What is TCM?

TCM is an ancient Chinese system of health and wellness that focuses more holistically on your wellbeing as opposed to treating individual ailments. You might have heard of two of TCM’s central ideas: qi and yin and yang.

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 are the two opposing energies that describe the qualities of qi. Think of yin as a slower feminine energy that is peaceful, cool, restful and nurturing. In contrast, think of Yang as masculine, bright, warm, active and expansive. One cannot exist without the other, just as day cannot exist without night; so TCM enables us to achieve an equal balance of both energies to achieve harmony within the body and mind.

TCM ultimately aims to create and maintain this harmony, balancing yin and yang energies, and ensuring a healthy flow of qi. When there’s 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. You might have encountered TCM through various different practices like herbal medicine, tai chi or qi gong and acupuncture. 

The way we integrate TCM is through the importance of the natural world around us. Our sensory stories tap into 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. These five elements relate to certain foods, organs in the body, emotions and can help dictate treatments and diagnosis for certain ailments. For example, if you were experiencing excess heat, you would look at reducing fire elements, which might look like resting, practising mindfulness and eating cooling foods. These kinds of imbalances and treatments vary season to season and with the fluctuations of the natural world around us.