Understanding Traditional Chinese Medicine in our society

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  has been around for more than five thousands of years. It has served well  the people of east Asia including China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam and others neighboring countries even after the invention of modern medicine in the last two hundred years.

Chinese cultures has many rich and fascinating disciplines including its history, philosophy, poetry and many more. Chinese cultures have many abstract theologies going back to the basis of yin & yang, as well as the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal & water. Many like her history and philosophy have deep and profound wisdom that bring intangibles benefits to the society well being.

However the one that really stand out in this modern world is the school of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The most important reason that TCM is enduring and thriving well in this modern society is because of it's practicality in treating patients well. In this fast paced modern era, people want to see practical and effective results. When patients seek TCM treatment and recover from it, the trust is build up.

Our modern society has a main stream of modern medicine for the people. Through research and scientific studies, main stream medicine has proven to be effective in treating most illnesses. However, it comes with its side effects because our body is  interconnected to various organs systems. When a certain enzymes is block by a medicine, other pathway related to the blocked enzymes will be indirectly affected and side effects arises. TCM approaches a patient's health from a holistic view and try to seek a balance between the different body systems.

TCM is not a scientific studies based methodology purely because we believe a same illness on different patients with different health with be prescribed different medicine. Whereas a different types of illness may be prescribed the same medicine because the underlying conditions are the same. That is why a scientific studies with many controlled factors will not works on TCM. It will be disastrous to used modern scientific studies based method to judge TCM.  

TCM pride itself in clinical success in treating patients well with the many different flexible treatment strategies in according to how the illness changes with stages. Certain Chinese herbs do have side effects and those have been banned in Singapore. Under the strict  prescription of a registered TCM physician, the amount of herbs dispense out is controlled and the quantity used will not create any major side effects to patients.

Once in a while, we will read some news about "herbal products"  causing major health issues to patients. However, a deeper analysis of these " herbal products" will give the following results;

1. sold illegally

2. sold by illegal manufacturer

3. bought from outside of Singapore from dubious sources

4. the major health issues caused by contents such as steroids added illegally by the illegal manufacturers. 

Conclusively, there are nothing wrong with the Chinese herbs itself. The problems lies with illegal sources by unethical manufacturers who sold the illegal product under the pretext of herbal products, resulting in Chinese herbs taking the chunk of the media blame innocently.

Traditional Chinese Medicine does have a role to play in our society. No doubt main stream medicine will always be the driver of healthcare system in Singapore. However, there are limitations to any school of medicines whether it is main stream medicine or alternative medicine like TCM.  However, due to the very different basic theologies between the two schools, they can never be combined into one. They can be in a cooperation mode to improve the health status of our population though.

In an ideal world, a patient should be diagnosed by a doctor and Registered TCM physician with an open mindset. Depending on the illnesses itself and the patients heath status, decide on the best form of treatment with minimal side effects.

The only objective is to improve the health of our people and carry the heath care system to the next level for the 7 billions homo sapiens in this world.

Thank You

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