There are a LOT of answers here that are ignorant of the science done concerning TCM. There is a lot of published research including stuff published in the JAMA that shows TCM to be highly effective.
There is also a lot of very badly done science concerning acupuncture. An example of a badly done research is where the researcher diagnose a problem using western medical diagnosis methods. They then use acupuncture needs in a set pattern of points on the body to treat the disease and then measure the results compared to a base and or other methods of treatment.
This sounds good on paper to the ignorant but the problems are many. First one set of western diagnosed patients all having the same western disease can be diagnosed using TCM into, in some cases, at least 5 TCM diseases. So clearly the chances of perfect Chinese medicine curing the group is only 20% and that is not good. Wrong diagnosis = wrong treatment and failure of the cure.
Effective medicine only happens when you have a correct diagnosis from the system of medicine that you are using. Western medicine needs a western diagnosis and eastern medicine needs an eastern diagnosis to be effective. You can’t mix and match and expect good results!
The next problem is the needles are put inserted into the points by MDs or worse scientists with no training of how to properly insert the needles. Points are in VERY specific locations and it can take months of training to get the needle into the correct place. So they put needles into the wrong places and then report that TCM does not work. Now we have the wrong diagnosis and bad needle technique. Starting to see the picture of why the treatment in the science can fail?
The next the scientist often do is place needles into “false” locations to make a control for the experiment. This is a problem full of pitfalls. First getting a needle inserted does have an effect on the body no matter where you get needled.
Second, qi pathways that the points are on are a bit like the blood flow or rivers draining the land. If you put a needle anywhere in the river you will effect that river and thus have an effect similar to the correct point. In many but not all cases this effect should be smaller than the point itself but it will still muddy the waters of the statistics especially in cases where the sample populations are small due to weak funding.
So onto the herbs. To say herbs are not effective is just stupid. Take a look at some commonly used herbs and some derivatives. Tell me that it is just placebo effect. Here is a list for you to contemplate; tobacco, marijuana, black tee, opium poppy extract, digitalis, cocaine plant, herba ephedra, curare. So do you truly think herbs are not powerful? Do you really think that after 2000 years of learning about herbs that the Chinese don’t know how to uses them or what to use or what if effective?
So about the black rhino. The horn of these animals is very effective and can be used to treat things like cancer. You can also substitute other herbs like buffalo horn to get almost the same result but you must use 20 times more (This was a statement from my professor that came from the Beijing School of Medicine. I have no personal experience with it).
No responsible herbalist uses rhino horn including the Chinese TCM doctors in China. We in the west also don’t have much room to criticize about the destruction of nature. Our eating of beef coming from south america has resulted in huge levels of destruction and extinction of animals and plant in the Amazon not to mention many other abuse of nature that we are involved in.
Often these herbs are used as folk medicine in ways that TCM would not see them as effective. For example using the horn to make a man more sexually potent. There is a difference between TCM and folk myths and how to use the animals. Sadly there are some really rich people willing to pay for the last rhino horn so that they can have a bit of the magick of it. This is not part of a responsible medicine practice.
Another example of the same thing but worse is the almost total wipeout of the Pacific yew tree in the pacific northwest when western medicine though that they might contain a good cancer cure. Western medicine has far from a perfect record of respecting nature.
TCM is very effective when used correctly by a highly trained professional. An MD that has taken a few weekend courses is not a highly trained professional and IMOHO should not be doing acupuncture or giving out herbs. There is a big problem with MDs trying to earn a few bucks more by taking weekend classes in esoteric medicine systems and then using their MD prestige to sell this poor medicine to the gullible patients.
So, when you go to get any form of alternative medicine interrogate the doctor to learn where he studied, for how many hours or years and where he did is practical work on the type of medicine you are seeking. A person who has studied properly and well will be proud of what they did! They will be happy to share (show off, brag) their study program with you! Don’t be a shy about asking or offending the god in white. A good doctor has nothing to hide.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been around for thousands of years. It has a strong Foundation and unlike Western medicine which is only 5–100 years old, it is steeped in every part of China's culture. Certainly the way it is practiced in the United States May differ because we don't integrate it in the way that the Eastern cultures do, however, having gone through the training I know how diligent and extensive the education here is.
Any form of Medicine has to integrate into the culture it is living in. Here we tend to take a more spa-like approach in the environment the medicine is practiced in because that is what the culture demands. Because it is a truly Mind Body Spirit experience, I think it lends itself to that. The people I work with love the fact that they can totally disconnect and go into a semi meditative state because of the environment that I set up for them.
任何形式的医学都必须融入它所处的文化。在这里，我们倾向于在医学实践的环境中采取更像水疗中心的方法，因为这是文化所要求的。 因为它是一种真正的身心精神体验，所以我认为它适合于此。 与我一起工作的人喜欢这样一个事实，即由于我为他们设置的环境，他们可以完全断开连接并进入半冥想状态。
Does it work? Yes. I treat people with everyday aches and pains to cancer and fertility Bell's palsy neuropathies stress anxiety you name it. Just like any other profession you will find those who do it well in those who don't. Those who continue their education beyond their training and those who dial it in.
