Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) comprises a complete health care system consisting of several integrated modalities, including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tai chi and qigong, and food therapy.
Contrary to Western diets, TCM dietary therapy considers the energetic qualities of the foods and how the food can influence the long term health of the individual.
Energy (qi) and the fluid necessary to maintain the body's functions are derived through diet. Consumption of bad food eventually results in adverse health conditions, decreased defensive qi and invasion of external pathogens.
An inadequate diet can lead to alterations in health by creating an energy imbalance and leading to stagnation of qi flow. Eating the right foods can not only help maintain health, but health can even be restored with a therapeutic diet.
A balanced TCM diet means eating foods of various flavors, energies and organic actions and selecting foods according to individual constitution. When the diet becomes imbalanced, the flavors become excess or deficient, which causes disharmony in associated organ systems. Diet therapy advocates counterbalancing flavors to restore balance.
Besides flavors, foods have thermal properties. Some foods are neutral while others are cool, cold, warm, or hot. Hot conditions can be treated with cool foods, while cold conditions can be warmed by hot foods. Deficiencies and excesses can be corrected with foods and yin and yang balance can be restored.
Exterior conditions can be treated with foods that move outward and warm the exterior, reducing fever and causing perspiration. These are often foods that are sweet and pungent flavored. Interior conditions can be treated with foods which move inward, are cold energetically and often are bitter or salty foods. Exterior foods tend to be yang while interior foods tend to be yin.
While changes may not occur immediately, over time dietary therapy can be a primary factor for health maintenance. Food provides a constant, daily medication rate that nothing else can achieve for overall wellness.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine program includes advanced classes in TCM dietary therapy. Courses teach energetic properties of food, the classification of various foods within the context of TCM, specific applications of dietary therapy to TCM disease classification, and medicinal diet using herbal medicine.
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500.