One of the most influential aspects of Chinese medicine has been in its view of the world as a complex web of interconnections. The ability of Chinese philosophy to tease apart these relationships and plan strategically have had a profound influence on many western therapeutic disciplines.
Kongfuzi, aka Confucius Laozi, founder of Daoism Shakyamuni, the Buddha

The main schools of philosophy (and some very simplified summaries of their thought) that have contributed to Chinese medicine are:
  • Confucianism: By cultivating better routines and relationships we can become a better person.
    Similar western disciplines: behavioural, transactional and social therapies.

  • Daoism: By observing and imitating the processes of nature we can live in harmony with our environment.
    Similar western disciplines: systemic therapies, the microbiome and ecological theories of biology, some branches of occupational therapy.

  • Buddhism: By recognising the role our mind plays in our suffering we can change our perspectives and improve our situation.
    Similar western disciplines: nearly all forms of psychotherapy, breathing exercises and mindfulness practices.

Together they form a method of problem solving similar to the biopsychosocial models popular today. With my anthropology training I try to incorporate these into my advice for self-management in a way that is relevant to modern western audiences, helping to make people aware of their habits, narratives, relationships with themselves, others and their environment in order to understand a problem and change it.