TCM theory

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The Herbs

Harmony of Body, Mind and Spirit

In the Orient, all philosophy, art and science are traditionally based on the fundamental realization that all things and all processes are interconnected. Oriental wise men and women long ago recognized the interconnectedness of the various parts of the body. The human body, mind and spirit are experienced as one complete whole, within themselves, with the environment and with the universe.

The notion of the unity of the body and psyche is fundamental to the Oriental healing arts. Changes in one’s physical condition will result in changes in one’s thinking and in one’s intuitive and emotional processes. The mind likewise directly and indirectly influences gross and subtle changes in one’s physical nature and in the actions we take. Virtually all aspects of health are rooted in the harmonious integration of the body and the psyche.

The Oriental health-maintenance and health-promotion arts, such as tonic herbalism, take full advantage of this oneness of body and psyche to help each person to grow to as full a state of health, well-being and spiritual awareness as the person is ready to achieve. The tonic herbs are used to bring about changes in one’s physical condition; simultaneously, they are routinely used to influence the conscious and subconscious mind, the emotions and the human spirit.

No form of health care is complete unless it recognizes and utilizes this principle of the unity of physical and psychic energy. A Chinese tonic herbalist will never attempt to influence a change in just one aspect of a person’s physical or psychic life In any case, such an attempt would be fruitless.

The goal of tonic herbalism is to help the tonic herbs user to establish a harmony of body, mind and spirit which can result in a new level of well-being, a new level of health and happiness that forms the foundation for a creative, successful life, as well as for true spiritual discovery, growth and, possibly, eventual mastery and enlightenment.


Adaptability is the Measure of One’s Life

We human beings are intimately interconnected with our environment. Any change in the environment influences us both physically and psychically. How we handle such changes, how we adapt to the changes in our environment and to the stresses of life, will be the determining factor in our health and well-being. Conversely, as we change, the environment around us will be influenced and will reflect our changes. The greatness of Oriental natural philosophy lies, to a great degree, in its subtlety and breadth of vision with regard to the connection between human beings and their environment. The tonic herbalist recognizes such environmental influences as the change of seasons, wind, heat, cold, dryness, moisture and so on, as fundamental causative factors in one’s health as well as one’s dis-ease.

A person’s ability to adapt to the ever-changing variables of life determines that person’s health, well-being and happiness. Adaptability requires energy. The greater the stresses of life and the more dynamic the changes in one’s life, the greater the requirement for adaptive energy. The very purpose of using Chinese tonic herbs is to aid the body-mind in its adaptive needs. The greatness of the Chinese tonic herbs lies in their adaptogenic quality; that is, the ability to enhance the body-mind’s capacity to adapt optimally, accurately and with endurance to changes in the environment, and thus to overcome the stresses of life.

By replenishing the energy of the cells, tissues and systems that regulate our adaptability, we find ourselves capable of experiencing life at its fullest. We find ourselves with increased physical, mental and emotional endurance. We find ourselves easily handling stresses that would exhaust others. We find ourselves to be resilient on every level. This adaptability allows us to lead a rich, broad, adventurous life.
The Principle of Yin and Yang

The “great principle” of yin and yang is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy and in the Oriental health care system. The great principle of yin and yang was developed more than 3,000 years ago by great sages and scholars.

Yin and yang are the two opposing components of one integrated whole. These two opposing forces are totally interdependent, interacting constantly so as to maintain the normality and integrity of the whole. Each in turn tends to dominate over the other, but no total dominance is permanent. No matter how dominating one side appears, eventually the other will take its turn as the dominant force. This interplay of opposing forces establishes the basis of all existence and all change.

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