One of the earliest systems of holistic medicine was practiced by the ancient Chinese more than 5,000 years ago. Traditional Chinese medicine did not distinguish between mind and body but viewed physical and mental symptoms as manifestations of a unitary underlying energy imbalance that affected the entire organism. Thousands of years ago, Chinese physicians recognized the critical importance of environmental influences, diet and exercise, and preventive medicine. An ancient aphorism states “the superior physician cures before the illness is manifested. The inferior physician can only treat the illness he was unable to prevent.”