Traditional Chinese Medicine or more commonly referred to as TCM has been the philosophy and theory of the Eastern culture for over five thousand years. The Chinese use the earth and all of its natural elements to bring harmony and balance back to the body. Unlike Western medicine, TCM does not treat the outward symptoms or diseases from the outside in, instead they use TCM as a way of life to maintain balance and prevent injury, illness or disease from the core or root of the disharmony. This is done by keeping our life energy or chi flowing harmoniously through the body, and when a disharmony occurs they can associate it with the specific organ that is being affected by using the two main cornerstones of TCM – the Yin and Yang principle, which is hot/cold, in/out, excess/deficient and the Five Element Theory, which is Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. It is a lifetime of balancing these elements to maintain homeostasis or balance ion the body, mind and spirit. Along with these two fundamental theories of TCM, they use a combination of natural and energetic methods such as acupuncture, acupressure, herbs, food therapies, tuina massage, tai chi and qigong to restore balance in the body. These are modalities you can learn and apply to your animal’s lives daily.
All living things embody Chi or life force energy. Chi is the energy that constantly flows through the body moving blood and fluid, nourishing, replenishing and protecting the body, bones and organs through the meridians. Chi, in nature, has two major aspects that are opposite, yet interdependent of each other and are constantly dividing and transforming into each other to keep balance. Harmonious flow of Chi is the goal of Chi. Chi holds a Yin and a Yang, (Fire and Water). These are its two major aspects that work constantly to be equal, which keeps the body, mind and soul balanced. Yin (Water like aspect) holds a downward energy presenting itself as colder, wet, dark in hue, deeper in nature and has density while Yang (Fire like aspect) is hot, dry, red, active and more transparent with an upward nature. When Yin and Yang are balanced the immune system is strong and internal organs function properly, but if Yin and Yang become imbalanced, illnesses can occur. Look at the patterns of disharmony to see if it is an excess – usually acute in nature or if it is a deficiency, which is usually chronic in nature to see how to bring the Yin and Yang back into balance. For example, if your dog has hot spots, purple tongue, and it is the middle of summer, by using the TCM chart you would know he has a Yang excess or a Yin deficiency and would feed your dog the Yin or Cold foods to tonify his system and cool it down.
Did you know Chi has many functions and six of the most general of these functions are to:
- Promote blood circulation and distribution of body fluids
- warm the body
- Defend the body from internal and external pathogens
- Control bodily functions
- Transform essential substances such as digestion transforms food into nutrients and body fluids transform into blood
- Nourish the body (Spleen turns food into nutrients for the organs, bones and tissues).
All of these functions are necessary for the continuous flow of chi through the body and for maintaining health. Chi is the spark that emanates Life! Understand what contributes to Chi being imbalanced:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is based on the process of change of the five elements.
- Change in the five elements is produced and related to the seasons of the year.
- The components of the five elements – Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood and Yin/Yang can determine what indications are going on with your animal and thus determine what organ, element, deficiency or excess is happening and what foods and herbs to feed.
- Each element has a season, climate, direction, color, emotion, orifice, smell, governed body part, and a pair of meridians that are associated with each element. When we apply the Five Element Theory, we look at the indicators of the animal to see what element is showing a deficient or excess condition.
- Deficient conditions should be treated with warm therapies and excessive conditions should be treated with cool therapies to bring balance back to normal.
- The most outward symptoms such as (eye) issues should be addressed by treating the most inward organ of that element (liver) and treat the liver as the root of the issue manifesting in the eye. TCM works inside out and outside in, thus the Yin/Yang.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a lifetime journey of learning, but to understand the basic principles of food therapies – (hot, neutral and cool foods and proteins), adapt to the constant seasonal changes by balancing Yin and Yang, you can promote a harmonious flow of energy (chi) and maintain a center of balance. This ounce of prevention can provide a long, healthy and happy life for our animals by following these simplified principles of the TCM diet, acupressure points, and the tuina massage techniques for our animals.
- Consider becoming a member of our Animal Heart & Soul Learning Center and learn all about TCM. Click here to learn more about the Animal Heart & Soul Learning Center.
- Click here to purchase the TCM food therapy charts.
Join our complimentary email newsletter to learn more about holistic animal care.