If you Google acupuncture and MRI, you will see how acupuncture connects with every part of the body in a way that nothing else does creating the opportunity for the entire body to function optimally. Acupuncture connects with the brain the nervous system the organs every part of the body. It is very powerful. It also releases endorphins and serotonin which give you that feeling of well-being and calm.
It is something that can include the use of herbs but herbs are an entirely separate medicine that requires a lot of Education and Training on its own. Many practitioners do not use them because it is a very complex. If you have any questions round any specific areas of Chinese medicine I'm happy to answer them.
No more effective than a hot cup of tea.
Sure, it might make you feel better and help your immune system fend off the disease, it has some placebo effects, but nothing beyond vitamin pills, homeopathy or hot beverage. It belongs into the same category as all the other “alternative medicine”:
If alternative medicine worked, it would be called medicine.
Dividing medicine into “Western” and “Chinese” is a dishonest false dichotomy attempting to confuse people and trigger emotional reactions tied to patriotism. Just like other scientific fields, medicine knows no borders. There is no alternative physics or alternative chemistry or alternative biology. Laws of nature work no matter where you are.
Once upon the time, Western medicine believed that all things consisted of 4 elements: water, earth, fire and air, and that these elements corresponded to fluids in the body. Disease was caused by the imbalance of these fluids. Bloodletting was thought to be effective treatment. Bad smell gives you plague. The brain is there to cool your blood whereas your soul rests in your heart.
Then the scientific method came along, and Western medicine was discarded. What your doctor is prescribing you is modern medicine.
Pharmaceutical companies spend millions upon millions of dollars to develop and test a new drug in spite of all the knowledge and tools gained in the last 200 years. To think that traditional Chinese medicine knows better how the human body functions or how disease work is like expecting ancient astrologers to know more than modern astrophysicists or ancient alchemists to know more than chemical engineers. To sum up:
Traditional Chinese medicine is cultural heritage, not practical application. Please stop abusing it.
I am another who can definitely say “ Yes it works for me. “ Not only me but I have seen so many friends cured of chronic problems by the use of Traditional Chinese Medicines.
Here I must also state one fairly obvious caution. Just as in conventional medicine all treatment needs to come from a properly trained and qualified practitioner. There are two reasons why publicity is given against Chinese Medicine the first because of overt PR campaigns to ridicule it and the second because wide publicity is given to herbal medicine used incorrectly by unqualified people.
In the countries where medicine and practitioners are properly regulated there are many clear benefits in using herbal treatments (even better than using conventional pharmaceuticals) in China where TCM departments are found alongside regular pharmacies in hospitals are a prime example. In Canada and Australia where proper regulation controls both the practitioner and the product there are excellent results. In the Middle East also several countries have properly licenced practitioners.
Sadly however the money and quick fix attitude (even in China) makes pharmaceuticals widely used and the “banana bag” philosophy of connecting a patient up to a drip and intravenous medication often replaces better treatment.
Finally now modern science has clearly demonstrated the detailed efficacy and effect of things like acupuncture and acupressure that the old “Placebo” myths can be dismissed and the real comparison made between Traditional and conventional medicine. Sadly however if the world turned to TCM the products would become unsustainable and too costly. In the ideal world both systems should work together and be complimentary to each other.
I don't have much knowledge about Chinese Medicine like Cleo Pearce but had witness someone close to me getting better from using Chinese medicine.
My mom has a serious kidney malfunctioning where her kidney function only left 20%. She went to several doctors and most of them gave her some medication and recommended strict diet but it didn't work well.
As days go by, despite taking the medicine given, she was suffering from serious itch all over her body, redness can be seen all over her skin and soon she started suffering from joint pain rendering her unable to walk properly or even stand up straight.
As a last resort we decided to send her to a doctor who we called a Chinese/Western hybrid, a doctor who is trained both in Chinese and western medicine.
The doctor gave my mom some Chinese medicine and after a few months, she began to feel better. Currently, she is able to eat normally, all the itch and redness on her skin went away and she can walk properly like she used to. But of course she still have to watch her diet properly but it was a lot better than taking “western” medicine.
It is hard to tell weather or not Traditional Chinese Medicine is good for you. We are all different and our expectations of medical / alternative medicine practitioners differ as well.
I only can refer to my own experience. After working as a nurse for 5+ years in cardiology department, I got an idea that no one person and their condition is the same but somehow they all get the same treatment, nothing but disease is taken into account.
My own health problems were disregarded by my family doctor since all tests were normal. However, I felt really sick for a long time. Only after coming to acupuncture clinic, my health got better with each treatment and my situation was taken fully (including both physical and emotional problems).
Now, practicing acupuncture myself, I constantly see what a difference it makes in peoples conditions and how their overall health is improving.
I always suggest people to give it a try and decide whether it is working for them.
Some do, but not all.
TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) is thousands of years old, and thus falls victim to the fact knowledge now is more advanced.
A good example is Artemisia annua, which has been used in TCM for about 2000 years to treat fevers.
Since about the 1960s it has been used to help in the fight against malaria. One thing to consider though is that most modern biomedicine isolates the active ingredient and extract it. A lot of the time a raw herb isn't sufficient, as in the above case we are now using Artemisinin, in combination with other anti malarial drugs.
There are many other cases of TCM working.