Therapeutic principles are based on the philosophy of the body as a whole entity, and the treatment should depend on syndrome differentiation. Therapeutic principles determine the treatment method and herb prescription. Therapeutic methods are different for every patient. The TCM practitioner must have a rational, sequential treatment plan to account for primary and secondary conditions, and for acute and chronic conditions.
CWM focuses on the solid infection “focus,” and then tries to kill, eliminate, obstruct, or replace it, using surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. The doctor plays the major role. TCM searches and dredges for stagnated Qi or blood. The TCM practitioner assists the patient in expelling stagnation. For instance, if syndromes result from stagnated heat and damp, treatments increase body resistance and expel stagnation to return to the original circulation. The TCM practitioner may use acupuncture or herbs to help, but the patient plays the important role. Within this context, these methods reinforce Qi or blood circulation and expel Yin–Yang stasis. Sometimes emesis and purging are used to expel the stasis caused by pathogens. This is achieved by a rigorous analysis of differentiated diagnosis.
TCM does not regard the disease, virus, or cancer as a vicious enemy to be killed directly, but rather finds a way to “let them go!” or to co-exist peacefully with them. It effects a mental change, subconscious release of a “scar” and hatred, and calm readjustment. For example, cancer, which easily mutates and resists drugs, is not ideally suited to a single treatment or drug. In many cases, Oriental medicine or Qigong is able to enhance internal energy and self-healing. This facilitates treatment with a changed infection focus, pain relief, life quality improvement, or even a cure.
Disease is an intricate, pathological process characterized by an ongoing confrontation between healthy Qi and pathogens. Pathological changes are mild-to-severe stagnation of normal circulation, and are influenced by the climate, season, geography, and patient constitution, among other factors. It is important to distinguish a disease’s nature from its appearance, to treat its root (Ben, ) cause of stasis, to readjust Yin and Yang, regulate Zang–Fu organs’ function, return regular circulation, and harmonize Qi and blood with specific climate or seasonal factors.
The nature of the disease and the pathological process have a close relationship with the patient’s constitutional characteristics. This refers to the holistic properties of individual patients; we should keep it in mind all the time and try to improve the intrinsic health weakness as a basic effort.
CWM and TCM have different principles, and CWM standards may not suitably apply to TCM diagnosis and treatment other than as a reference. TCM does not measure the percentage of killed viruses. For example, TCM-treated AIDS patients feel recovered and even return to full-time jobs, although the AIDS virus may still remain in their bodies.