Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine Therapeutics: An Overview of the Basics and Clinical Applications

Author: Luís Carlos Matos1,2,3, Jorge Pereira Machado2,4, Fernando Jorge Monteiro1,5, Henry Johannes Greten4,6
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, 4200-465 Porto, Portugal. <sup>2</sup> CBSIn-Centro de Biociências em Saúde Integrativa, Atlântico Business School, 4405-604 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal. <sup>3</sup> CTEC-Centro Transdisciplinar de Estudos da Consciência, Universidade Fernando Pessoa, 4249-004 Porto, Portugal. <sup>4</sup> ICBAS-Institute of Biomedical Sciences Abel Salazar, University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal. <sup>5</sup> INEB-Instituto de Engenharia Biomédica, Universidade do Porto, 4200-135 Porto, Portugal. <sup>6</sup> German Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 69126 Heidelberg, Germany.
Conference/Journal: Healthcare (Basel)
Date published: 2021 Mar 1
Other: Volume ID: 9 , Issue ID: 3 , Pages: 257 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3390/healthcare9030257. , Word Count: 240

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a systematic healthcare system developed from clinical experience based on a scientific model of regulation. TCM relies on unique theories and practices to treat diseases and enhance health. These practices include Chinese herbal medicine and dietetics, acupuncture and moxibustion, and other non-medication therapies such as Chinese bodywork or manual therapy, known as "Tuina", and traditional biofeedback exercises, known as "Qigong" and "Taijiquan". The integration of TCM in Western health systems and research requires a rational communicable theory, scientific proof of efficacy and safety, and quality control measures. Understanding the structural concepts of the TCM language makes possible the parallelism to Western physiology, and the inherent rational use of the reflex therapeutic systems, anti-inflammatory mechanisms and mental training involved, for example, in acupuncture and "Qigong". The results of TCM clinical trials and fundamental research on its nature and mechanisms have encouraged the development and application of well-designed research strategies such as double blinding in acupucture to overcome limitations and resistances in integrating these practices into the existing biomedical paradigms of the West. This review aims to overview some TCM theoretical concepts and the evidence-based clinical application of TCM's leading practices to create an easy-to-consult and condensed source of information, available for the healthcare community, facilitating the understanding and communication between conventional health professionals and TCM practitioners and acupuncturists.

Keywords: Heidelberg Model of TCM; acupuncture; dietetics; herbs; moxibustion; traditional Chinese medicine; “Qigong”; “Taijiquan”; “Tuina”.

PMID: 33804485 DOI: 10.3390/healthcare9030257