Although a case can be made for some treatments being quackery, there are significant areas in which non-Western medicine excels.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) covers acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal remedies, with documentation dating back more than two millennia. By comparison, Western medicine is still in its infancy.
The focus of TCM is on promoting the flow of “Qi” energy throughout the body, which is consistent with the belief that when such energy is blocked or becomes stagnant, illness will arise.
Chinese herbal medicines on the U.S. health market are viewed as dietary supplements and are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This differs from the U.K. where, following a long campaign, they have recently been made subject to strict codes.
TMC practitioners will base their diagnoses on three factors related to the lifestyles of patients—current environment, emotions and way of living, especially in terms of diet and exercise. TCM is aimed at getting the body to treat and heal itself, much like herbal or homeopathic treatments in the West, where outside intervention is minimal.
Among the numerous TCM remedies now widely accepted are the following:
Acupuncture– This involves stimulating certain “pathways” or pressure points of the body, through which the Qi energy is believed to flow. It is achieved through several means, such as pressure via massage or acupressure, using heat in a process called “cupping” or by inserting needles. It’s claimed that stimulating the Zusanli point, in particular, relieves stomach pain almost instantly. Modern research in China and Japan has demonstrated that needles in this area do, in fact, raise the white blood cell count, which in turn boosts the immune system.
Herbal Remedies– Like traditional western herbal medicine, TCM plant-based cures are based on what nature provides. Some of the most popular herbs listed in TCM are immediately recognizable worldwide, such as St. John’s Wort for depression, Echinacea to ward off colds and boost the immune system, ginkgo biloba to boost brain activity, and ginseng root for energy. Such is their popularity and effectiveness today that they can be found on the shelves of most supermarkets in the U.S. and other countries of the West.
A recent study at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston showed that the availability of nitrate oxide in a number of herbal remedies has proven beneficial in treating cardiovascular disease. This is because the compound relaxes arteries in the body and actually widens the vessels; as a result, blood flows more smoothly throughout the heart and circulatory system, and in doing so it lessens the possibility of a heart attack.
Again, science is only gradually finding out the “why” and “how” behind the efficacy of such ancient practices, while those who find relief through TCM cures are simply happy with the results.
Since you’re here …
… we’ve got a small favour to ask. More people are reading CAVEMENWORLD than ever, but few are paying for it. Advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. And unlike some othe organisations, we haven’t put up a paywall – we want to keep our articles open to all. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. CAVEMENWORLD’s independent, investigative journalism and graphics take a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe our perspective matters – because it might well be your perspective, too.
If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be much more secure.