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

Phone: (780) 466-8683



Why we should try Traditional Chinese Medicine?


Dr. Martin Wang, R. Ac.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system, not only a complementary therapy. It has existed for more than five thousand years in China and helped millions of Chinese throughout history treat the assaults of many infectious and non-infectious, physical and emotional diseases. It still helps people avoid various acute and chronic diseases.

A Chinese summary of the success of TCM in the period from 1950 to 2006, during which diseases such as SARS and AIDS came along, has shown that it can be very effective. In April 2007, Chinese Government announced that it will re-emphasize its TCM system, nation wide, as a main healthcare system to solve its daily healthcare crisis and to control spread of infectious diseases. At least in one of the big city zone in China (Shang Hai city), the local government enforces that every community hospital should have TCM services, in addition to the typical Western medical system, to help the treatment of current diseases and for better prevention of disease in the communities. The weakness of the Western Medicine in the prevention of illness has been well recognized.

TCM has been successfully used in the treatment of not only chronic diseases, such as arthritis, but also acute disease, such as acute pneumonia, and in emergencies such as stroke and cardiac shock. So many times, the TCM works no matter how long and how severe the disease is. It works even if it was believed by conventional medicine no hope at all, such as in the case of late stage cancer, or AIDS.

TCM is unique, since it knows that the function of human body is not only depending on the circulation system, nerve system, endocrine system, immune system, but also the meridian system (life-energy network in the body). The meridian network connects all the known physical systems in the body to maintain life and health. Additionally, it also emphasizes the influence of emotional stress on the disorder of health. This concept has been proven true in the practice of acupuncture and Qigong. Stimulating the acupuncture points or the meridian networks on the body works to maintain the health and solve the illness.

TCM is a “developed” medical system. The concept about the human disease and health described in old TCM bible books thousand years ago is still practiced by the TCM doctors today. So many very famous TCM doctors in the Chinese history admitted that their clinic achievement contributes to the old TCM bible. Even today, when our daily life is largely affected by the development of modern science, more and more TCM doctors have to admit that the health concept introduced in that bibles, are correct and more economic and efficient in keeping health. This is a good example that not every old knowledge is incomplete or farer from truth of the nature. (Can we, the current civilization, build up a similar size Pyramid with hundred of tones of stones as those in the Egypt? Would we surprise by the achievement of the Maya Culture, thousand years ago, in the astrology, which we just start to know by the use of modern telescopes? )

On the other side, the current medical system is still under development, since it is under continuous correction or modification of their “findings” on the health and disease. What we are educated as “correct’ before for the maintenance of health, may be re-educated as wrong by “new” observations. We have been stirred out again and again by a new drug, and  lured to believe that it is a nice dream that it might be a revolution to cure a disease, but we become disappointed since the new one again may cause more side effects and even life-threatening effect to us, and the revolutionary drug disappears after a while in the market. Then, we are told that there is another “new” drug coming, but we have to repeat the disappointment again and again. How many drugs that have been used by the current medicine have been continued for more than 20, 50, or 100 years?

TCM is a medical system to find “health” for you. It does not create new health problems while trying to treat your current disease. You may know that most medical drugs currently used in conventional medicine cause lots of side effects (some are even life-threatening, and may pass to our second generations), that the use of estrogen to prevent pregnancy may create breast cancer, and that anti-cancer therapy (chemotherapy and radiation therapy) are so highly toxic that they may also create cancer by themselves and worsens patients’ health. TCM however does not force you to take something for ever (unlike the conventional medicine in which you may have to take thyroid hormone for ever after removal of thyroid by surgery). The medicine used by TCM such as herbs, acupuncture, massage or other natural means to release your illness will stop to use after your problem is solved. Maintenance of health in TCM depends on its unique ways of life style, not the medical or artificial drugs. The mark for an excellent TCM doctor is that his patients need less times to come to him to remain in good health condition. If you need something for ever to make you feel “good”, even if they are vitamins or mineral supplies, it means that your basic problem is still there and that your doctor did not do a good job yet for you. In this sense, TCM is not a good business, since it creates less and less clients for them.

