Medical Advances in China

The main reason why humans contract any form of illness is because these two aspects lose harmony. Looked at from the recovery function of organs, Yang functions to protect from harm from outside forces while Yin protects from the inside and provides energy for its counterpart. Another principle that the Chinese medicine culture follows is that of basic substance. “Doctors of traditional Chinese medicine believe that vital energy, energetic particles, state of blood, and body fluid are the essential substances that composed together to form the human body, and the basis for internal organs to process. 1These substances are channeled along a network within the body. On the physical aspect of this principle, the vital energy serves to promote and warm which belongs to the properties of Yang. The blood and body fluid to moisten organs possess the properties of Yin. Many of these principles are connected to heal an individual. Although these principles and theories seem almost deranged to the Western population of the world, many doctors still use these techniques today in modern time.

Many traditional Chinese medicine doctors can cure countless patients without any aid from apparatuses or medical instruments but only a physical exam. They follow four methods of diagnosis, these four methods consist of: observation, auscultation and olfaction, interrogation, pulse taking and palpation. The method of observation indicates to the doctor to directly watch the outward appearance to know a patient’s condition. The exterior and interior correspond immediately, for example, when the inner organs run wrongly, it will be shown through the skin, tongue and facial sensory organs.

The method of auscultation and olfaction is a way for doctors to collect data through hearing the sounds of the body and smelling the odors of the body. The method of interrogation suggests that doctors question the patient and his or her relatives to know the symptoms and evolution of the illness or disease and previous treatments. The taking of the pulse and or palpation allows for the doctor to note the pulse condition of patients on the radial artery. Doctors believe that when the organic function is normal, the pulse, frequency, and intention of pulse will be relatively stable, and when not, variant. ”1 When treating a disease traditional Chinese medicine doctors combine all the collected facts from the four methods of diagnosis to analyze the source and merit of the disease. The doctors then make sure what prescription should be given. In traditional Chinese medicine science, the drugs prescribed are different from the West, because doctors have discovered the medicinal effects of thousands of herbs over a long period of time.

Before taking the medicine, the patient would have to boil it. There were and are many different ways to fight illnesses and infections through acupuncture and massage. Today though, western medicine has been adopted, and traditional treatments are still playing an important role and have raise large quantities of attention and interest worldwide due to the amazing curative effects reported. While Chinese medicine began long ago, the acupuncture and herbology taught in China today is dramatically different from its traditional practice. The last 150 years have had a greater impact on its evolution that at any other time in its history. ” 2 To understand Chinese medicine today, one must glance back to the 1800’s. China was under the rule of a corrupt and weak Qing Dynasty and foreign powers were occupying its territory and the Opium War ensured an epidemic of addiction throughout its population. The Chinese began to face the harsh reality that its culture was not as strong or as powerful compared to the foreign countries that they considered unequal. They came to believe that China had been focused on the achievements of its past, whereas foreign powers were focusing on developing the new. They saw that China’s closed borders policy to the outside world had kept it from the inventions and discoveries of the times and believed China had to modernize in order to remain a sovereign power of influence. ”2 This movement grew until finally the Imperial court was overthrown and the Republic of China was founded by Sun Zhongshan and the Nationalist Party in 1911.

The desire to modernize also came with a distrust of China’s traditional knowledge. There was great backlash and outrage to the practice of traditional medicine and in 1928, the Nationalist government declared the practice of Chinese medicine illegal, believing that it was superstitious and confusing compared to the growing influence of penicillin based western medicine. Penicillin was introduced from the west and was a miracle for the Chinese. Although they were unsuccessful at completely outlawing Chinese medicine, it was forbidden in hospitals and government organized health facilities.

Then, a lot changed in the country when the Japanese invaded. As Communism began to gain momentum, a civil war was unleashed on an already weak country. When the Communists came out of war victorious and founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, traditional knowledge and teaching methods had already undergone 100 years of hardship and change. In the first years of the People’s Republic of China, the Ministry of Health simply continued the policies that existed previously towards Chinese medicine.

However, as poverty and illness left from years of war became apparent, the government encouraged any type of medicine, Chinese or Western. In order to regain control, a Cultural Revolution was launched which divided doctors who believed in traditional theories with those who followed current scientific models of the West. At the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976, the traditional doctors were replaced by a much younger generation of doctors who were convinced that a new biomedical research based medicine would be far better to its traditional origins.

