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Haitai Teachings

What is Kampo? Traditional Japanese Medicine

by Christal Burnette 03 Apr 2024 0 Comments

Different Types of Traditional Asian Medicine

Many people have heard of traditional Asian medicine, but not many know there are different types. There are two commonly known types and one unknown one. The two most common are Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM and Japanese Kampo. The third lesser known is Ryukyu Yakuzen, or traditional Okinawan medicine. Haitai focuses on Ryukyu Yakuzen.
However, first, to understand Ryukyu Yakuzen you must understand Japanese Kampo.
Well, what is Kampo? Kampo is traditional Japanese herbal medicine that has been used for centuries in Japan and other parts of East Asia. It is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and incorporates elements of Japanese culture and philosophy.

The Basics

Here is the breakdown of the basics of Kampo medicine.
  1. Diagnosis: Like TCM, Kampo diagnosis involves assessing a patient's physical symptoms, as well as their emotional and psychological state. Diagnosis is based on the principles of Yin and Yang, and the Five Elements, which are used to identify imbalances in the body.
  2. Herbal remedies: Kampo remedies are typically made from a combination of herbs, which are selected based on the patient's diagnosis and individual needs. The herbs used in Kampo are typically of high quality and are sourced from Japan and other parts of East Asia.
  3. Formulas: Kampo formulas are created by combining different herbs in specific ratios and proportions. Each formula is designed to address a specific pattern of disharmony in the body, such as liver Qi stagnation or kidney Yin deficiency.
  4. Treatment principles: Kampo treatment principles are based on the idea of balancing and regulating the body's Qi (energy) and blood. Treatment may involve using herbs to tonify (increase energy) or sedate (calm) specific organs or systems in the body.
  5. Safety: Kampo medicine has a strong emphasis on safety, and Kampo practitioners are trained to identify potential herb-drug interactions or adverse reactions. Kampo remedies are also subject to strict quality control measures to ensure their safety and efficacy.
Kampo medicine aims to treat the root cause of an illness, rather than just the symptoms, and takes into account the whole person, including their physical, emotional, and psychological state. It is a holistic approach to health and wellness that has been refined and developed over centuries and continues to be a part of the Japanese medical system.
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