| 2020-03-17 | Hits:
(Chinese Social Sciences Today)
This Chinese character refers to treating or curing a disease. Sometimes it also means to rule or govern.


biāo běn jiān zhì
This phrase refers to a principle of clinical diagnosis and treatment in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for addressing health problems. Biao means symptoms or external diseases; ben means root causes of the symptoms or internal diseases; jian means both. The phrase can be seen as the most important idea of TCM—treating both the symptoms and their sources in parallel. 
TCM judges the sources of diseases primarily based on syndromes, and it takes the human body as a holistic entity centered around the zang-fu organs. As TCM believes, the dysfunction of the zang-fu organs (main internal organs of human body) may be reflected on the body’s surface, and different zang-fu organs influence each other through internal connections. Therefore, treatment in TCM analyzes the pathological changes within the entire system of the human body and emphasizes the interrelations between each pathological factor. 
When the root cause is eliminated, the symptoms are gone. Another example is a headache with wind-cold syndrome. The symptom of this disease is a headache, which is actually caused by the fact that the jingluo system (the network of physical channels distributed within the human body) is blocked by the coldness brought by wind. As TCM believes, for chronic disease, treatment of only symptoms will incur indirect damage to the human body, which is equal to covering up the body’s internal disease, making the disease prone to recur and the aggravated in the future. 
Typical TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, qigong exercises and massage. Take massage as an example. It uses techniques to dredge the jingluo system and cure internal diseases through an external method by stimulating certain areas of the body, so that the function of the whole body is restored. The therapy seeks to solve medical problems fundamentally, and thus the effects of the treatment are accomplished in a slow but radical way. Once the curative effect begins to show, it is long-lasting. 
​edited by BEI LE