News of Diseases in TCM

Number of people using Chinese medicines is growing in the world
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Maria Rosaria Saieva has spent two decades treating patients suffering from cancer and other serious illnesses. Several years ago, however, the medical doctor felt it was time do something more for her patients, so she learned acupuncture and recently, she visited a Beijing school to sharpen her needling skills.

Although Saieva has been offering acupuncture to her patients for a few years at her private practice in Rome, she knew that there was more than one way to manipulate acupuncture needles. She also knew that there was no better way to improve her techniques than to enroll in an acupuncture school in China. Click to read Causes of Secondary Infertility in TCM.

"The way the doctors here use the needle is different, it's very important for us to see it in China," Saieva said during a break from an acupuncture lesson recently in Chaoyang District.

Saieva is among a growing number of Western medical doctors and medical students who carve time from their busy schedules and fly to China to study or enhance their skills in acupuncture and other popular forms of traditional Chinese medicines (TCM).

While some come for degrees, most enroll in short or long-term courses in Chinese schools that seek out foreign students, those in the field say.

While TCM, also referred to in some countries as alternative or complementary medicine, remains controversial within the mainstream medical establishment in the United States, Britain and other developed countries, acupuncture stands out as an exception and has been widely accepted as a proven method to help patients with a list of specific ailments. Click to read TCM Diagnosis for Secondary Infertility.

Acupuncture was invented more than 2,000 years in China. It involves the use of thin metallic needles that are inserted into the skin at strategic points to relieve pain and help treat a number of medical problems.

Saieva, 48, says her private practice allows her the opportunity to help her cancer patients cope with pain, a serious side affect of chemotherapy treatment.

At the public hospital where she's an oncologist and hematologist, Saieva isn't allowed to practice acupuncture since the treatment remains controversial in the mainstream establishment. For those patients who visit her private practice, she is able to offer them relief from pain associated with chemotherapy although she is barred from inviting hospital patients to her private practice.

"I explain they can use acupuncture to decrease the adverse effects of chemotherapy," she says. Some other common ailments she treats with acupuncture needles include back pain, arthritis, joint pain and other types of aches in the body common among her largely middle-aged and elderly patients, Saieva says. Click to read Chinese medicine Treatment for Secondary Infertility.

Pain seems to be the most common ailment that doctors attack with acupuncture needles whether it's in China, Britain, the United States or Germany.

Barry Disch, a doctor of Chinese medicine at Beijing United Family Hospital who specializes in acupuncture, decided to settle down in China eight years ago after earlier making three separate visits to China starting in the 1980s, in order to enhance his skills.

While he studied Chinese medicine in the United States, he polished his techniques and training in China, he says. Although he sometimes gets puzzling looks from people not used to seeing a foreigner like him practicing TCM in China, he enjoys a good career at the hospital where he helps his mostly foreign patients fight all forms of pain: shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain or headaches. He also helps patients quit smoking.

As a practitioner who started his career in California 22 years ago, Disch recalled that mainstream medical doctors and those who practice traditional medicine in the United States were perceived to have "an adversarial" relationship. Click to read TCM Treatment Evaluation for Secondary Infertility.

Today, some people still see it that way. But Disch takes the philosophical view that both types of medicines have one trait in common.

"Both Western medicine and TCM make people feel better. I think we do a good job with TCM and so does Western medicine," he says. "But I don't think doctors in general give the body enough credit."

He explains that all medicines generally are used to make patients "feel better" but their bodies are programmed to heal themselves and often do so naturally. He points to another parallel between the two medicines used for the flu.

"There's no Western medical drug that actually helps people with the flu, but they're all going to get better," Disch says. "So TCM is basically doing the same kind of thing: we're making them feel better, we're telling them the course of the disease will shorten. We are not really curing them, their bodies are curing themselves."

In a 2003 report, the WHO said that while traditional medicine may be controversial in Western countries, it's often the only option for millions of people in poor developing countries in Africa and Asia, mainly because it's accessible and affordable when compared to western drugs.

The report also said that the number of people using traditional medicines, either with or without their doctor's consent, has been growing in many Western countries. However, the challenge for WHO is to help Western countries grow to accept other forms of traditional medicine into mainstream practice, a goal experts have been trying to inch toward in recent years by improving research and clinical trial methods in China, WHO says.

"We have been helping countries like China to standardize the treatment guidelines and share with them the experience on how to utilize scientific methods to do clinical trials with traditional medicine," says a WHO official in Beijing.

Article source: chinadaily

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