Basics of Chinese Medicine

A fundamental principle of Chinese medicine is that the natural condition of the human body is to be healthy. Our bodies strive for health, and given the correct support, will return us to a healthy condition when a sickness or diseased state occurs.

What causes disease? Why is it that the same diet and lifestyle for one person results in radiant health, and for another results in obesity or diabetes or cancer? The key is understanding the principle of balance or harmony.

Antique Drawers

Humans are healthy when their body and major organ systems are in harmony. What does this mean?

The Chinese believe that everything in our universe is conceived of two basic opposing energies: yin and yang. Yin and yang are the contrast or opposites which divide the universe.

Basic energies or concepts which are yin include earth, moon, darkness, female and negative. Yang is the opposite: heaven, sun, light, male, heat and positive.

Dragon stamp

All humans receive a unique combination of yin and yang from their parents, and this energy is also influenced by our first years of development. Thus, the proper balance or homeostasis for each of us is different.

The Chinese believe that yin and yang manifests through the various organs of the body. There are five organs that are considered to rule all the others: the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys. In Chinese medicine, the organs operate networks of energy, rather than simply being anatomical units. Maintaining a proper balance of these networks is what results in health.

Each organ system is influenced by a variety of factors; these seemingly infinite variables are what a Chinese doctor seeks to understand in a patient. When the doctor understands the patient's current state of balance or imbalance within his organ systems, the doctor can begin to influence that balance.

Some of the ways a Chinese doctor deciphers the a patient's current health is detailed in our diagnosis methods article.The tools which a Chinese doctor uses to restore balance include food (and especially herbs), lifestyle factors such as rest or warmth, massage, breathing exercises, acupuncture, and other natural methods.

At Hen Sen Herbs, our herbalist will devise a 'recipe' or prescription of herbs which will help restore balance in your system. Depending on the severity or depth of a condition, herbs alone might not be enough to create balance. Real change happens when a patient makes effective changes in diet and lifestyle to restore balance. Our herbalist will make recommendations to you to facilitate or deepen the ability of the herbs to improve your health.

Please note that the herbalist at Hen Sen Herbs is not a licensed physician. We make recommendations based on thousands of years of Chinese thought and observation, but we do not make any claim associated with the use of herbs. Each patient is in control of his or her health.

To learn more, please review the following: