”

    Sweating or perspiration 

    The method of sweat is a treatment method to relieve the evils of the six evils on the surface through sweating, such as venting the interstices, regulating the body, and ventilating the lung Qi. All superficial syndromes of exogenous pathogenic factors, impermeable rash, oedema, diarrhoea, cough with an aversion to cold and fever, headache and body pain, etc., can be treated with the sweating method. 

    Spitting Method 

    The spit method treats phlegm, saliva, and food in the throat, chest, diaphragm, and gastric cavity through the mouth. The spit method is mainly suitable for apoplexy with phlegm accumulation, persistent food obstruction in the epigastric cavity, mania due to excessive phlegm and salivation, and sore throat, which belong to the syndrome of urgent illness and urgent need to vomit. Because vomiting can easily hurt the stomach Qi, it should be used cautiously in those with a weak body and weak Qi, women with new births, and pregnant women.


    Dismount means to cleanse the intestines and stomach and release the stool so that the tangible stagnation in the intestines and stomach can be discharged from the stool. This method is suitable for diseases such as internal stagnation of dry faeces, internal stagnation of blood stasis, persistent food incontinence, phlegm stagnation and cessation of drinking, and worm accumulation. 


    Harmony is a method of reconciliation to relieve the evils that are half on the outside and half on the inside, or the disharmony of viscera, Yin and Yang between the outside and the inside—all evils in Shaoyang, disharmony between liver and spleen, disharmony of Qi and blood. 


    The clearing method is a treatment method to remove heat evil in the interior by clearing heat, purging FireFire, cooling blood, and detoxifying. It is suitable for heat, FireFire, heat-toxin, and deficiency-heat syndrome. 

    Warm Method 

    The warming method is a treatment method that dissipates the cold evil in the interior by warming and dispersing the interior cold. It is suitable for the cold syndrome of cold evil in the interior. 

    Elimination Method 

    The elimination method is a treatment method to gradually dissipate tangible evils such as Qi, blood, phlegm, food, Water, insects, etc. It is suitable for diseases such as diet stagnation, Qi and blood stasis, accumulation of lumps in the abdomen, internal stagnation of Water and dampness, and accumulation of malnutrition and worms. 

    Tonifying Method 

    The tonifying method is nourishing and tonifying to restore the body’s righteousness and treat various deficiency syndromes. The tonic method is generally used when there is no external evil, but if the evil Qi is strong and the righteous Qi is deficient. Righteousness cannot dispel evil and can be used with sweating, dismounting, and eliminating methods. 


    Online learning

    For students who cannot attend live classes at the Temple, we offer the option to learn Traditional Chinese Medicine combined with Kung Fu Online. 

    Longevity means living a long and healthy life. Life follows nature’s cycles from preparing in spring, growing in summer, controlling in autumn and storing in winter. To prolong life, you must preserve your health. This could be achieved by following nature’s laws, keeping a state of stillness, limiting your desires by discipline, and cultivating your personality, mind, ethics and morals.

    Written with Qi by Shifu Shi Yanjun

    Shaolin Warrior Monks Head Coach

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