Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the great systems of medicine of the world, with an unbroken tradition going back to the 3rd century BC.
Because of its systematic approach and clinical effectiveness, TCM has for centuries had a very great influence on the theory and practice of medicine in the East, and more recently has grown rapidly in popularity in the West. It still forms a major part of healthcare provision in China, and is provided in state hospitals alongside western medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine includes all oriental traditions emerging from Southeast Asia that have their origins in China.
Practitioners may work within a tradition that comes from Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan or Korea. Traditional Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system that is capable of treating a very wide range of conditions. It includes herbal therapy, acupuncture, dietary therapy, and exercises in breathing and movement (tai chi and qi gong). One or several of these may be employed in the course of treatment.
The tradition as a whole places great emphasis on lifestyle management, in order to prevent disease before it occurs. Traditional Chinese Medicine recognises that health is more than just the absence of disease, and it has a unique ability to maintain and enhance our capacity for well-being and happiness.