The basic theories of TCM are simple yet complex. Chinese medicine has a long history. It is a summary of experiences of Chinese people in their struggles against diseases. It is an important part of Chinese culture.
Traditionally, Chinese physicians were trained as apprentices. Following the master, these novices saw how certain plant extracts and needling techniques cured patients of their illnesses or alleviated their symptoms. Without the benefit of microscopes and xrays, masters resorted to prevalent Taoist philosophies of those days to explain how the treatment worked.
Till this day, Chinese medicine is still taught and explained in terms of balancing yin and yang. Disease is still described as heat or cold syndromes, excess or deficiency syndromes, interior or exterior syndromes. Wind, fire, summer heat, cold, dryness, dampness are considered as possible pathogens.
The traditional way to treat these illnesses, which may have their corresponding medical diagnoses, is to clear heat, drain excess, tonify deficiencies etc. As TCM diagnosis is very different from Western medical diagnosis, the most effective use of Chinese medicine is still based on traditional Chinese diagnosis.