Taoism (Daoism) and Healing Practices
Taoism (Daoism) is a spiritual system that was developed in China about 6,000 years ago and has become very popular in the modern world. The word Taoism is derived from tuei meaning “pushing abnormality” and na – “taking out abnormality”. The combination of these words creates a meaning that involves “manual or implemental manipulation of meridian points to encourage, adjust and balance the natural functions of the three folds of the body”. The first Taoist healing techniques were described by the Yellow Emperor and they were the result of many years of observations of the human body. During such observations, Taoists could see that humans naturally and immediately clasped themselves after experiencing pain and this finding formed the basis of a healing practice that involves manual and implemental manipulation for pain. At the moment, the arsenal of manipulations is quite diverse.
Evidently, the scope of this research report does not allow providing an overview of all manipulations that constitute Taoism healing art. Thus, the report focuses on the Vital Energy Theory, one of the most common approaches to explain the nature of Taoism. The theory is analysed in terms of its key concepts and ideas, as well as compliance with the traditional medicine. The objective of drawing parallels between the Vital Energy Theory and modern healing techniques is to prove that due to its simplicity, spontaneity and authenticity, Taoism complies with the modern people’s aspiration for healthy and sustainable living.
History of Taoism
To understand the ideas underlying the Vital Energy Theory, it is recommended examining the history of Taoism development. According to Yu-Hsi, the main aspiration of individuals who choose Taoist philosophy is to “return to a genuine and simple way of life.” Evidently, the tendency to return to the simple way of life is typical for people at all times, but it becomes most noticeable these days, when capitalist philosophy makes the rhythm of life particularly stressful.
Understanding the history of Taoism involves comprehension of its key concept that is tao. According to Porkert, the word tao means the “way.” For quite a long time, philosophers tried to decipher the concept of the way, but there is no consensus on its meaning. Obviously, the most insightful description is provided by Lao Tzu admitting that tao is the ultimate creative principle that gives birth to the universe. This principle is multifaceted and involves such characteristics as being selfless, authentic and spontaneous. When applying to human life, these characteristics facilitate letting one’s ego go to achieve mental tranquility and enlightenment. The state of tranquility is the ultimate goal of Taoism, while enlightenment is viewed as a precondition to both mental and physical wellbeing.
The interrelation between mental wellbeing and physical health, now promoted in western medicine, was described by Chinese philosophers thousands of years ago. According to Yu-Hsi, ancient philosophers considered this interrelation in terms of polarity: goodness does not exist without evil and all fortune has some hidden misfortune. …