Today China is the world’s fastest growing consumer market and it has a population of over a billion people. ‘Traditional’ medicine has become a highly profitable and often fraudulent market as the Chinese seek treatments for issues such as obesity, impotence, high blood pressure, diabetes and beauty enhancement. Chinese medicine, ‘cure-all’ pills have flooded the marked and clinics while specialists are popping up everywhere. “The increase of traditional Chinese medicine institutions and professionals is unprecedented since the founding of new China. 3 The science of traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacology has rapidly developed. Many achievements have been obtained in treatment of common diseases such as cardio-cerebro-vascular disease, immunogenic diseases, tumors, bone fractures and continuous progress has been in the exploration and experimentation of traditional folk therapies, preparation and dose-form medication of Chinese medical herbs, raising the healing capacity of traditional Chinese medicine and drugs and enlarging the area of their services.

Historically, Chinese Medicine was practiced largely from generation to generation within a family. The techniques and knowledge required to practice acupuncture or herbal medicine were transmitted from parent to child in the form of an apprenticeship type relationship. This knowledge was passed down from family to family to continue the practice. Because of the way knowledge transmitted the science of Chinese Medicine, different styles of its practice emerged. At the time of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, a decision was made to standardize the practice of Chinese Medicine.

This was carried out by looking at the various family lineages and taking out from them what they had in common and eliminating that what the Communist government considered to be too overtly “spiritual,” and naming the ending collection of knowledge and techniques “Traditional Chinese Medicine”. “From this historical movement the “officially-approved” version of Chinese Medicine, which would be taught largely in government, sponsored schools instead of within a family-based apprentice system. ”

One advantage of this standardization of medicine was that it made it more clear as to what the most commonly-agreed techniques were between Western and Chinese doctors and eliminating the more odd variations that may have appeared that they did not agree upon. A disadvantage of the standardization was that it divided the medicine from its spiritual roots. “Modern practitioners wishing to bring back the spiritual roots and the knowledge and techniques associated with it, often name themselves as practitioners of Classical Chinese Medicine (the form of the medicine prior to the Cultural revolution) or Five Element Practitioners. 4 Generally speaking, a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner will rely mostly upon a unique diagnostic guideline while a Five Element practitioner relies upon a Five Element diagnostic framework. “A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner pays more attention to physical symptoms and creates treatments to eliminate the symptoms. A Five Element practitioner, on the other hand, tend to be more attentive to the emotional and spiritual aspects of the imbalance they detect in the body, and aim their treatments at the root cause of disharmony. 4 There is a lot of distinct variety among different practitioners. This is what makes Chinese Medicine powerful; it is the insight that the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual are always connected. In terms of the practicalities of receiving Chinese Medical training in the West today, a large majority of Chinese Medical schools and licensing exams are now based upon the traditional Chinese Medicine model. Traditional Chinese medicine today is based on standardization efforts that took place in China in the 1950’s with the creation of traditional Chinese medicine colleges. In the 1990’s, traditional Chinese medicine was changed into a semi-private industry and was promoted in global health markets. ”4 Revenue from traditional Chinese medicine hospitals in China has reached to an astonishing $25. 7 billion in 2012. Many of China’s medical companies are the forefront of global science and acupuncture has become one of the most widely spread element of traditional Chinese medicine practiced in the West, using the medical instrument of small needles placed into the skin. Acupuncture needles used to be created out of Bian stones and pottery.

Eventually metal needles began to appear and these needles to eventually became the classic ‘nine needles’. These needles were each designed to carry out different functions and aid the body in different but effective forms. Presently, the needles used for acupuncture are made out of filliform while others have been replaced by more advanced surgical instruments. The ‘nine needles’ were initially made out of bronze, gold or silver. Some acupuncturists today still use gold and silver needles but the majority of acupuncturists use only steel filliform needles.

In 1950 Chairman Mao officially united Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine and acupuncture became established in many hospitals. “In the late 50’s and 60’s, research continued into acupuncture with further study of ancient texts, clinical effects of acupuncture on various diseases, and the development of acupuncture anesthesia. ”5 From the 1970’s to the present, acupuncture continues to play an important role in China’s medical system. China has been a leader in researching all aspects of acupuncture and its clinical effects.

Although acupuncture has become more modernized, it will probably never lose its connection to a philosophy that was established thousands of years ago. “Policy-makers around the world are constantly finding different ways to incorporate traditional Chinese medicine into public health systems. ”6 One consequence to the many practices being spread worldwide is the impact traditional Chinese medicine has on environmental sustainability. China cannot provide all the ingredients to fulfill domestic and international demands. In Australia, manta rays are threatened because their gills are dried and boiled and used as a health remedy.

