The TCM Approach to Healing

Relationship Experts

To treat a person effectively, TCM practitioners are required to understand all the relationships that can impact a person’s health and well-being, as well as how to guide the person to discover their purpose. That’s a big job! The visible disease or illness in front of the practitioner is a symptom of the invisible reality waiting to be addressed. This invisible reality is the energy field, or Qi field, where everything is interrelated.

Skilled TCM practitioners must be relationship experts. They must have an understanding of the relationship between the external and the internal; the body and the mind, the body and spirit. They need to comprehend the relationships between the body and many external things: Nature, environment, food, family, work and more. And they need to see the individual patient as a dynamic web of interconnected relationships. Modern science calls this concept inseparability.

Different Frameworks

Eastern and Western paths use different frameworks to help patients. Western practitioners often use devices that can transfer three-dimensional information to two-dimensional data, such as X-rays, MRIs, CT or PET scans, or blood tests. These pictures and data help to give a more complex understanding of the physical body. However, is it really a complete picture?
When information is transferred from a higher dimension to a lower one (in this case, the 3-D body becomes a 2-D X-ray), it becomes diluted, even hidden. Unless you know where and how to look, this information can stay hidden. In using their diagnostic skills, many excellent Western doctors add their own intuition about a diagnosis and best treatment options for their patients. The most sensitive practitioners in all walks of contemporary medicine have great appreciation for medicine as both an art and a science.
TCM starts at the opposite end of the examination process, by looking at external signs the patient’s body presents.  While TCM may also look at the two-dimensional pictures, the practitioner guides questions to determine how well the internal organ systems are functioning and to help better understand the problem’s root cause. TCM also applies the fourth dimension of time to gain more information.


Did you know that your body has its own 24-hour clock? Each organ is “on duty” for a specific two-hour period. During this period, it is responsible for managing the body’s functions. Time is an essential factor relating to the space of an organ and any condition. Many people wake up between 1:00 and 3:00 a.m. with a headache that disrupts their sleep. They go for many tests and visit many doctors, but their tests show no evidence of a problem. So, they are perfect, right? Not really. They know their headache and sleep problems are real. So, why does this condition continue? There is evidence of the headache’s source; it’s just not in the places where contemporary medicine is trained to look. The cause is still in the energy field.
In looking at our internal 24-hour energy cycle, we see that 3:00 a.m. relates to the handoff of the Liver meridian to the Lung meridian. The meridian is saying, “Over to you, Lung, now you’re in charge of making sure everything runs well.” If you wake up at this time with a headache on the left side, a TCM practitioner can diagnose which organ is out of balance. In this case, it’s the Liver’s partner, the Gallbladder. While both organs may be fine, the time and location of the headache serve as clues to its source. Here, the body is indicating the Gallbladder’s Qi is unbalanced, so the organ isn’t functioning well. The headache is like having your car’s warning light come on. It indicates a deeper problem. This left-sided headache hasn’t progressed yet to something that can be measured with lab tests.
The invisible is always more powerful than the visible.

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If you like this perspective, explore another blog: The Visible and Invisible: Things Your Body Accepts.