Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chinese Traditional Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine ("TCM") is an integral part of Chinese culture. It has made great contributions to the prosperity of China. Today both of TCM and western medicine are being used in providing medical and health services in China. TCM, with its unique diagnostic methods, systematic approach, abundant historical literature and materials, has attracted many attentions from the international community. TCM is well recognized for its remarkable effectiveness in off setting the side effect caused by the toxic and chemical treatment of cancer cases in the western medical system.

In China, TCM is under the administration of State Administration of TCM and Pharmacology. TCM and its development are regulated. National strategies, law and regulations governing TCM are now in place to guide and promote the research and development in this promising industry.

TCM is defined as a medical science governing the theory and practice of traditional Chinese medicine. It includes Chinese medication, pharmacology/herbalogy, acupuncture, massage and Qigong.

Hospitals in China are classified as specialized in western medical system, TCM or both. TCM is now available to 75% of the areas in China. TCM has been very effective in the treatment of diseases such as cardio-cerebro-vascular, immunogenic, tumors, bone fracture, etc. Scientific research and clinic experiments in TCM are continuously progressing. Successes have been made in many of the areas such as in circulating paths of meridians; in Zheng-syndrome, in diagnostic indexes; in therapeutic principles, in healing emergency patients with shock, acute DIC, acute myocardial infarction and acute renal failure. For treatment of bone fracture, method is adopted based on the theory of combination of mobilization and immobilization. Non-antibacterial compound prescriptions are used successfully in treatment of bacterial infection. In treatment of cancers, Fuzheng Guben compound prescriptions, though devoid of inhibitory effects on cancer cells, could cause the shrink of the mass of cancer. TCM provides a non-surgical approach to the treatment of acute abdomen.


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Acupuncture anesthesia and acupuncture analgesia has promoted the acupuncture therapy to the world. Since the founding of the World Federation of Acupuncture and Moxibustion Societies (WFAS) in 1987,Chinese specialists in acupuncture have been selected three times as the chairman of the Federation. They have made outstanding contributions to the promotion and development of acupuncture.

Traditional Chinese Material Medica (TCMM) now becomes of a new branch in TCM. In the 80's, remarkable results were achieved in the research on natural and traditional drugs. The extraction of Qinghaosu from Chinese drugs was seen as a breakthrough in research on anti-malarial remedies. Researches on Qinghaosu and treatment of urinary system with Chinese drugs have been awarded the Albert Einstein World Science Award. With the transformation of TCMM, it will open up a new path to find new drugs and new treatments. In order to ensure the quality and supply of crude drugs, more than 600 production bases and 13,000 farms have been set up. There are more than 800 pharmaceutical factories of Chinese drugs with annual production over 400,000 tons in more than 5,000 varieties.

Universities and colleges in China are providing degree and diploma courses in TCM. It takes seven years of university education to complete a Doctoral degree in TCM. Cross education in both TCM and western system are provided to medical students with major in either one of the systems. Professional training is offered at night school or through corresponding courses.

The attitude towards traditional Chinese medicine and pharmacy across the world is changing. A large number of specialists in TCM have been invited by countries in Asia, Europe, America and others to give lectures on TCM or to conduct activities in TCM therapy and scientific research. In China, among the foreign students in natural sciences, those who major in traditional Chinese medicine accounts for the highest percentage. World Health Organization has established 7 collaborating centers of traditional medicine and pharmacology. International training centers have been set up in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Nanjing and Xiame to train TCM personnel from over the world. Colleges of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been founded in France, US, Italy and Australia. An institute of TCM theoretical research has been set up in the Munich University of Germany. Cooperation in TCM has been established between China and Japan, the United State and Germany.

There are fundamental differences in TCM and the western medical system. With some understanding of Chinese culture and philosophies, it may help one to see through and start to appreciate the value of TCM.