The energetic and the esoteric are large parts of the classical methods of Chinese medicine. In past times students would have studied the nature of Qi and its movements within both themselves and their environment. Personal cultivation forms a large part of a practitioners daily routine and Qi was seen as something which could be built up, connected with and utilised in practice. In short a therapist who does not understand his or her own Qi are essentially working blind in practice. In modern times there has been a move to disregard these aspects of practice and that is fine for those who wish to work in a modernised fashion but many practitioners and patients are searching for more classical ways of viewing the body.
The classical view of human existence recognises human kind as treading a path of ‘destiny’ which is known as the line of Ming (命). A practitioners Ming is an integral part of their health and many forms of disease are a result of a person’s disjointed connection to Ming. On top of this there is the added complication of Xing (性) or ‘nature’ which is a result of the balance that exists between the various souls and spirits of humanity. The classical therapist would study both Xing and Ming and seek to integrate these into their diagnostic process. Sensitivity and awareness of Qi flow was studied until intuitive understanding and energetic palpation also became important tools for treating imbalance.
Other aspects to take into account include environmental factors, astrological effects and the spirit world; all important facets of life within the classical Daoist view of existence.
Within the Xiantian College we teach students the TCM methodology but also explore the classical skills of Chinese medicine. When the energetic body is studied we learn the theory of TCM but also the esoteric theories of ACM in order to enable students to work with their patients in a more classical manner. Students must work towards developing a tangible experience of the nature of Qi and build a working knowledge of the way on which Qi and spirit move according to various influencing factors. At later stages in the course the nature of the spirit work is studied along with subjects such as possession giving a glimpse into some of the older ways of viewing life.
An Integrated Approach
As students move deeper into the training they will begin to understand the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the two modalities, ancient and modern; this will help them to select the best approach to treating their patients ills. In summary, TCM works very well for more physical conditions and various internal imbalances whilst ACM methods are very effective for spiritual conditions, emotional issues and more complex diseases.
At the current time we are including ACM within the three year long Diploma course we teach but in time we will offer modules from this training as standalone courses. We are doing this because we are aware that many TCM trained practitioners are keen to study many of the older theories.