The World Wildlife Foundation is currently teaming up and working with the Chinese government to promote alternative routes of treatments without the use of animal parts. Western medicine often focuses on defects, for instance, how to repair a torn ligament, reduce cholesterol or eliminate bacteria. It focuses and revolves around pathology. Chinese medicine is concerned with relieving pain and reversing the effects of disease. Chinese medicine is often complex and difficult for people to understand what it really is exactly.

This is because it is based on the principle that what happens to one part of the body affects every other part of the body. In Chinese medicine, the mind and body are not viewed separately similarly as organs and structures are viewed as connected internal structures that work together to make sure the body is functioning well. Many of the ideas emphasized in traditional Chinese medicine are not even related to Western medicine. One such concept is ‘qi,” which is responsible for controlling the human mind and body. “Qi flows through the body through channels, which are called meridians.

There are 20 meridians and 12 primary meridians that correspond to specific organs. ”7 Imbalances in the flow of qi cause illness and the correction of the imbalance brings the body back to balance. Although acupuncture is one of the biggest treatments to treat illness, there are many other techniques such as acupressure, moxibustion, massage techniques, herbal medicine, diet and lifestyle changes, meditation and exercise. Even after reading this paragraph, one may still have trouble comprehending what it is, but there is little doubt of traditional Chinese medicine’s effectiveness.

Several studies have reported that these types of treatments have had success in treating a wide range of illness and conditions such as nausea, vomiting, tennis elbow and even back pain. Many Western-trained physicians have also seen the positive effects from traditional Chinese medicine and now offer it to patients and some even include acupuncture as a treatment. Many Americans are using acupuncture, herbal remedies and other treatments through traditional Chinese medicine than before. Whether looked at as a complimentary treatment or primary one, traditional Chinese medicine is on the rise around the world.

Despite its significantly different approaches to well being, many people use both Chinese and Western medicine at the same time. It has been proven time and time again how traditional Chinese medicine has been effective and successful in treating different ailments and illnesses. The evolution of Chinese medical techniques has surprisingly not changed drastically. Many of the treatments used for thousands of years are still used today because they proved to be beneficial for the body and reaped positive benefits for the human body functions and rid of illness. Bibliography Chinese Medicine: History, Traditional Four Methods of Diagnosis. ” TravelChinaGuide. Accessed April 24, 2013. http://www. travelchinaguide. com/intro/medicine. htm. “The Evolution of Chinese Medicine. ” The Evolution of Chinese Medicine. Accessed April 24, 2013. http://www. traditionalstudies. org/chinese-medicine/23-cm-about-chinese-medicine/cm-about/62-the-evolution-of-chinese-medicine. “The Globalization of Chinese Medicine | Globalization101. ” Globalization101. Accessed April 28, 2013. http://www. globalization101. org/the-globalization-of-chinese-medicine/. “Historical Time Line of Chinese Medicine. Historical Time Line of Chinese Medicine. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://www. traditionalstudies. org/chinese-medicine/23-cm-about-chinese-medicine/cm-about/61-historical-time-line-of-chinese-medicine. “History of Acupuncture. ” Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences History of Acupuncture Comments. Accessed April 28, 2013. http://www. acos. org/articles/history-of-acupuncture/. “TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Five Element Styles of Practice. ” About. com Taoism. Accessed April 27, 2013. http://taoism. about. com/od/qigongchinesemedicine/a/TCM. htm. “Traditional Chinese Medicine History. Traditional Chinese Medicine History. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://www. china4u2. com/TCM_History/tcm_history. html. ——————————————– [ 1 ]. “Chinese Medicine: History, Traditional Four Methods of Diagnosis. ” TravelChinaGuide. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://www. travelchinaguide. com/intro/medicine. htm. [ 2 ]. “Historical Time Line of Chinese Medicine. ” Historical Time Line of Chinese Medicine. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://www. traditionalstudies. org/chinese-medicine/23-cm-about-chinese-medicine/cm-about/61-historical-time-line-of-chinese-medicine. [ 3 ]. Historical Time Line of Chinese Medicine. ” Historical Time Line of Chinese Medicine. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://www. traditionalstudies. org/chinese-medicine/23-cm-about-chinese-medicine/cm-about/61-historical-time-line-of-chinese-medicine. 4 “TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Five Element Styles of Practice. ” About. com Taoism. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://taoism. about. com/od/qigongchinesemedicine/a/TCM. htm. [ 4 ]. “TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Five Element Styles of Practice. ” About. com Taoism. Accessed April 29, 2013. http://taoism. about. com/od/qigongchinesemedicine/a/TCM. htm. 5″History