In order to continue our mission of popularizing and demystifying Qigong, here is our latest addition in the form of a Qigong blog. And since Qigong is one of the modalities of Chinese medicine some articles will be about Chinese medicine generally. We hope you enjoy it. And feel free to comment :)
Is Chinese Medicine As Good? Or Is It Better?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the fastest growing natural therapies in the world. It was introduced to the west less than 30 years ago, but the number of practitioners and their patients is constantly on the increase. Almost every suburb in Sydney has at least one clinic or Chinese herbal shop and some have dozens. The number of books about TCM, magazine articles and TV programs dedicated to the subject is in its highest. It has been taught at many universities and colleges, many offering postgraduate studies.
Wonderful!! Australia and many other western countries seem to offer Chinese medicine practitioners ideal conditions for growth and development, you might think. But, is it really so. Let's check some facts.
Firstly, being foreign and new in the west, Chinese medicine was not recognised (and is still not) in most countries. In other words, it had to compete with an established, recognised medical system that offers most treatments for free.
Secondly, even though Chinese medicine can treat many conditions that western medicine cannot (especially the chronic ones), in the west, its practitioners are not allowed to claim they can. Why? Because medical laws are written by doctors and since they are incapable of treating (what they term) "incurable" conditions, they prohibit anybody else to claim they can.
Thirdly, some very good herbs are banned from being imported into countries like Australia or are restricted to doctors only to prescribe, under the pretext that they are toxic (which if they are, Chinese medicine practitioners are more qualified to use safely because it is their medicine).
Fourthly, it is a well-known fact that western medicine has many side effects and that only in Australia, about 4,500 people die each year as a result of doctors' mistakes*. In a country like Australia with a tiny population of only 25 million it is not criminal, it is slaughter!
At the same time, some 150,000 patients get other mild to severe injuries and disabilities** (while they proudly say it is a "pretty good record" compared to many other western countries). On the other hand, there is hardly anyone dying from Chinese medicine in the world, but if anyone ever experienced anything bad from using it, that becomes top news in the media and then new, tougher laws are introduced immediately to “protect the public” from danger. These new laws would normally limit the TCM practitioners' freedom and enable doctors and western medical administration to have more control over Chinese medicine. If it wasn't sad, it would be funny.
What's even more amazing is the fact that doctors are so well protected and backed by the system that, despite all the above, are still able to carry on their practice as if nothing happened.
And finally, many good practitioners of Chinese medicine can't even speak proper English while the western medical army of experts (doctors, lawyers, graphic designers, writers, IT people) promote their services on a large scale and, supported by huge drug companies, advertise their miraculous pills on TV, radio and in popular magazines.
We wouldn't refer to the above as "ideal conditions" for development of anything. The only reason Chinese medicine is going the way it is, is because it has a lot to offer and in many ways it is better than western medicine. Not "as good" but "better", because if it is only "as good" nobody would pay from their own pockets for something of equal value that they can get for free in any of the conveniently located, bright and shiny buildings known as medical centres and pharmacies, where everything can be explained to them in clear English and packaged nicely.
* Sydney Morning Herald front page (July 27th 2009): “Hospital errors cause 4,550 deaths a year”.
** “Bad medicine : is the health-care system letting you down?” John Archer, Simon & Schuster Australia, 1995.
Leave a Comment:
Note: All prices in Australian Dollars
Search by Keyword