Acupuncture is recognized by more and more people both as a main or complementary modality for health care. This ancient Chinese modality, however, is more than just sticking needles into people. It is about proper diagnosis, acupuncture point selection, and acupuncture needle manipulation. The World Health Organization recommends it for the treatment of various ailments. These include but are not limited to nervous system problems, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal problems, movement disorders, and of course, pain control. Chinese Medicine is also an effective form of preventive medicine and wellness maintenance. With this blog, I hope to present Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture straight from the horse’s mouth. Here, I seek to present opinions and information. Ancient tradition is coupled with evidence-based medicine and research. I hope to update readers with news and advances about Traditional Chinese Medicine particularly in the Philippines. It is also hoped that I can help dispel various myths and misunderstandings regarding this field.
The core concepts permeating this blog are the following. Firstly, Chinese Medicine is an “alternative” only in the sense that a majority of Filipinos see it as a second option. It is no less valid than so-called conventional medicine. It is not traditional to the Philippines, but Filipino culture is intertwined enough with Chinese culture that it can be adapted and integrated. In fact, the Traditional and Integrative Medicine Act of 1997 mandates the inclusion of Traditional and Integrative Medicine into the National Healthcare System.
Secondly, it is my philosophy that to fully understand Chinese Medicine, one must try to do so on it’s own terms. I shall never forget what my Professor Wang Zicai told me during my studies in Nanjing. He told me, and I paraphrase from the Chinese, that indeed many western doctors try to study acupuncture. Only a few become great at it, he continued. For me to do so, I would have to learn not to let my western biases and misinterpretations (especially about Qi) force erroneous views on Chinese medicine. I would have to avoid “cookbook” acupuncture but would have to understand the principles of Yin and Yang, The Five Phases, the Channels and Collaterals, and more. Hence in this blog one will see a lot of references to the ancient classics of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture in this blog. One will also see many instances where famous Chinese physicians from antiquity are featured.
Thirdly, evidence is important. I believe that science validates Chinese medicine. As Chinese Medicine evolved through time, discarding the fruitless while keeping and enhancing what works, modern medical scientific studies, if done properly, can validate what is true and eliminate what is not. Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine cannot cure everything, but it can help with a lot of problems. Science can tell us what it can do, what it cannot, and most importantly, how it and conventional medicine can work together.