Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has developed over thousands of years of practical experience and observation. Unlike Western medicine, which aims at curing a specific illness, TCM aims at healing the body as a whole. Records on medical studies date back over 2,000 years to the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period. During the Han dynasty there were further advances in medical studies and during the Three Kingdoms period, Hua Tuo, a famous doctor, revolutionised the field completely.
Through careful observation and studying, Hua Tuo was able to discover many medical herbs, even creating an anesthetic mixture that, according to records, allowed him to perform surgeries such as appendicitis. He used acupuncture points in order to balance the body's inner qi. He was also an early proponent of an active lifestyle, promkoting moderate exercise as a way to stay healthy. Li Shizhen of the Ming dynasty wrote the Compendium of Materia Medica, which describes the uses for thousands of herbs. This book would become a major influence in TCM by explaining the function and nature of each herb and their interaction with each other. TCM doctors examine patients not by examining the symptoms of illnesses, but by examining the body as a complete system. Diagnoses are made based on the patients pulse, voice and mental state as well as any physical discomfort.