Traditional Chinese Medicine

Contributor: Brian Anthony. Lesson ID: 12151

Many people are afraid of needles or at least find them very uncomfortable. How about a handful of needles at a time? When you stop wincing, read on to discover an ancient and unusual form of healing!


World, World Cultures

Social Studies
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Suppose you went to the doctor, and after examining you carefully to understand why you were so sick, she said she would stick approximately twenty-five tiny needles into your skin. What would you say?

If you go to Greece, you will no doubt sample the Greek food.

The same would apply if you visited Mexico — you would be tempted to try authentic Mexican cooking.

  • Would you go to a place just to try out their traditional forms of medicine?

Some places have their own traditional forms of medicine that developed centuries ago. Southern India, for example, has a medical system known as Ayurveda, and many people travel to that region just to get treated using Ayurvedic treatments. Most places in the world developed their own ways to treat illness throughout history, and over time, many of those systems disappeared and were replaced by modern medicine.

The ancient system of Traditional Chinese Medicine continues to thrive in the modern world, and Chinese medical treatments fetch a lot of money for their practitioners, even in cities across the United States!

Learn more about the concepts behind Traditional Chinese Medicine. As you watch a brief video about the ancient theory behind Traditional Chinese Medicine, write down answers to the following questions:

  • How does the speaker describe the five elements?
  • What does "nature" have to do with this system of medicine?
  • How are these elements related to human health?

Now, watch the Jennifer Raye video, Chinese Medicine Basics :: 5 Elements Overview:


You can also read more about the five-elements theory using this chart, Classification of Things According to the Theory of the Five Elements, courtesy of Traditional Chinese Medicine World Foundation. Share your answers to the questions above with your parent or teacher, then reflect on the following questions and discuss together:

  • How is this kind of approach different from regular modern medicine?
  • What do you think regular medical doctors would think of this approach to medicine?
  • Do you think traditional or folk medicine can be effective? Why or why not?

Most modern medicine is based on scientific discoveries of the past couple centuries. For example, the idea that bacteria cause disease is a pretty new idea and did not exist in the ancient world. The treatments used in Chinese medicine are just as interesting as the theory behind them.

In the Got It? section, delve into some of the treatments you would expect to receive in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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