What is Balance Medicine?

I've had a number of folks ask me why we call our medicine "Balance Medicine". Let me thrill you with some etymology.

The official name of the medical system that houses acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and some other therapies such as cupping and guasha is "Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)". It was branded by the Chinese government in the 1960s and exported throughout the world. That's a story fraught with controversy and a story for another time. In most circles, our medicine, which has roughly 5000 years of documented history in China, is just called "Chinese Medicine."

The Mandarine name for Chinese Medicine looks like this: 中医. The second character, 医 (yi ), means medicine. The first character, 中 (zhong), tells us that it is Chinese.


A quick aside...

The most common Mandarine name for China is 中国. Notice the character 中 (zhong) again followed by the character for country, 国 (guo). 中 (zhong) is often used as a reference to China, but the character literally means center or middle. China's name, 中国, literally means Middle Country...


中 (zhong) is a philosophical term that has shaped Chinese culture since ancient times. It represents ideas like moderation and balance, and it illuminates a life-path that avoids the excesses that tend to lead to poor health and misfortune. The middle is a sweet spot between extremes.


This idea has been an important part of Chinese culture and philosophy since their inception, important enough to name a country after it.

Chinese Medicine comes directly from ancient Chinese culture. Its foundational text, the Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic, was simply an application of ancient Chinese cultural and philosophical concepts to the practice of healing disease. It follows, then, that the character 中 (zhong) should carry the same meaning in Chinese Medicine that it does in Chinese philosophy. The most appropriate translation of our medicine's name, therefor, would be Middle Medicine, Moderation Medicine, or Balance Medicine.


You'll hear Hillary and I use all of these names, but the one we choose most is Balance Medicine. Balance is a metaphor people can relate to. They've felt what it's like to be off-balance physically and can easily apply that feeling to other areas like emotions, relationships, eating choices, and their environment.


Our job is to restore balance in people's lives. And our medicine has just the right tools, and the right history, to do it.


Warm regards,


Jonathan


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