The Traditional East Asian (TEAM) view of the body is in many ways a common sense description. It has evolved over hundreds if not thousands of years of observing the human condition, during illness and health. While technology in the West has allows us to explore the parts of the body in increasing detail, the traditional Asian tools for understanding the body were just the senses. This gave a picture of the whole person view that highlighted patterns in the appearance of signs and symptoms without having to provide detailed descriptions of specific mechanisms.
This leads to a model that is stresses connections across physiological systems, across mind and body, and between the person and their environment. These two views, the western and eastern co-exist and complement each other, both are needed. One uses language of the physical/measurable and can shed light on the specifics, the other speaks more in terms of analogy and points to the behaviour of the whole.
The TEAM model of the person evolved at a time of no X rays or MRI scans, the way to investigate health and ill health was via one’s senses. Thus through careful looking, listening, touching, and asking; it was realised that though everyone’s experience of illness is unique, that symptoms often form patterns. These patterns were described in simple common sense terms such as cold, damp, depressed vitality, stasis of blood etc. that both reflected the subjective experience of the patient as well as a diagnostic label for the healer.
These descriptions are of the human condition as witnessed from the point of view of another human; as such they are a complex mix of both physical and mental/emotional components. It is because they describe the broad picture from the “outside” that they are unable to give a detailed mechanistic description of what is happening on the “inside”.Never the less they have lead to the development of simple empirically proven techniques to correct these imbalances and restore health.These included the use of massage, exercise, dietary advice etc.
In time diet in all probability lead to the use of medicinal herbs, and massage in turn lead to the development of heat therapy (moxibustion) and the use of needles – acupuncture.