TCM Naysayers

As with any type of medical or health treatment that is not used by mainstream healthcare professionals, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM, for short) is not without controversy. However, what many people fail to realize is that by and large, the arguments made against TCM are not without their own biases and failure to really research TCM techniques and their results. So, let’s examine what some of these arguments and accusations are.

First up is the fact that many declare TCM to be ill researched or worse, a fledgling method of health treatment that won’t last long into the future anyway. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reason TCM is Traditional Chinese Medicine is because it is a very old, tried and true, set of techniques. These methods and tools stem from ancient ones in China, and they have been passed down from generation to generation. The only reason they may seem new and invalid is because the rest of the world has caught on to it only fairly recently, while China has been practicing TCM for centuries. If history is any teacher, TCM will be here for a long time to come.

As part of these claims, some people also insist that TCM therapies and treatments do not actually do anything— that their effectiveness is solely in the mind of the TCM professional and the patient receiving such treatment. However, this is simply not true. There have been so many cases— too many to count— of TCM effectively treating illnesses, from skin disorders like acne and rosacea to more serious, internal problems. Dr. Oz even featured several TCM techniques on his show and talked about TCM’s numerous advantages and their effectiveness. Ask any TCM professional, and they will gladly share with you what kind of realistic results you can expect from your treatment, as well as any previous success stories they have had in their practice.

Going along with this subject, others try to make it seem like TCM professionals simply prescribe random treatments and supplements for their patients to take because they are looking for easy money. Again, nothing is further from the truth, and anyone actually doing this is a fraud and should not be trusted (as with any other area of healthcare professionals). First of all, TCM treatments are much, much cheaper in cost than “mainstream” healthcare options, where patients are at the mercy of insurance companies and suffer financially from high doctor fees, high costs for medicines they are told to take daily for long periods of time, and expensive other treatments that come with various disadvantages and side effects. If anything, it certainly isn’t TCM that is taking advantage of the patient. Additionally, TCM focuses on treating the whole, entire individual in mind, body and spirit. Many of these treatments include exercises that the patient must do by himself or herself, such as adopting healthier diet, doing Tai Chi exercises and even meditating, among other things. Treatments like these cannot be sold per se, and therefore arguments of TCM professionals taking advantage of their patients financially are moot.

One of the worst “rumors” of all is that Traditional Chinese Medicine is unhealthy and even damaging to the patient. Quite the contrary. Traditional Chinese Medicine does not use harmful substances— simply natural plants and herbs that are good for the body. Additionally, therapies like acupuncture and cupping, when done right, pose virtually no risk to the patient. Unlike a lot of “mainstream” medical treatments, TCM looks to treat the cause of the problem, not merely the symptoms. While a certain tea may ease your pain in a specific area, taking it in conjunction with other therapies your TCM professional recommends is meant to do away with the problem altogether in the long run, by restoring chemical balance to your body. A lot of mainstream medical doctors may simply prescribe you pain medication, without solving the root of the problem.

Finally, there is the fact that TCM is perceived to be too strange for the mainstream. The reality is that in China, many mainstream medical professionals in fact use a lot of TCM methods regularly for treatment of their patients. Cupping, for example, is an official form of therapy in many Chinese hospitals. And in certain parts of Europe, it has been seen in mainstream hospitals as well. Furthermore, many of today’s real “mainstream” treatment methods (in non-Chinese cultures, that is) began as alternatives themselves, and some were even seen as homeopathic ones with little effect. As with all “new” things though, there are some people who just need some time to get used to TCM and to understand it. As time goes on, it is likely TCM will play a stronger role in modern medicine of Western civilization and other regions around the world.