Chinese herbal medicine is one modality within the broad scope of traditional Chinese medicine, which also includes acupuncture, massage (tuina), breathing exercises (qi gong), tàijí quán and dietary therapy. In the great majority of cases practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine are also qualified in acupuncture and moxibustion (burning of dried mugwort on particular points on the body) and work with both modalities as well as often with massage, dietary therapy or breathing exercises.
Good health is seen as a state in which a person has optimum energy or vitality (qi) and in which the functions needed to maintain that vitality are unimpeded. Ill-health is due to a loss of vitality or to some form of impediment to those functions, or both. Good health furthermore requires the maintenance of a dynamic equilibrium, between the two universal forces of yin and yang which requires a balance between (yin) nourishment and (yang) activity. When these become unbalanced, illness may result.