Oddly enough, Hippocrates beliefs were not too far off from an alternative style of medicine that has slowly crept into the mass population worldwide. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses a wide range of natural healings, which date back long before western physicians sought their medical beliefs. In contrast with Western Medicine, the history is not as complicated because the beliefs, which became the foundation for this unconventional style of healing, is still used to this day.
The Ancient Chinese Philosophers used to sit in beautiful gardens, where they viewed humans as a miniature universe (Beinfield 29). For humans were not separate from the earth, but a part of it, in which each creature contained a smaller microcosm within themselves. Chinese Medicine is based on Taoist beliefs and Yin-Yang theory. (Kaptchuk 172).
Taoism (pronounced Dowism) is a religion and the foundation of TCM. The definition cannot be translated, but the concept of Yin and Yang is as close of an explanation as one can conceive. Essentially, the Yin Yang symbol states that as long as everything is in balance, harmony exists. However, if one overpowers another, disarray occurs. Each part of the symbol has a dot of the opposite color within, which means one influences the other. For example, without life, there would not be death, or without night, there would not be day. Everything has its natural end and is influenced by its opposite. Yet, Taoism is not the opposites of a phenomenon, but where the two become equal. Chuang Tzu (399-295 b.c.e), who was a Taoist philosopher states,
"The 'this' is also the 'that'. The 'that' is also the 'this'. Is there really any distinction between 'this' and 'That'? When 'this' and 'that' have no opposites, there is the very axis of Tao”(Kaptchuk 172-173).
Furthermore, when the elements of nature are in balance, life is harmonic and everything flows smoothly, like wind blowing across a plane. However, when the forces of nature are disturbed or upset and imbalance occurs. This imbalance, with each individual, is the primary cause for sickness, disease or discomfort. Therefore, the practice of TCM is to find the connection of the imbalance from the smaller ecosystem and its surroundings, and restores the body to harmony with in itself and the outside world. This differs from the West science because the human body is seen as a machine made up of mechanical parts. Each mechanical element can be replaced and/or removed if necessary. Western doctors see the body separate from nature. Thus, they study how the machine works and simply remove the nonfunctioning element, and put the machine back in working order (Beinfield 19). Chinese see the human as an entity, not only to itself, but also with its’ surroundings within and without. Therefore, simply removing an organ or limb should be the absolute last resort, and only performed when the true cause of ailment has been determined.