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History

The Chinese approach to health and wellness is based on the experiences of Traditional Chinese Medicine, also known as TCM (simplified Chinese: 中医; traditional Chinese: 中醫; pinyin: zhōng yī). This system includes a considered an alternative medical system in much of the western world but an established health system throughout East Asia. TCM practices include such treatments as herbal medicine (中药), acupuncture, dietary therapy, and both Tui na and Shiatsu massage as well as physical exercises. This section is focus on health and wellness. The larger problems of dealing with illnesses and other maladies is beyond the scope of this section.

 

Chinese Approach to Health

The use of physical exercise as a therapeutic technique can be traced as far back as 2,000 BC. In the period of T'an Yao (2360 BC), there were records of people using a form of dance as a therapy for arthritis. Around 1,000 BC, there were descriptions of massage and exercises to relieve pain and improve joint motion. During the Warring Period (403-221 BC), there was the first records mentioning Dao Yin (Taoist) and Ta Na (breathing) exercises as effective techniques for the prevention and treatment of certain ailments. During the Han Dynasty (25-220AD), Hua To (华陀, 141-203 AD) was credited as being the first surgeon in Chinese history and wrote extensively on the human anatomy. He is also credited with use of anesthesia during his treatments. He advocated physical exercise to improve resistance to disease; the set of exercises was called Wu Chin Shi (Five Animal Play) which imitates the movements of tigers, deer, bears, monkeys and birds. Exercises as a vital component of maintaining health was established since those times.