The Proof Is In The Pudding
There is a saying in China which is often used when it comes to the subject of their traditional disciplines, such as Chinese Medicine, Qigong, Feng Shui, astronomy, agriculture etc. being confronted with the western scientific approach. It goes something like this: "practice is the sole criterion for testing truth". What it really means is - if something works in practice, there is truth in it. In other words, the theory that can stand the practical test is correct.
"practice is the sole criterion for testing truth"
There is no lack of theories about almost anything in this world but, on the other hand, there are even more skeptics to them all. As mentioned in the article What is Chi, skepticism is not necessarily a bad thing, but blind skepticism can be. For example, if you believe in science and reckon that only the scientific approach is correct (or even worse - the only approach) then, no doubt, you would dismiss 5,000 years of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) without even hearing what they have to say. The Chinese have developed their medicine never using experiments and didn't know anything about maths, physics, biology and chemistry. Therefore, for many, TCM is not scientific and that's full stop. Yet, you wouldn't be any more shocked than the TCM practitioners when they find that Western Medicine knows nothing about Chi (Qi) life energy. How can anyone even attempt to treat any disease without knowing anything about the essence of it? Who is right? Who is wrong?
Well, if you really want to find out, sooner or later you will have to put both TCM and Western Medicine to the practical test. Now, no-one can deny that Western Medicine is very developed, can act fast and can treat many serious illnesses. But how can you explain the fact that millions of people are cured each year by practicing Qigong, having acupuncture and many other means of TCM after trying Western Medicine, in many cases for years, without much success.
Here is a typical scenario:
A person who tried everything and saw the best specialists, spent heaps of time and money, in his (her) desperation starts doing Qigong or comes to a practitioner of TCM. They bring all their tests, show their (sometimes contradicting) diagnosis, pills they were taking...
The Chinese Medicine practitioner asks: "Did they help?"
"You may put them back in your bag."
What's the use of a theory explaining someone's disease to the slightest detail, when it cannot treat them? And so they start their daily routines of Qigong or taking Chinese herbal concoctions, acupuncture or acupressure. After some time, they improve or completely get rid of their problem and their further tests prove it.
Now, doesn't it mean that, every time the same happens, TCM theory, no matter how strange it might appear to some, is actually correct? Doesn't it also mean that western medical theory is wrong? After all, so many theories that were considered right for a very long time were later proven to be wrong by themselves.
Well, one thing is for sure - neither of them are absolutely right or wrong. And the best way would be, to use the best of both worlds. That's why they are equally recognised in China and students of either medicine are taught the basics of both. It's also very common practice to exchange patients or combine the two for best results.
In the west, where TCM is still new, all we can do now to help you in your search for better health is to give you these simple guidelines to follow:
For emergencies, accidents and traumas, seek western medical help.
For chronic conditions, go to Chinese Medicine practitioners.
For any condition, as long as being able to follow instructions, practice the most appropriate style of Qigong.