Pharmacy in Canton, China, c 1881.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model. Chinese medicine is based on ancient texts that relate philosophy and cosmology to the body and health. The earliest texts date from around 200 BC and describe the 'chi' or 'qi', the life force that must be nurtured, directed and balanced throughout the body. They also describe the system of opposites known as 'Yin Yang'. Traditional treatments are diverse and include herbal remedies, acupuncture, masage and meditation, dietary and lifestyle advice, and other techniques such as moxibustion and cupping as well as some surgical procedures. In China today, traditional medicine is practised alongside Western medicine. The use in traditional Chinese medicine of substances from animals has threatened some species' survival, including the tiger.