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The global cross-cultural integration of TCM in the mainstream healthcare

Recently, Charlie Buck and I were invited to guest edit a Special Issue for the peer-reviewed journal “Chinese Medicine and Culture”. It discusses the global cross-cultural integration of TCM in the mainstream healthcare, medical education and the practice of medicine. It describes how TCM was established in the west, how schools were formed, how regulation was put together, and what is the future of the profession. We spoke with some of the key pioneers, Ted Kaptchuk, Peter Jonathan Deadman, Will Morris, Nigel Wiseman, Peter Eckman, John McDonald, Judy James, Felicity Moir, Edward Neal, and the wonderful Mel Hopper Koppelman. You can access the journal through this link:  https://journals.lww.com/CMC/pages/default.aspx   For convenience, I also uploaded the pdf of the entire issue on Google Drive, here:   https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fT4BSSEJ5uH8wqeWbry38NoLz2lo4nFJ/view?usp=share_link    
Recent posts

Fearing Integrative Medicine? -Why? It might just save your tradition!

Chinese Medicine is a medical system that prides 15 centuries of continuous development. And it has not only managed to remain relevant and current, but has also successfully acculturated itself in the mainstream healthcare, becoming a global phenomenon.   Yet, there is a misconception among some acupuncturists, that other modalities are now aggressively appropriating parts of their practices (i.e., "scope creep"). I think that this viewpoint, although sometimes valid, should become an opportunity for reflecting back on the reasons why this is happening.    But let’s start with a true story:  In 2017, an amateur MMA fighter in China, knocked out a famous Taiji master in 30 secs. All sentiments aside, in recent decades Taiji stopped being a martial art (for the most part), and has reached a point where it is now taught as a dance routine with health benefits. As such it has lost its original scope, purpose and application.   Chinese medicine in recent years is following a simi

The closing down of US Acupuncture Schools

The shutting down of Acupuncture Schools is fast becoming an epidemic. Of course there are realistic, creative and innovative solutions to this problem, but not without sacrifice and pain. But what where the reasons for their failure? Let's summarize some of them:    ·        They were teaching with the same methodology that Chinese students were taught in the 1950’s, utilizing almost the same type of textbooks without modernizing the language, perspectives and concepts. ·        They were perpetuating philosophical and mystical terminology to fuel a steampunk version of "Romantic Orientalism".  ·        They were seeking new recruits in the pool of the New Age and the Hippy communities.  ·        There was lack of research. And even when some were conducting research, this was with no strategic focus and clear direction, but merely to increase citations and false impact.  ·        They were creating degrees without imparting realistic skills. And most graduates abandoned

A photo with Prof. Zhang Jin at the Xi Yuan, in 2004

I was recently organizing some of my earliest photos from Beijing (between 2002-2009), and I stumbled across this odd one. I think it was taken in the year 2004, at the   Xi Yuan Hospital . At the time, I was already pursuing my Master’s degree in Chinese Medicine Diagnosis  at the   Beijing University of Chinese Medicine   (BUCM),  under prof. Chen Jia-xu.   I remember that I did not have classes that day, and I decided to visit Prof. Zhang Jin at the clinic. I found her chatting with a group of tourists, who were interested in TCM culture, and went to China to observe, as part of a short trip.   I say that this photo is odd, because at the request of Prof. Zhang I was asked to take a picture with all of them. At the time, this was common practice in China, and you often found yourself in random photos with other western people.    In later years I regularly followed Prof. Zhang at the clinic, learning prescription.  Prof. Zhang is currently a famous TCM superstar, having a regular pr

The new "Zhongxing Sports Trauma Hospital" Poster

Last Friday, I discovered that my old job in China, the  “Zhongxing Sport Trauma Hospital”  in Guangzhou, created a new poster for the Hospital Introduction, which features one of my photos. I was very surprised, because it has been more than 4 years since I left. Over the weekend, they reached out to request for my face to be used as part of their history and professional identity. To that, I kindly agreed.  (Side note: The photo with the skeleton was also taken by me, in late 2017)

Historical photos from the Annual Conferences of the Translation Specialty Committee of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies

I just received the news that this year, the annual WFCMS Conference for the Translation Specialty Committee will be held in person, after 4 years of hybrid meetings. Today, I am looking back at some photos from previous - in person - meetings, from times when I delivered key note speeches. Wuhan meeting in 2014: Nanchang Meeting in 2015: Guangzhou meeting in 2017:  Shanghai meeting in 2018:  Shanghai 2018, with Prof. Nigel Wiseman Guangzhou 2017, with Dr. Shan Bao-zhi, the current President of the Committee, and two of my former classmates: Changsha 2016:  Shanghai 2018 with Professor Fang Ting-yu and Prof. Wang Kui Shanghai 2018 with Prof. Nigel Wiseman, Prof. Zhu Jian-ping, Dr. Shan Bao-zhi and Prof. Wang Kui:  With Prof. Nigel Wiseman and my old classmate from BUCM, Dr. Rao Hong-mei: With Prof. Wang Kui, Prof. Nigel Wiseman, Prof. Zhu Jian-ping and Prof.Hong Mei:  With Prof. Nigel Wiseman and Prof. Li Xiao-li:  Changsha 2016 with Prof. Ma Boying: Changsha 2016 with Prof. Greta Yang

How to explain Chinese medicine to your patients

Most new patients at the hospital, regularly ask for an explanation of  Chinese medicine , so that they understand how the treatment works. In the United States, the religious, or those with a background in science are often very suspicious of a system that is being frequently advertised as the product of  vague eastern practices , or is  surrounded by mystery  and/or encompassing  near occult methods.   Many of my acupuncture students, sometimes also find it difficult to come up with a clear definition that doesn’t include the keywords:  qi, energies, yin and yang, five elements , and  5000 years of TCM history . An attempt to explain it as a method of using needles to stimulate  “channels and meridians” , or using herbs to access the internal organs according to  ancient experiences  of the Chinese people, again doesn’t sound scientifically convincing.    From my experiences in a hospital setting, when the religious or the scientifically knowledgeable patients hears such explanations