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TCM - history, diagnostics and therapeutics

The History of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Just as in Ayurveda, thinking in terms of doshas, ​​which should be in balance, is unusual for us in the West, this also applies to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), in which a disruption of energy flows is understood to be the cause of illness . And when considering the balance or imbalance of energy flows, not only the organism itself, but also its social environment and the entire cosmos are explicitly taken into account. The life energy “Qi” plays a central role in TCM and has several functions: it protects, nourishes, warms, transports, controls and transforms. The Qi is kept flowing by the two life poles Yin and Yang: the white Yang stands for hard, hot, light, male and active, while the black Yin is assigned the characteristics dark, soft, cold, feminine, passive and calm. If the yin and yang of life are in balance, then we feel healthy. If, on the other hand, there is disharmony between these two poles of life, this results in a reduction of Qi.

An old Chinese proverb says “Pain is the cry of Qi for free flow”.

A person is healthy when Qi can flow unhindered. If the flow of energy is disrupted, for example Environmental influences such as cold, heat, drafts, poor nutrition, mental stress or overexertion can cause health problems.

What in TCM is Qi, which flows through the meridians as life energy, in Ayurveda is the biological digestive fire “Agni”. If the Agni goes out, the person dies. If the Agni is strong, in Ayurveda this is synonymous with energy, joy of life, strong charisma, clear thinking, healthy body heat and digestion.

In TCM there are no organs, but the various physical and psychological symptoms are associated with organs such as the liver, lungs, kidneys, bladder or large intestine and are described as functional circles (there are a total of 12 of these functional circles), for example the colon or liver circulation. Points, channels (“meridians”) and body regions are assigned to these functional circles. These imaginary channels, which are called meridians in TCM, have their counterpart in Ayurveda in the so-called “Nadis”, which are assumed to have connections to organs and the psyche.

Contrary to what is often assumed, the meridians do not correspond to the nerve cords according to our western understanding of the body, but rather they describe channels in which the Qi flows.
Connections to organs and the psyche are postulated via imaginary channels, which are called meridians in TCM and nadis in Ayurveda. The term “Marma”, which translated from Sanskrit means “energy point” or “energy field”, is used particularly in Ayurveda; in Kundalini yoga they are called “chakras”.

TCM - diagnostics

The two central diagnostic tools in TCM are pulse diagnosis and tongue diagnosis.
Here, too, there is great agreement with Ayurveda, even if there are differences in the implementation of these two diagnostic means, for example.T there are clear differences.

Pulse diagnostics is primarily used toa to find out whether the Yin or the Yan dominates. The measurements are taken alternately on both sides with the index, middle and ring fingers together on the artery on the thumb side just above the wrist. The frequency, rhythm, shape of the pulse wave and the flow between the fingers are felt. In total, TCM distinguishes between 28 different pulse qualities.

Tongue diagnostics (“She-Zhen”) is of particular importance in TCM because it is seen as a connection between the inside of the body and the outside world. According to this logic, you can tell from the tongue whether and, if so, what is inside the body. is not okay. The various organs are connected to certain areas of the tongue: For example, at the tip of the tongue are: the heart and lungs, in the middle the spleen and stomach and in the back the kidneys, intestines and bladder. The gallbladder and liver are on the left and right sides.

The shape, color, moisture, cracks and type and color of the tongue coating provide information about potential diseases. The tongue coating, which consists of bacteria, mucus and food particles, should normally be a thin, white layer. If the tongue coating is thick and yellow, then the disease in question is already more advanced.

TCM - therapeutics

Since illness is, in TCM's understanding, the result of an energetic imbalance - a dysfunction of the meridians - the therapy focuses on restoring the balance.

Since there are no organs or comparable self-contained tissue formations in TCM, but only connected functional circuits in which the Qi flows, for example A treatment on the knee has an impact on the stomach, a therapy on the little finger has an impact on the heart, etc.
Incidentally, our Western medicine also knows such effects: e.g. It is known from internal medicine that gallbladder disease can also cause pain in the right shoulder blade.

