What is Modern Chinese Medicine ?

After read those slides of herbal products, readers may find that they have clear molecular structure and pharmacologic information, which can not see in herbology of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This post will explain why.

What is “Modern Chinese Medicine?”

People are more familiar with TCM and in the Western world most TCM practitioners are acupuncturists. In China the mainstay of TCM is herbology and acupuncture is considered as an adjunctive therapy. Since 1958 there was an integration movement to combine TCM and western medicine in China.

Modern Chinese Medicine (MCM) is the integration of Chinese and Western medicine and is the result of the modernization of TCM as seen through the lens of Western pathophysiology and phytopharma­cology. This integrative approach has developed in all medical specialties allows for the practice of both TCM and WM in the same medical settings by the same doctors for the same patients with greatly improved outcomes.

The integration of TCM with WM is a national movement in China, the purpose of which is to create a unified medicine to better serve patients. Begun in 1958, the merging of these two medicines means that TCM is taught in conjunction with conventional WM in every medical school in China. I was one of the first generation of Chinese medical students to be trained in both Western and Chinese medicine. I attended a Western medical school, Shanghai Second Medical College, which now is Medical School of Shanghai Jiaotong University. In 1958, during my second year of medical school, TCM became a required course. At first, my classmates were unwilling to learn this “unscientific medicine.” We had already learned anatomy, histology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology, and pharmacology, but suddenly we were taught yin and yang, Theory of Five Elements, Hot and Cold, and Excess and Deficiency etc. We rejected those vague TCM concepts. Only when we entered our internships did we pick TCM up again because it works.

During this time, teaching hospitals set up TCM departments, and senior WM doctors were required to learn from TCM masters and to conduct research on TCM. Currently, three medicines are practiced in China: conventional Western medicine, TCM, and integrative Chinese and Western medicine, the latter of which I refer to as modern Chinese medicine (MCM).

                Besides the practical benefits of MCM, there are more profound philosophical reasons for adopting this integrative system. The two modalities are not simply piled atop each other but unified in such a way as to improve both. Since both TCM and WM are concerned with the health care of human beings, they can be integrated. Differences lie in their respective approaches to health, disease, and treatment made them difficult to integrate.

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