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Millwoods Acupuncture Center
102, 2603 Hewes Way
Edmonton AB,   Canada

Phone: (780) 466-8683



Current situation of the Traditional Chinese Medicine in China


Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used in China for thousands of years in history. It helped Chinese escapes many times of major epidemiologic diseases. However, the brightness of modern science strongly affected the development and application of the Traditional Chinese Medicine in China from early 1900.

The first fight against the Traditional Chinese Medicine is at the Guo Ming Party times. It has been proposed by the chief medical officer of the government, Mr. Yu Yung Di. He believes that the fall behind of Chinese society, comparing with that in the west world, is the Chinese Philosophy. It is reflected also in the healthcare system. He believed that the Japanese learned the western medicine and had much advanced medical system than in China. The Guo Ming Party government planed to cancel the Traditional Chinese Medicine for ever. However, the policy was not going on to exercise due to very strong defense of the doctors and the ordinary Chinese at that time.

After establishment of the New China by the Communist Party in 1949, the new government supports the development of the Traditional Chinese Medicine in China as one of the major healthcare components. Many colleges and University in the Traditional Chinese Medicine have been established, almost one in each province (in more than 20 provinces).

However, in the “Cultural Revolution” (between 1966 and 1976), the government supported the combination of the Traditional Chinese Medicine and the western medicine. The TCM colleges are combined into the western medicine college. They followed the education system in western medicine. Students learn mostly from classroom, from textbook, learn simplified version of the TCM knowledge. They no longer learn from clinic experts from clinic work. Their clinic ability is therefore lower than those typically learn from expert from clinic works.

In the “Cultural revolution”, the government also supported the simplified TCM system in the rural area. It indeed spread the use of TCM in the broad rural area, but the doctors are satisfied to use simple ways as treatment by one bunch of herbs, or simply by needle. To learn the deep TCM skill was omitted largely.

Later on, with the increased number of hospital in the western medicine in China, and due to the fact that the cost to the western medical healthcare is reimbursed by the government, very sick or emergency patients were sent to the hospital rather than stay in the home treated by the TCM doctor. This misleads the believing that the Traditional Chinese Medicine cannot be used with the emergency conditions.

Much more financial supports have been given to the western medical system, to establish the universities and the hospitals. Only very little was given to the TCM college and hospitals. The TCM clinic efficiency was not increased, though some amount of TCM students graduated.

People commonly do not realize that the reduced clinic ability of TCM is due to the unfair environment to the TCM, but to the fall back of the TCM theory. They believe that TCM should be modernized, as same as the western medicine, that the theory can be verified in the experiments in the laboratory, that the healing effects of a given herb formula should be able to reproducible in large population and that it should be clear which ingredients are functional in the formula.

Under the domination of the western medicine system and spirit in China, the main idea for the development of TCM is that the TCM should also search the concrete pathological factors that cause diseases, and that the scientific research results should be evaluated by the same way as for the western medicine. They wish to change the practice of the TCM in which each patient, and different stage of the disease, should be and must be treated according to the change of the disease showings. They do not know that the TCM pay much attention to the syndrome of the patient, and give the treatment according to the syndrome. The same syndrome can be caused by different virus, bacteria, or even by just the functional disorder of the body due to the physical or chemical change, such as weather change, or by drinking cold water, etc. They can not understand how a formula can be used for the treatment of more than 200 kinds of clinic conditions/diseases defined by the western medical system.

Lots of scientific researches have been done in China, Japan and in other countries, where the TCM has been used in history. Unfortunately, the researchers fail to find satisfied answers to these questions. This makes people believe that the Traditional Chinese Medicine is without scientific meanings, so the theory is not the truth. In their mind, the science is equal to the truth. They do not know or do not want to believe that, whatever we cannot be explained by the current science dose not necessarily mean it is false. The science understanding to the nature, to the world, is also a dynamic course. Scientists reform and correct their theory from time to time, and no end yet. Science means a research effort. This effort may yield a result, or not. The result may or may not means a truth. And, the truth is applicable to a small or a large nature situation.

The current situation in China is that the TCM doctors have no chance to participate into the emergency clinic work, nor the acute epidemiologic prevention and treatment. The most important example is the treatment of SARS, an acute respiratory disease in China in 1996. Without knowing the pathological cause of the disease, the western medicine failed to prevent and to treatment the patients. The death rate is as high as 10% to 20%. Strongly forced by this fact, and others, like some successful cases with the TCM in the treatment of SARS, the government allowed the participation of the TCM doctors in the front of the SARS prevention and treatment. They did excellent job! They saved the Chinese!

In April 2007, the Chinese government announced that it will establish a TCM dominated healthcare system in China, to serve billions of Chinese. It will develop the TCM according to the original rule in learning and practicing. It will respect the philosophy of original TCM in their clinic work. This is based on the fact that TCM has been used in China for thousands of year with its effectiveness, simplicity and cost effectiveness, the fact that current western medicine dominated medical system fails to solve the healthcare crisis of billions of population in China, the fact that the western medicine systems can do almost nothing to prevent acute epidemiologic disease before knowing the cause, and the fact that the healthcare is not so big problem before in China when the TCM system is dominated, and in some other countries, such as north Korea, where the Traditional Chinese Medicine is their major healthcare system.

We will, with great expect, pay attention to the development of current TCM in China, a renewed healthcare system in another side of the earth!