Fundamental Principles of Eastern Medicine

5 Element Theory

Eastern medicine is a broad range of medicine practices developed in China many years ago. Eastern and Western medicine both work towards treating various diseases using different methods and theories. Eastern medicine focuses on treating diseases through more natural remedies, whereas Western medicine deals with more synthetic drugs. This causes Eastern medicine to have little or no side effects, differing from Western medicine which is known to cause several different side effects. The basic fundamental principles in Eastern medicine are Taditional Chinese Medicine practices that include herbs, massages, diets, and exercise therapy.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, symptoms of illness are grouped differently upon these different principles. The first principle is the basis that all creation has two opposite aspects, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are opposites in constant motion creating a balance in the healthy body. Disease results when either Yin or Yang exceeds the other. Symptoms of illness such as fever, swelling, or convulsions need to be healed with Traditional Chinese herbs to relax and calm the soul. Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners are trained to view the body as one unified system such as the body, mind, and spirit working as one. Western medicine focuses on the area of the disease and separates the body by its different functions.

Another basic principle of Eastern medicine deals with the ‘Exterior and Interior’. Exterior conditions consist of the flu, viruses, rashes, or aching muscles. Interior conditions are all those diseases that are not exterior such as anything affecting the internal organs. Another principle is the cold and hot illness. This is when our body gets too hot or cold which will cause many symptoms. Hot illness symptoms are supposed to stay away from warmth because the body needs to be cooled down. Similar to symptoms with cold illness, they must stay away from the cold and contact heat.

The Five Element Theory plays a big part in the Chinese belief that humans physically and mentally are intertwined with nature. Westerners on the other hand believe that the body and the mind are two completely different elements. The Five elements that interconnect human nature with the universe are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element is associated with a different season and a different body part. The wood element represents spring, as well as the liver and the gall bladder. Fire represents early summer as well as the heart and small intestines. Earth corresponds to late summer and deals with the stomach and the spleen. Metal associates with autumn and responds to the lungs and large intestines. Lastly, water is associated with winter and deals with the kidneys and the bladder. This theory serves as a tool used by Eastern medicine to diagnose and treat illness.