A lot of people I knew in the UK were extremely sceptical about Chinese medicine – and that’s putting it politely. The Observer, a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, ran a column on TCM for a couple of years, written by Stephen Russell under the pseudonym ‘Barefoot Doctor‘. He didn’t do the cause much good, as you’ll see if your read the wikipedia article, but his column was actually pretty good – but caused much hilarity amongst some of my friends, who found ideas such as “the eyes are the flower of the liver” to be preposterous…
It seems that TCM is actually gaining more credibility in the West, though. When I went back to visit my parents after several years away from the UK, I was astonished to see a TCM herbal medicine store on Cardiff’s main shopping street (I didn’t think to ask at the time who their market was, though).
Today’s Times also has a really interesting piece – apparently, acupuncture can raise the success rate of IVF by 65%.
Raffles Hospital here in Singapore is also now pioneering a lot of TCM treatments, using China-trained physicians – which is perhaps a bit of a turnaround, as Western medicine has always been Singapore’s preferred standard.
This is a trend to watch; I wonder if we will in the future see qigong treaments becoming more widespread?