What Is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system that takes a deep understanding of the laws and patterns of nature and applies them to the human body. TCM is not “New Age,” nor is it a patchwork of different healing modalities. TCM is a complete medical system that has been practiced for more than five thousand years. At the heart of TCM is the tenet that the root cause of illnesses, not their symptoms, must be treated. In modern-day terms, TCM is holistic in its approach; it views every aspect of a person�body, mind, spirit, and emotions�as part of one complete circle rather than loosely connected pieces to be treated individually. The following is a brief introduction to some of the key terms and concepts in traditional Chinese medicine.

Major TCM Treatment Modalities

Often Western CAM practitioners and their patients or clients derive their understanding of TCM from acupuncture. However, acupuncture is only one of the major treatment modalities of this comprehensive medical system based on the understanding of Qi or vital energy. These major treatment modalities are:

  • Qigong: an energy practice, generally encompassing simple movements and postures. Some Qigong systems also emphasize breathing techniques.
  • Herbal Therapy: the use of herbal combinations or formulas to strengthen and support organ system function Acupuncture: the insertion of needles in acupoints to help Qi flow smoothly.
  • Acupressure: the use of specific hand techniques to help Qi flow smoothly.
  • Foods for Healing: the prescription of certain foods for healing based on their energy essences or energy signatures, not nutritional value.
  • Chinese Psychology: the understanding of emotions and their relationship to the internal organ systems and their influence on health.


Here are some recipe for different facial masks using all the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is easy to find the ingredients and make them in your home.

Moisturizing Mask
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • Mix the above ingredients into a paste. Smooth over your face, being careful to avoid the delicate under eye area, and relax for 5-10 minutes.
    • Option 1: add 5 drops of lavender to reduce redness and calm troubled skin and rosacea prone skin.
    • Option 2: add 1 drop of camphor, 2 drops of lavender, 1 drop of bergamot, and 1 drop of tea tree oil for acne prone skin.
    • Option 3: add cucumber slices under your eyes to moisten and soothe puffy tired eyes.
Nourishing Mask
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of cooked oatmeal
  • 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt
  • Mix the above ingredients into a paste, smooth onto face and relax for 5-10 minutes.
    • Leaves face feeling smooth and refreshed!
    • Gentle enough to use everyday before you shower.
Drying Mask (for oily skin types only)
  • 1 tablespoon of sea clay
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk or soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon green tea
  • Mix ingredients into a paste and smooth onto face. Relax for 5 -10 minutes.
    • Tightens pores and astringes excess oil.

Flowering Facial Steam

Mix together in a large bowl or pot:

  • 1 teaspoon Lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon Jasmine Green Tea
  • 1 teaspoon Chamomile flowers
  • 2-3 Rosebuds

Add 2-3 cups of boiling water and steam face for 1-2 minutes, follow with moisturizer or serum on damp skin. Use this combination 1 x week for 3 weeks between winter and spring to tone and soothe dry tired winter skin.