Developments in our understanding of Chinese and Western medicine

One of the most irritating aspects of studying TCM has been the response of a certain type of Western friend. Often self-identifying as modern, liberal, Guardian-reading bobos, they react to the concepts of Chinese medicine almost with anger; “it’s just superstition”, one old friend told me.

Well, to get correct answers you have to ask the correct questions, and one of th eproblems scientists have encountered is that they’ve been looking in the wrong ways for explanations of how TCM works.

Which leads me to two stories from this week.

The first is that CT scans are now demonstrating that acupuncture points do have unusual physical qualities.

The second is that a House of Commons committee has confirmed the allegations made in Ben Goldacre’s book, Bad Pharma, that the pharmaceutical companies are developing and marketing medicines based on selective use of data – meaning doctors are not able to properly make decisions on what to prescribe for their patients.

It strikes me that blindly believing what the Western pharma-industrial complex says in its well-funded marketing is the superstitious approach…

Carus-p48-Mystic-table” by An unknown Tibetan artist – A Tibetan work, reproduced first in Waddell, “The Buddhism of Tibet…”, p. 453, and then in Carus, ” Chinese thought”, p 48. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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