TCM finds a disease early before it causes enough amount of some chemicals in blood for the lab to test, or enough physical changes in the body, the size is so large enough for the physical instruments (X-ray, Ultrasounds, CT, or MRI) to detect. Disease usually shows up early symptoms or signals before it creates enough chemical or physical changes in our body. TCM emphasizes such evidences by monitoring the tongue and pulse, as well as your feelings. One treatment in the early stage of course is worth of ten treatments in the late stage of a disease. TCM can start treatment without needing a patient to “wait” until the clinic data becomes sufficient to make a conventional medicine diagnosis. In any stage of a disease, TCM has its own diagnosis to guide the treatment.

As patient, to stop your health crisis is more important than to let you know the name of your disease, right? We already have so many kinds of diseases in the current medicine that we know the name, or may know the cause for it, but, not the solution. When SARS spread in China in 2004, the conventional medical doctors and researchers cannot help to prevent the spread of the new disease, nor to stop the death of patients, since it is not known the name or the course of the disease, so no way to start the treatment!

Every kind of medical therapy may have more or less side effects. As you may understand that nothing in and with your body should be too much, such as salt, sugar, water, vitamins, minerals, sexual life, exercise, sleeping, crying or laugh, not to mention the herbs. However, compared with the conventional medicine, TCM has much less side effects, under the hands of experienced TCM doctors. This is unlike the conventional medicine, in which the side effects of drugs are independent of the doctor. 

TCM has many excellent clinical effects in many cases. It works excellent in pediatrics, women’s disorders, infections diseases, emotional disorders, and many disorders in the eyes, nose, throat and ear. So many clinic comparative studies showed that TCM alone works well, even better, than the conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy in the treatment of early and middle stage cancers, in terms of 5-year survival rate, and has less side effects. For later stage cancer, it is useful to improve the quality of patient’s life in terms of less infection, bleeding, or pain.

TCM aims to correct the body functions first, rather than the structure. In the treatment of obesity, it aims to correct the metabolic disorders that cause the excess weight, rather than recommend exhausting physical exercise to “burn out” the extra fat tissue. Therefore, once it works to lose weight, though the process might be slower, the returning rate of the body weight is much lower. In the treatment of cancer, it aims to stop the uncontrolled growth of the cancer tissue first by correction of the whole body chemical and physical environment, that favor the cancer growth. Therefore, the overall results are that the growth of the cancer stops and no more new cancer may grow later. So many times, with the TCM treatment, the cancer mass is still in the body, but the patients return their normal life to live and work. It has been believed that patient life span may not need to shorten by the presence of the cancer mass in the body, but highly toxic treatment with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may. It does not recommend to correct the body structure completely if the life quality and the life span is compensated.

We predict that, if we let an excellent TCM doctor take care of a community, the medical resources he needs (medical staff, herbs, drugs, equipments, etc.) will be the least, while the residence of community could be the most healthy and have long life span.

It is still a major challenge for modern science to understand why TCM works, but this does not prevent its successful use, when we cannot understand something that does not make it wrong or false. More and more people realize that the conventional medicine and the TCM are just the different ways we can look at the health, even though it may be hard to see the two together.

Now, FDA in the United States has also realized the Traditional Chinese Medicine is not just a supplementary therapy, and accepted the concept that it is a complete medical system of theory and practice that have evolved independently from or parallel to conventional medicine. (eventually!).

In BC, the provincial government also announced the inclusion of acupuncture into the BC healthcare insurance plan for year 2008. Hope that we in Alberta will also be able to enjoy soon the acupuncture in the Alberta healthcare insurance plan.

You may have tried acupuncture or heard its positive effects. It works in many cases, but it is only a small part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine. Your doctor will, and should be able to tell when to use acupuncture or when to use Chinese herbal therapy, or a combination of the two.

For the benefit of TCM to you, we can continue such discussion using more space. However, nothing is worth than you try it first. Fact and result is the best teacher. Try it today, and you will be able to make a conclusion tomorrow by yourself.