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Traditional Chinese medicine facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a branch of traditional medicine from China. It is at least 3,500 years old. Treatments include herbal medicine, acupuncture, cupping, massage, and exercise. Since the methods of TCM are different from Western medicine, it is hard to find evidence that shows how safe or good TCM really is.

Many of the most important ideas in TCM are based on the teachings of Daoism. Based on the teachings of TCM, it is important to balance the five elements in a person's body: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each element also has something called yin and yang, or opposite values that must exist alongside each other rather than to overcome the other. The way to balance the yin and yang is to strengthen qi, or an invisible force that brings balance to the yin and yang. Knowing the five elements and the yin and yang is important because each organ of the body is related to one of the five elements. It is important to strengthen a person's qi because balancing the yin and yang of a person's organs is important for people to be healthy. The different treatments in TCM are made to bring balance to the elements in a person's body.

These ideas are similar to, but not the same as, the four temperaments, which was an widely-believed theory in European medicine before scientific medicine was created.

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