About Traditional Chinese Medicine

Prevention is better than cure! This is a phrase I often tell my patients. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats not just the disease but the person as a whole. The human body itself is a very precise regulatory mechanism. Our goal is to restore the body to a state of balance, allowing it to repair and improve itself. When certain people develop unhealthy habits that disrupt this balance, the body starts to get sick. TCM’s holistic perspective also includes the unity between humans and their external environment, which is referred to as the “correspondence between humans and the heavens.” Changes in the natural world, such as seasonal climate variations, daily temperature fluctuations, air pollution, and geographical changes, all affect the human body. Even changes in the social environment can significantly impact a person’s physical and mental functions. Different individuals have varying abilities to adapt to these changes. When the body cannot adjust, it can affect its normal functions, leading to dysfunction and a suboptimal health state.

The theory of constitution in TCM holds that everyone has individual differences in physiology, as well as mental and psychological aspects, which create unique physiological and psychological characteristics. These differences mean that different bodies exhibit various patterns in life processes like birth, growth, maturity, aging, and death. Because of these individual constitutional differences, TCM often adopts personalized treatment methods, tailored to different constitutions.

Generally speaking, the factors influencing constitution include genetic factors, age, gender differences, geographical and climatic factors, diet structure, and nutritional status. Additionally, psychological characteristics are closely related to innate personality, education, social status, and significant psychological trauma. Due to these reasons, when treating diseases, it is essential to tailor the treatment based on the time, location, and individual, considering factors such as season, climate, geography, and the patient’s constitution, gender, and age.

When patients come for their initial consultation, they often ask, “How long will it take for my condition to improve?” or “Can the doctor give me a prescription?” They may also say, “The herbal medicine needs to be boiled and it tastes bitter and smells bad; can I avoid taking it?” This kind of situation makes me quite frustrated. Generally, I refuse to treat such patients because they are looking for a miracle doctor, someone who can simply diagnose them by touch, smell, or sight, and then cure them immediately. I am not a miracle worker, and I do not have the ability to help in such a way. Some patients take Western medicine all their lives without any complaints, but when they visit a TCM practitioner, they expect to be cured with just one dose or within a few days. I often ask these patients to leave. If you are here because of a cold or a fever caused by wind and cold, usually one or two doses of herbal medicine will significantly improve your condition. If you are here for more severe issues, I tell my patients that if there is no improvement within three weeks, they should consider seeking treatment from another doctor.

When patients improve after treatment, I advise them to change their previous bad habits to avoid recurring issues. It is because of their past mistakes that they developed their current conditions. If the bad habits continue, the same problems will return.