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Traditional Medicine

Chinese therapy began over 2,000 years ago, in the era of the Warring Empires. It was a time when China was divided into many clashing fiefdoms and kingdoms. With the endless disputes between these regions, it is no wonder that a search for solutions to end the strife was carried out. The area of medicine and cures were an important aspect of this search for solutions.

Two schools of thought - Confucianism and Taoism - expressed mutual views on harmony and how it was to be achieved. Harmony was interpreted as the interaction of opposite forces, such as the adjustment of human behavior to ecological and social conditions. If harmony was interfered, the disorder would then result in social or physical illness. At a time when little was known on subjects of human anatomy and physiology, the theories of harmony provided points of reference towards the rising of the medical field in ancient China.

Traditional Chinese medicine is often criticized as primitive and futile. Most foreigners relate acupuncture to the Chinese style of treatment, which is partly the case, but not necessarily accurate. Traditional Chinese medicine entails more than just acupuncture. The knowledge of remedies is an important factor. Chinese doctors treat patients with numerous types of massages and chiropractic, as well as breathing and movement therapies. Taijiquan (shadow-boxing) and qigong (breathing therapy) are examples of the latter.

In the streets of Hong Kong, rows of herbal shops and Chinese pharmacies sell herbs and produce that make equally effective remedies for certain illnesses and diseases. For example, giou qize, a small and oval-shaped fruit, carmine red with a rather bitter taste is used to relieve congestion of the liver and for getting rid of anger.

In traditional Chinese pharmacies, there are undue amounts of animals, insects, and vegetables. Birds eggs, snakes wound up in spiral shapes, dried monkeys, toads, tortoises, centipedes, grasshoppers, dried fish, octopus, stag antlers, rhinoceros horns, and testicles and penises of various unfortunate and often endangered animals can be found in these pharmacies. Besides that, thousands of herbs, blossoms, roots, berries, mushrooms, and fruits are also available. All traditional Chinese medicine shops are well-stocked with ginseng roots, dried or immersed in alcohol and often shaped like a human figure.

Acupuncture, a common form of cure for physical ailments, is based on sticking needles into the renzhong point, which is between the top lip and nose. These clinics are typically similar to the normal Chinese pharmacies. In fact, sometimes the two combine to provide both services.

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