8 TCM Treatment Methods

8 TCM Treatment Methods

Hi friends! Let’s talk about the Eight Methods (八法 - 팔법) in TCM!

📖The Eight Methods have their roots in the ancient text Nei Jing Su Wen. During the Qing dynasty, Dr. Cheng Zhong-Ling reorganized and categorized these strategies, known as the 'Eight Methods in Therapy' (Yi Men Ba Fa), recorded in the 'Medical Revelations' (Yi Xue Xin Wu).

These strategies are grouped according to their therapeutic actions:
〰️ Sweating (Han Fa)
〰️ Vomiting (Tu Fa)
〰️ Draining Downward (Xia Fa)
〰️ Harmonizing (He Fa)
〰️ Warming (Wen Fa)
〰️ Clearing (Qing Fa)
〰️ Reducing (Xiao Fa)
〰️ Tonifying (Bu Fa)

Let's delve into each strategy:

Tonifying Method is used to tonify, restore, supplement or replenish Empty, Deficiency or weakness of the body’s Qi, Blood, Yin, Yang, fluids, essence of the Zang Fu organs.

Application of Tonifying Method include:

  • Deficiency of Qi
  • Deficiency of Blood
  • Deficiency of Fluids
  • Deficiency of Essence
  • Deficiency of Yin or Yang
  • Deficiency of the Zang Fu organs


    Sweating Method induces sweat to allow for the releasing of pathogens from the exterior of the body. This method should be only for a short period of time. If sweating lasts too long or is excessive it will injure Yin.

    Application of Sweating Method include:

    • Exterior Excess patterns
    • Rashes
    • Acute edema, more severe in upper body
    • Swelling from Wind Damp
    • Skin disorders caused by Wind
    • Patterns where Interior pathogen is going to Exterior
    Draining Method induces defecation to purge the bowels by irritating or stimulating the intestines to treat Interior Excess patterns. This method should be used with caution during pregnancy, parturition and menstruation.
    Application of Draining Method include:
    • Constipation
    • Heat accumulation
    • Cold accumulation
    • Excess water
    • Blood accumulation
    Vomiting method is mainly used for acute Interior Excess patterns. This method can injure Yin and the stomach due to its violent action and should be used only in patients with a strong constitution. This method can be used to quickly remove stagnation of food, phlegm or poisonous materials from either the stomach, throat or esophagus.

    Application of Vomiting Method include:

    • Phlegm accumulation
    • Food stagnation
    • Ingestion of poisons
    Harmonizing Method is used to harmonize the different levels of the body and the Zang Fu organs. It is often used for complex conditions such as heat with cold or emptiness with fullness.

    Applications of Harmonizing Method include:

    • Half Interior Half Exterior patterns
    • Malaria
    • Depression
    • Dysmenorrhoea
    • Epigastric distention
    Warming Method is used to warm Cold patterns in either the Interior or Exterior.

    Applications of Warming Method include:

    • Cold in the channels
    • Cold attacking the Middle Jiao (Burner)
    • Cold with Yang Collapse
    • Understanding these strategies aids in effective TCM treatment and prescribing herbal formulas!
    Clearing Method is used to clear Heat in the body.

    Applications of Clearing Method include:

    • Interior Heat
    • Heat in the Zang Fu organs
    Reducing Method is used to reduce, dissolve or eliminate accumulation.

    Applications of Reducing Method include:

    • Qi stagnation
    • Blood Stasis
    • Food Stagnation
    • Phlegm
    • Abscesses
    • Parasites

    That was the 8 TCM treatment methods! Understanding these strategies aids in effective TCM treatment and prescribing herbal formulas! Can you recall them all?

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