Traditional Chinese Medicine as Applied to All Life

    Traditional Chinese Medicine as Applied to All Life

Balance in all things

by Susan Pipes D. TCMP

 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest holistic and preventative healing systems that is still in practice today.  Believed to be over 3000 years old it has a rich and fascinating history that explains the relationship of health and all life to the dynamic forces of nature.

Created as a preventative health care system it could adapt to changes that manifested in the body.  This philosophy and healing system evolved to explain treat and prevent illness and disease using nature’s elements and influences.  This holistic view of all life sought to bring balance and harmony between living things and the universe.

The ancient doctors were paid when the patient was healthy; if the patient was sick the doctor no longer received his fee.  He would then treat the person with the four distinct methods of treatment to bring balance and harmony back in the body.

Herbology – the use of plants and nature’s gifts taken internally or sometimes applied externally to bring balance in the body

Acupuncture – using fine pre-sterilized needles placed at certain pre determined points along meridians or channels in the body to bring about balance

Manipulative therapy ( tui na massage, qi gong, tai chi) Tui na uses  manual massage techniques to unblock and move qi.  Qi gong and and tai chi are special exercise techniques placing a focus on breathe and the movement of qi.

Food cures (diet therapy) –  foods and meal preparation techniques  used to assist and support the body according to the principles of  yin/yang, excess/deficiency, interior/exterior and warm and cold as they apply to the organ system

TCM was originally based on the theory of yin, yang and qi.  This was later expanded to include the 5 elements or five phases theory which is based on the 5 elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water.  Although this theory was easier to explain it is very complex and is still used today as a basis for differentiation and treatment or healing.

Yin Cold Inward stillness dark
Yang Warm Outward Movement sunny

Yin and yang are present in all life and are so interconnected and related that one cannot survive without the other.  They are constantly changing and reflecting the complex patterns that can occur in the body at any given time.  The ancient Chinese believe that the key to mastering health is to regulate the yin and yang of the body.

This was done by careful observation and knowledge of qi, blood and jin ye (body fluids).  Qi is known today as energy but actually means manifested life force energy as given from the heaven and the earth.   There are many types of qi in the body and a disruption can cause a disharmony changing the careful balance of yin and yang.  Everything is related and is based on the free flow of qi. If you have a blockage then disharmony will exist, remove the blockage and then balance will return.

There is a saying in Chinese medicine that “qi is the mother of blood and blood is the mother of  qi”   This statement  illustrates  the complexities and simplicity of this  healing system.  What does that mean? It means they are interdependent and inseparable.

Although chinese medicine can be very effective it is important to address what the body is presenting by paying close attention to the signs and symptoms  When you or your animal companion go to see your health care provider  she will take your  pulses,  observe your tongue and classify yin and yang signs and symptoms.  The six external pathogens start with the big brother wind; he can bring cold, summer heat, dryness, dampness or fire.

She will carefully ask you about the seven emotions that are related to the organs.

Emotions Joy Anger Worry Pensiveness Sadness Fear Shock
Organ Heart Liver Spleen & Lungs Spleen Lung Kidney Kidney & Heart


Further investigation will reveal the three treasures:  essence, qi and shen (spirit). Together these qualities reflect the health, strength, happiness and mental qualities of clarity and stability.   Good health is dependent on this harmonious balance and interaction.  One of the first things your Dr. will notice is the quality of your shen.  It is said that the shen lives in the mind but will shows its sparkle. The importance of the health of the body mind and spirit are valued in this holistic approach.


If there is a collapse or complete separation of yin and yang then the jing or essence and the shen (spirit) will also leave each other.  If they cannot live harmoniously then death will occur. I have heard people say that they have no yin or qi, and of course that is impossible.  This quality is reflected in the 8 principles and would be called a yin or qi deficiency.

The eight principles are used to understand the nature of the disharmony, they will not all be seen together or even be involved.

The Eight Principles










It is not unusual for an older dog or person to exhibit qi deficiency or kidney yin deficiency.  The Dr. may want to nourish kidney yin and tonify qi using acupuncture and herbs or a different treatment method.

The internal organ concept is complex and as we have seen can involve emotions, tissues and sense organs according to this Five Element Theory Chart.  It is important to note that this does not necessarily refer to the actual organ but to the organ system and how it works.  We will learn more about the organs and how they relate to the meridians or channels later.

Western medicine as we know it today tends to focus on the treatment of symptoms (biao) where TCM is root (bao) based on will go the source cause of the disharmony or disease.  Western medicine is more useful for first aid and surgery while Chinese medicine may bring longer lasting results with chronic or multi layered conditions.  Acupuncture is proven to be very effective for not only pain but for many conditions according to the WHO (World Heath Org.)  The good news is that you can receive the benefits of both carefully applying the principles and treatment methods.

It is much easier to maintain balance than to try and bring balance back to a body with a multi layered illness.  Chinese medicine and acupuncture is all about balance, in the home, in health and in life. People are now taking an active role in the preventative care and maintenance with not only their own health but in their animals as well.

Living a balanced life brings good health and harmony.  Living a life of moderation is key to keeping this equation.

We have seen how TCM seeks to obtain balance but how do we achieve that?  Well, it is not a mystery, it is a mastery!  A mastery of one’s self and all the theories.   When we live a balanced life we affect everything in it.  We have become the one that can affect the whole.

Achieving balance is sometimes as simple as making changes to your diet, eating steamed vegetables and nourishing yin foods. Learning to express emotions, eating  and working in moderation will keep the free flow of qi moving and avoid a blockage or cause the emotions to go inward and affect the interior. Today we live in a society of excess so it is up to us to maintain the much needed balance in our own lives.

Susan Pipes offers guided intuitive animal communication, long distance reiki and energy healing as well as other holistic therapies.  She is a Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Reiki Master who loves to share insights that help towards a balanced life. Discover the lessons that you and your animals journey here to help with.  You can contact Susan at   or visit