Traditional Chinese medicine exhibition

Traditional Chinese medicine exhibition

Sokolniki Museum and Educational Centre
Sokolniki Museum and Educational Centre, Moscow, Russia, exhibit hall 7a

For thousands of years Chinese healers have been treating human body as a single and entirely interdependent system. Human wellbeing depends on the circulation of life energy – qi, and the balance between feminine yin and masculine yang energies. Failures in the energy exchange manifest as diseases or disorders.

The keystone of traditional Chinese medicine is treating the cause, rather than the symptom, restoring body balance. The methods introduced by traditional Chinese medicine help treat more than 40 conditions, from asthma to ulcers. 

As of today, more than 440 thousand medical centres in the People's Republic of China, including 90% of public and private general hospitals, provide traditional medical services. Costs associated with traditional treatment are covered by the medical insurance, which is obligatory for all citizens of China. 

Key exhibition sections 

Diagnostics in traditional Chinese medicine:

  • Patient examination. Providing that any condition results from a balance failure, it is bound to manifest in appearance changes, which may at first seem irrelevant to patient's complaints.
  • Auscultation. Chinese doctors can literally identify a condition aurally, evaluating the sound of breathing, the pace or tone of voice.
  • Survey. Your doctor will enquire not only about well-being, but also the state of mind, desires and aspirations, relations with friends and family. Traditional Chinese medicine regards patient’s temper and character no less important than their physical condition.
  • Taking the pulse. Pulse rhythm can say a lot about patient’s condition. Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes 30 pulse scenarios that signify certain disorders.
  • Palpation. Chinese doctors will check muscles and joints, skin conditions, swellings or muscular cramps. Based on the collected data, the doctor understands if something is going wrong, and prescribes treatment meant to impact not the condition but the body as a whole. 

Methods of traditional Chinese medicine

Since there are no two men alike, the treatment is always customized. Basically, an individual approach is the cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine. The set of methods will be chosen based on the patient rather than the condition specifics; even herbal preparations, which are a well established practice in traditional Chinese medicine, will be individualized for every patient.

Traditional Chinese medicine includes dozens of methods, the most common ones are listed below:

  • Massage. Traditional Chinese medicine actively resorts to various massage techniques, including some exotic forms, such as Gua Sha (it employs a special jade massage tool) or tuina, which is similar to acupressure. Chinese massage focuses on the so-called meridians, or paths for Qi energy travelling inside the body. Chinese massage is effective for alleviating pain, swellings or inflammations through an in-depth impact on tissues, improving blood circulation and metabolism. In addition, it relieves muscle stress, which can lead to joint, spine, breathing or digestion conditions.
  • Vacuum therapy. Today vacuum massage is in extensive use in Western and cosmetic medicine, yet its roots lie in Ancient China. This form of massage employs variously sized cups, and its active part occurs as the cups are moved around the body to manipulate active points. From the Oriental medicine point of view, this massage enhances energy flows, while Western doctors claim that vacuum therapy builds up capillary vessels by removing cellular debris, and improves cellular respiration, which results in accelerated restoration of damaged tissues. Vacuum therapy fortifies body defences and is often used to prevent contagious diseases.
  • Acupuncture. Primarily traditional Chinese medicine is associated with acupuncture – the process of manipulating active points with very thin needles. There are more than 300 of them, each relating to a certain organ or system in the body. Acupuncture does not come with any discomfort for the needles are tiny and do not penetrate deeply. Quite the opposite, acupuncture can help control pain syndrome.
  • Moxibustion. Moxibustion consists of burning dried mugwort on particular points on the body. The tool has no contact with the body, serving only to warm.
  • Herbal therapy. Herbal treatment for various diseases. Many core Chinese herbs are adaptogens – natural herb products that increase the body's resistance to stress: enhance immune system, normalise blood pressure and blood sugar level, fortify defences, and get metabolism right. Herbal therapy in traditional Chinese medicine involves various herbal components, including ginseng, magnolia vine, motherwort, ginger or goji berries.
  • Qi gong exercise therapy. Qi gong helps harmonise the body and the spirit, enabling the free flow of Qi energy. From Western point of view, these exercises significantly improve oxygen supply to the brain and all systems and organs, enhance focus and performance efficiency, relieve muscle stress, and normalise blood pressure.
  • Diet. This is one of major pre-requisites for good health. The key about diet is the balance of tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and spicy. The process of choosing one's diet considers not only health conditions but also gender, age, and lifestyle. 

Traditional Chinese medicine is extremely popular not only in China – Western world has been expressing interest to the ancient treatment methods for decades now. Effectively all traditional Chinese medicine methods are non-invasive, cause no trauma and have limited negative side effects, nonetheless resulting in virtual health improvement. 

Project curator: Sokolniki Museum and Educational Centre, +7 (495) 995-05-95

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