TCM includes five different therapy methods: nutrition, herbal medicine/medicines, massage (Tuina), meditative forms of movement such as Qigong and Tai Chi as well as acupuncture.
TCM is not just a therapy method, but many of the above.G Components such as Diet or meditative forms of exercise are preventive in nature.


Acupuncture is the best-known pillar of the above.G TCM forms of therapy, although it does not play a central role in China. But because it is the form of therapy whose complexity can be most easily reduced to our Western understanding, it has now become firmly established in our country and is now also used by many conventional doctors, usually in conjunction with therapy.

With acupuncture, the disruption of the flow of Qi is achieved through the activation of so-called Eliminate “trigger points” in the body with acupuncture needles. With acupressure, this is done using finger pressure. Over 700 such trigger points are described in TCM. Here too there is a great similarity to Ayurveda, where these trigger points are called “Marma points” and especially.a play a big role in massages.

Acupuncture is believed to have been used as early as 200 BC.BC was fully developed. The first acupuncture needles were pieces of metal coated with verdigris. A round side was used to press and massage the skin surface at various points. The pointed side was used to pierce under the skin. The points/body paths that were described back then largely correspond to the meridians known today.

According to our Western understanding, the undisputed positive influence of acupuncture on many illnesses is naturally not explained by the flow of Qi, but rather by the increased release of pain-relieving endorphins, neurotransmitters and tissue hormones that promote relaxation.

Medicinal plants, esp. Medicinal mushrooms

Medicinal plants play an important role in TCM. They are tailored to the individual constitution of the patient in complex recipes with numerous active ingredients and are often administered as tea. Similar to Ayurveda, every medicine in TCM has certain properties, which are made up of the tastes (sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter, etc.), the meridian on which it acts, and the temperature.

Medicinal mushrooms, which have been used in TCM for thousands of years, are of particular importance among medicinal plants. The oldest official list of medicinal substances from the 29th century. Century BC, contains several species of mushrooms that were already used for therapeutic purposes back then. Reishi in particular was revered for its diverse therapeutic uses.

In 2013, the two authors Wu Xingliang and Mao Xiolan published the medicinal mushrooms of China with 835 types of medicinal mushrooms, over 500 with antitumor effects. They rely on over 2,400 scientific articles. Unfortunately, this work is still only available in Chinese.
You can find an excellent overview of the relevant medicinal mushrooms with many explanations and studies at

Qigong and Tai Qi

These are meditative movement techniques that consciously connect movement, breathing and mind and are intended to resolve Qi disorders. In Ayurveda, these techniques have their counterpart in yoga and meditation.

Massages (Tuina)

As in Ayurveda, massages play a major role in TCM - even if they are significantly less "oily" - and also serve to dissolve energy blockages.


Here, too, there is a great parallel to Ayurveda - because both teachings see food as medicine. However, differences become clear in detail: while in Ayurveda the type-appropriate food is crucial in terms of balancing the doshas, ​​in TCM everything revolves around energy flows. TCM assumes that food can have energetic healing effects. Some foods have a cooling effect (e.g. yogurt), some have a heating effect (e.g. chili); Some foods reduce Qi, some increase Qi.

Certain tastes have an influence on certain organs: acidic foods, for example, stimulate the liver, bitter foods the heart. Spicy foods stimulate the lungs, salty foods stimulate the kidneys, and sweet foods stimulate the pancreas and spleen.

Legal consumer information

German and European case law wants to protect consumers from supposedly misleading claims about effectiveness. The statements made here refer to the original Ayurvedic and TCM texts. This ancient knowledge, which is thousands of years old, is based on experiences that are passed on from generation to generation. It is not intended to claim that the products described here have an effect in the sense of western medicine. All products are nutritional supplements; they are not medications and have no medical effect. If you are sick and need medical care, please contact your doctor or pharmacist.

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