by Adam Miramon, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
Published: Pathways Magazine, Spring 2015
Within the practice of Chinese medicine, there are a variety of traditions or schools of thought, and each approaches the preparation of a treatment plan from a slightly different theoretical base. Although each tradition may approach acupuncture or Chinese herbal treatment differently, many of them have a foundation in the Eight Principles. This makes the Eight Principles one of the most prevalent schools of thought in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. The concept of the Eight Principles dates back to one of the original Chinese medical classics – the Huangdi Neijing, which was published between 475-221 BCE. However, the term “Eight Principles” did not appear in medical texts until the Qing dynasty (1644-1912). The basic theory behind the Eight Principles is founded in the following four dualities:
This series of articles will provide a basic understanding of the foundations of Chinese medicine by dissecting one conceptual pair at a time. The last article in the series examined Yin and Yang, and in this article, we will explore Interior and Exterior.
Interior and Exterior
In Chinese medicine, Interior and Exterior refer to the location of the disorder rather than its cause. There are both internal and external causes of disease, but these causes are not considered to be Interior or Exterior when discussing the Eight Principles. When a disease is classified as Interior or Exterior, it directly refers to the location of the disease or pattern of disharmony.