Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping therapy, gua sha, massage (tui na), bonesetting (die-da), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.
It has been described as “fraught with pseudoscience”, and the majority of its treatments as having no logical mechanism of action.
TCM is said to be based on more than 3,500 years of Chinese medical practice and texts such as the Huangdi Neijing.
The practice is widely used in the Sinosphere, where it has a long history; it is now also practiced outside of China.
One of the basic tenets of TCM is that the body’s vital energy (ch’i or qi) is circulating through channels called meridians having branches connected to bodily organs and functions.
The concept of vital energy is pseudoscience. Concepts of the body and of disease used in TCM reflect its ancient origins and its emphasis on dynamic processes over material structure, similar to European humoral theory.
Traditional Chinese medicine is widely used in the Sinosphere, where it has a long history.
The doctrines of Chinese medicine are rooted in books such as the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon and the Treatise on Cold Damage, as well as in cosmological notions such as yin–yang and the five phases.
Starting in the 1950s, these precepts were standardized in the People’s Republic of China, including attempts to integrate them with modern notions of anatomy and pathology.
In the 1950s, the Chinese government promoted a systematized form of TCM.
TCM “holds that the body’s vital energy (chi or qi) circulates through channels, called meridians, that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions.
” Its view of the human body is only marginally concerned with anatomical structures, but focuses primarily on the body’s functions (such as digestion, breathing, temperature maintenance, etc.):