The Eight Limbs of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are a series of tools that you regularly practice in order to help you stay well.
From these limbs you can see the body of TCM is preventative. The 8 limbs are listed in order of importance, the top being of most benefit, the bottom of least benefit for maintaining a healthy life. We can also see that TCM is holistic, in that it involves keeping body, mind and spirit in harmony.
The first of these steps you can do on your own with some teaching. At Hoku we can teach you meditation, pranayama, Qi Gong, and coach you on Chinese Diet Therapy.
- Mind and Spirit techniques: meditation techniques, prayer, doing what gives you joy, following a spiritual practice
- Physical Health: Exercise such as Yoga, Tai Qi, Qi Gong, and walking
- Chinese Diet Therapy: Eating according to your (diagnosed) Chinese medical “Pattern” or constitution, and according to the Chinese 5 elements. In the modern era this would be eating seasonal healthy organic whole foods;
- Feng Shui: Living in accordance to the Ba Gua and the Chinese 5 Elements, or at least having a harmonious uncluttered environment around you;
- Astrology: Having guidance in order to learn your strengths and weaknesses so that you can deal with predicted future challenges. Perhaps counselling and psychology has become the new astrology for the West.
- Tui Na massage, cupping and Gua Sha: to allow the smooth flow of Qi in the meridians, fascia, muscles, tissues, and organs
- Acupuncture: to prevent illness or return your body to balance/homeostasis
- Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: herbs are given to prevent illness or correct early stage pattern imbalance. If not successful early on they are given to treat more advanced disease
In the Modern World we can add more limbs but these tend to have side effects:
- Vitamins and Supplements
- Pharmaceuticals and Biologicals
- Radiation and Surgery
It is important to notice that the traditional steps 1 – 5 are steps that you can learn to do yourself with the help of a teacher or counsellor. Steps 6 – 8 require a practitioner.