ORIENTAL MEDICINE is a complete system of medicine with a 2000-4000 year old history. Scholars debate from where exactly and when this ancient medicine originated. Many agree that the most modern form of the medicine began with shamanism at the beginning of the Bronze Age, during the Shang Dynasty (1766-1122 BC), while also having strong roots in Taoism. Two of the medicine's foundational books are the Huáng Dì Nèi Jīng (The Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon) dating to the 1st century BC and the Shāng Hán Lùn (Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders), written before the year 220 by the celebrated herbalist Zhang Zhong-jing.
Being a “complete system of medicine” means that it does not just consist of medicines one takes or techniques performed when one is ill. It consists of 8 “Limbs" and encompasses all of life and the whole being. These limbs are meditation, internal & external exercise, Feng Shui, cosmology, diet, body work (gua sha, cupping, shiatsu, bone setting, tui na), herbal medicine, and acupuncture. Oriental medicine, like other complete systems such as Ayurveda, also is based on fundamental principles upon which everything within the medicine lies. The concept of Yin and Yang is one fundamental principle and everything can be (fundamentally) explained in these terms.
Another principle of Oriental medicine is the concept of the macrocosm & microcosm. The ancient Chinese saw health as relating to phenomena such as the seasons, weather conditions, and heaven & earth and described the body in these terms, explaining that we are but a small version of the larger universe.
Over the time the medicine has evolved and today there are hospitals dedicated only to Oriental medicine as well as integrated hospitals applying both eastern and western medicines.