Born and raised in mainland China, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is something that I can’t be more familiar with. Whenever people catch a cold, have a fever, or have an ulcer in the mouth after consuming too much spicy food, the first place they will go to seek help is the Chinese herbal soup shop. However, many of us have never studied TCM in a systemic manner. Almost all we know about TCM is from our parents or people of older generation. We learn TCM in daily life and it’s immersed in our life.
I first got in touch with traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) when I was a senior student in undergraduate school. I was then deeply fascinated by the philosophy behind all the medical principles in TCVM. One of the most basic and most well-known principles is that everything in the world can be divided into Yin and Yang, even Yin or Yang itself can be further divided into Yin and Yang. Generally, Yang represents energy and warmth and Yin represents darkness and coldness. For example, every day has daytime (Yang) and nighttime (Yin). However, dawn is the Yin part of daytime and afternoon is the Yang part of daytime. Just like everything else in life, there is no definite black or white.
No doubt that lots of people are questioning the science behind TCVM, but on the other hand, it demonstrates to us its effectiveness with numerous cases. As a veterinary student, of course I agree that everything should be evidence-based, but still there could be things we are not able to totally discover and somehow they make sense in many ways.
I am taking a few summer jobs and am too overwhelmed to handle some of my work. I try not to think too much about work but still sleep poorly. When I read the TCVM book, everything seems to be clear – huge emotional stress leads to Liver Qi stagnation, which then turns into Fire and does harm to the Heart, resulting in restlessness, insomnia and other spiritual disorders. I was totally amazed by this explanation. Frankly speaking, I would love to see that, in the future, whenever people are satisfied with however TCM has helped them, they say “Oh man, TCM is a great science,” instead of “Oh man, TCM is magic.”
I am still exploring this unique and traditional treasure of my own culture. Whether I believe it or not, from a scientific standpoint, at least I would be open minded before I can make a more knowledgeable decision.