What is TCM?

homework is a modern ode to ancient Chinese philosophy and is deeply rooted in the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Our founder Stephanie’s family and their practices are the main inspiration behind the brand. From her Popo picking herbs in the mountains in Tai Po to create remedies, to her parents who immigrated to Manchester in 1984 to set up their own clinic, TCM has always been a very important part of her life.

Core Principles

TCM is an ancient Chinese system of health and wellness that has been used for thousands of years. Unlike Western practices, TCM considers your entire well-being, not just individual illnesses or ailments, and focuses on healing with an emphasis on prevention. It is a truly holistic practice that is centred around balance, harmony and energy, using both psychological and physical approaches to address health problems. It is built on the two central ideas:

Qi, or life energy, that flows throughout the body and powers all of its organs and systems. This affects the way we move, function and feel and is a constantly changing energy.

Yin and yang, the two opposing energies that describe the qualities of qi. Yin is a feminine energy that is slower, more peaceful, cool, restful and nurturing. In contrast, yang is masculine, bright, warm, active and expansive. One cannot exist without the other, just as day cannot exist without night, and we must strive to achieve an equal balance of both energies to achieve harmony within the body and mind.

Importance of balance

TCM ultimately aims to create and maintain this harmony, balancing yin and yang energies, and ensuring a healthy flow of qi. When there is an imbalance that alters the normal flow of qi, this is when disease and illnesses occur, usually caused by external or environmental factors, internal emotions and lifestyle factors, such as diet.

Through its use of numerous different practices, TCM stimulates the body’s healing mechanisms, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, massage and exercise like tai chi and qi gong, which combine movement with meditation.

Five Elements

One aspect of TCM that particularly interests us at homework is the importance of the natural world around us. A key tenet of TCM is the five element theory, which outlines the relationship between the five basic elements in nature (wood, fire, earth, metal and water) and the life force or qi that flows through them. While these elements are individual, we embody them all, and that is what creates balance.

These five elements apply to foods, organs in the body, mental states and help dictate treatments and diagnosis for certain ailments. For example, if you were experiencing excess heat, you would look at reducing fire elements in order to regain equilibrium. This would mean resting, practising mindfulness and eating cooling foods. These kinds of imbalances and therefore treatments vary season to season and in line with the fluctuations of the natural world around us.