In 2004, one-fifth of U.S. hospitals offered traditional Chinese medical services -- such as acupuncture, tai chi chuan and meditation -- that's more than double the number in 1998. In addition, the FDA has shown support for Chinese medicine by modifying experiment guidelines. The FDA's new guidelines no longer require all active ingredients to be identified prior to experimenting -- a process that was nearly impossible considering that many TCM remedies utilize a combination of many botanicals.
Joseph Acquah, a licensed TCM practitioner at UCSF's Osher Center, says the FDA's policy change will add credibility to the practice of Chinese medicine, and that "It makes herbal practitioners more legitimate in the eyes not only of the general public, but to our colleagues in the medical profession."
However, Chinese therapies still have vocal critics who continue to judge Chinese medicine based on compartmentalized Western thinking. But Chinese medicine does not look at a patient as having isolated "diseases" to be treated with specific allopathic chemicals. Rather, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, the patient is viewed holistically, as a dynamic conjoining of body systems that are supported through therapies that encourage the body to reactivate its own self-healing abilities.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on over 5,000 years of real-world observation and experimental adaptation ("modern" medicine, in contrast, is less than one hundred years old). Those who have studied both Chinese and Western systems of medicine, such as Dr. Elson Haas, author of "The New Detox Diet," Chinese medicine is consistently viewed as far safer and less expensive than Western medicine, while being more effective at actually addressing the underlying causes of diseases and health imbalances.
While acute injury or dangerously elevated symptoms may justify the use of invasive Western treatments (drugs and surgery, usually), modern medicine has proven to be virtually useless in either preventing or reversing the degenerative diseases that now plague Western society, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, cancer, depression, obesity and osteoporosis. Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a system of treatment that is affordable, safe and effective while honoring the first rule of medicine that conventional doctors have long forgotten: "First, do no harm."