The Tao and the Taoist Healing Arts

Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy which is based on living in balance with nature. Despite its ancient roots, its emphasis on change, spontaneity, adaptation and acceptance, mean that this philosophy is just as applicable to modern life as it ever was. In fact, it is through applying Taoist principles to our everyday lives that we can begin to understand its essence, finding ourselves profoundly affected by the process.

The Tao (Yuang Tati), or the Supreme Spirit, is nothing within nothing and yet it is both the container and the contents of all things. The energy of the Tao creates and its destiny governs all living things. Every living thing has its own Tao, or inner nature. By following the Tao and living in accordance with natural laws, we embark on a journey of self-cultivation. Via practising stilling the mind and unblocking our emotions, through the art of T’ai Chi for example, our true self begins to emerge and take form.

Taoists do not believe in luck or coincidence, as everything is ordained to be by the Tao. Everything, including the fact that you are reading this at the present moment, is part of your destiny. However, Taoism is not a religion, and does not require temples, scriptures or even words, as these distance us from the pure experience of following nature.

Yin and yang are the opposing but complimentary forces from which everything in the natural world is comprised. The dynamic interplay between the positive, expansive and light (yang) with the negative, contractive and dark (yin) entities in all things, cause the universe to be constantly changing. Although each force tries to overwhelm the other, they are inextricably linked as one cannot exist without the other. Also, once a force reaches its extreme it will become its opposite and each force contains and nurtures its opposite. Therefore, the natural equilibrium between yin and yang is infinite.

The five elements (Wu Hsing) refer to the five inter-related processes which form the basis of life. As everything in nature has this duality between yin and yang, then even these forces have two sides and a neutral part between the two. These elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water both compliment and oppose one another. As all plant and animal life is based on the intricate balance between these elements, it follows that this natural system also applies to humans.

Chinese Taoist medicine has shown that if these five elements are well balanced then the person will remain in good health. However, if an imbalance in these elements is created, due to a stressful lifestyle or poor diet for example, then illness will follow. The Taoists have eight healing arts, which are based on this natural system. It is said that in approximately 12,000BC a selected group of Chinese people were taught a variety of arts by the "Sons of Reflected Light" (Fankuang Tzu); a race of people who were reported to be over seven foot tall wearing unusual clothing. These healing arts were only a part of their teachings, and they became known as the ‘Eight Strands of the Brocade’ (Pa Chin Hsien). These are as follows:

1. Natural health dietary therapy (Ch'ang Ming)
2. Herbal therapy (Ts'so Tao)
3. Thermology or thermogenesis (Wen Chiech'u)
4. Taoist massage (T'ui-Na or Anmo)
5. Acupuncture (Hsia Chen Pien)
6. Acupressure or spot pressing (Tien Chen)
7. Physical calisthenics (T'i Yu)
8. The Way of Occlusion (Ch'ili Nung)

This website is designed to give you a flavour of Taoist philosophy and some information about where you can practice the Taoist Arts. As you embark on your own path, you will inevitably want to find out more from others and discover more for yourself. If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to email me.