Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the application of traditional Chinese philosophical thought to medical theory and practice, which is characterized by a holistic view of all existence, including all living things, and by recognizing the internal rather than the external conditions as the primary cause of changes, for better or for worse, in everything.
Therefore, in TCM, central attention is focused on boosting the living body’s self-healing power in achieving Yin-Yang balance within the whole body and between human and nature by doing two basic things: a) keeping the meridian channels unblocked by means of acupuncture, massage, stretching and patting and other gentle exercises, and b) providing heat-energy by way of moxibustioning, cupping, hot compress, proper eating habits, and a healthy life-style in general.
In contrast, modern Western medicine, based on fragmentalized studies of severed parts of dead bodies and treating the human body as a passive dead machine to be fixed part by part or manipulated heavy-handedly in a confrontational way, it fixes symptoms only instead of working at the root cause of all illnesses. When driven by the profit motive behind most medical and health-related institutions (professional as well as commercial) in a capitalist society, Western medicine is becoming fundamentally incompetent, causing unnecessary sufferings and premature deaths instead of easing pains and prolonging lives, and hence is itself becoming a major cause for many unnecessary illnesses and deaths.
As a matter of fact, the matching between the bankrupt Western medicine and the disintegrating capitalist system is deeply rooted in the Western philosophical tradition, which has fragmentalized everything and pitting all things against everything else, starting from the metaphysical mind-matter split.
Meanwhile, the philosphical background behind OTC has been the same as that behind traditional Chinese statecraft, that is, the holistic Daoist tradition aiming at promoting balances in multiple dimensions of social life, starting from a metaphysical understanding without mind-matter split, which has made it possible for the Chinese civilization to uniquely survive for thousands of years continuously. Hence the old Chinese saying "The upper-level medicine is used for governing the state; the mid-level medicine for cultivating the human character; the low-level medicine for treating illnesses.(上医治国，中医治人，下医治病) ", implying that the philosophy underlying Chinese medicine runs through all levels of life - individual, social, and natural as well.
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