MODERN CHINESE MEDICINE (ZHONG XI YI JIEHE)
MCM is using the best of both Chinese and western medical methods. Western sciences such as anatomy, physiology, pathology and associated technologies such as cytology (cell study), radiology, and computers support Chinese native medicine, which includes acupuncture, herbology, and Tui Na (massage and manipulation methods). MCM doctors may use either method to guide and assist the other in treatment, diagnosis or assessment. This broad and powerful array of theories, practices, and technologies delivers more resources to the patient.
A critical component to MCM is the inclusion of the traditional Chinese belief that the body functions as a whole, and each part is intimately connected. This holistic philosophy supercedes the western, Cartesian principal of dualism, which is based on the mind and body as two separate systems. The Chinese never developed the matter–spirit dichotomy, and do not see illness as either physical or mental, as western doctors still have a tendency to do.
Inherent in the MCM philosophy is knowledge that the body has the potential to cure its own diseases if “needled”, manipulated and herbally encouraged in the correct way. Chinese medicine does not divide the world into mind and matter, but instead uses yin and yang, equating illness to their imbalance. Chinese Medicine also uses the theory of the Five Elements, a complex configuration of energy (Qi) channels and a sophisticated diagnostic system which depends on the doctor’s sensory awareness and intuitive faculties as well as the emotional state of the patient. This comprehensive, nature-based, trusted system has enabled the Chinese people to readily take responsibility for their health, inspiring daily practices such as Tai Chi (Ji), Qi Gong and meditation to sustain health and well being.
Lastly, herbal medicine contributes significantly to the evolution of native Chinese medicine to MCM. Important advances include the preparation of herbs using the same technologies used to create drugs, borrowed from computer sciences, physics, cytology, chemistry, and so on. Modern research has revealed the chemistry of Chinese herbs, and continued research uncovers their pharmacodynamics. The active ingredients of the most commonly used Chinese herbs are well established, and their pharmacologic effect, including, for example, their anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-tumoral, anti-pyretic (fever reducing), diuretic, and hypotensive (blood pressure reducing) effects, has had massive medical screening. Along with the changes in herbal medicine preparation methods, new formulas are constantly being developed. The quality control practices and standards currently in place rival those of the western world.
Modern Chinese Medicine (MCM) is a holistic medical approach that integrates Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with modern western medicine. In 1955, the People’s Republic of China established formal medical schools to teach three kinds of medicine: TCM (Zhong Yi), Western medicine (Xi Yi) and what we call Modern Chinese Medicine (Zhong Xi Yi Jiehe). The most highly trained and well respected doctors in China are those with MCM education and experience. Gradually China has opened its doors to the west, but only a small number of these doctors have emigrated to practice MCM outside of their homeland. Though TCM has been practiced outside of China for decades, the more evolved MCM is just now becoming visible in the western world. The MCM components of acupuncture, Tui Na, Chinese Herbs and Qi Gong are being practiced in Chicago uniquely with Dr. Leon Chen.
Dr. Chen’s Zhong Xi Yi Jiehe (MCM) background and experience uniquely position him as a thought leader in the emerging field of MCM. He feels it’s important to differentiate between TCM (read more about TCM) and MCM so that western medical science can be appropriately credited and beneficially used in creating optimal health. Dr. Chen’s vision of MCM bridges the gap between these two schools of thought and evolves both towards a quality of health care that may be considered inevitable as our nations become more interdependent. In Chicago, Dr. Chen is treating orthopedic patients with neck pain, low back pain, arthritis, herniated disk, osteoporosis, depression and many other internal illnesses.
Gradually, the world is becoming more aware of the benefits of Chinese medicine, even though many in the west still view it as an esoteric and natively shamanistic practice. Nevertheless, because it is proven, time tested, natural and non-invasive, the art and science of acupuncture has the western world intrigued. Mainstream research on how and why acupuncture works is underway, though Tui Na and herbology have more momentum from alternative health care groups. To date, modern medical researchers believe that acupuncture works through three main body systems: the Nervous, Endocrine and Immune Systems.
Doctors researching the affects of acupuncture have found it to significantly increase immune function in at least three aspects: the antigen (antibody production) activity is strengthened, the activation complement damaging effect strengthens, and the phagocytes (engulfment and digestion of bacteria) function is enhanced. Animal experimentation and clinical observation has indicated that acupuncture may cause the overall white blood cell count to increase. Also, the lattice endothelial cell phagocytes (defense mechanism) function is strengthened and the immune competent cells are activated. Acupuncture strengthens the T-lymphocyte transformation by strengthening their metabolic function. The nucleic acid metabolism has been observed to accelerate, which allows the DNA synthesis to complete itself more rapidly. Thus, experimental results show that acupuncture may make the immune system stronger, especially in its lymphatic system, probably because of its influence on the central nervous system.
The nervous system is another realm in which acupuncture’s influence is being researched using modern methods, specifically in its influence on pain. That acupuncture has analgesic function is recognized in both the domestic and foreign medical arenas. It has been theorized that it is effect ive for local pain because it changes fluid dynamics and allows trapped inflammatory chemicals to be washed away into the circulation. This is also exemplified in the Tui Na (Chinese massage) methods, as well as in the local needle manipulation techniques. It has been theorized that the mechanisms for systemic pain control involve increasing the production of 5HT (hydroxy tryptamines), also known as the mood elevator, serotonin. Acupuncture’s pain relieving ability stems from its ability to influence all organic levels, and it involves nerve, fluid factors, hormone activity, and the pain signal loop. The acupuncture analgesia mechanism is complex, and although many significant research results have been obtained, there are still many questions waiting for exploration.
The Endocrine system is another major system through which acupuncture works. The modern understanding is that hormones are adjusted to optimum or balanced function. This is seen in the treatment of infertility, Type 2 diabetes, menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and loss of bone density, especially osteoporosis caused by hysterectomy and oophectomy link to case study.
Endorsements are flourishing, creating an environment conducive to wide recognition of MCM. In 1997 the US National Institute for Health (NIH) recommended to expand conventional medicine with and encourage further studies of acupuncture. In January, 2002, the the World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a Global Strategy for Traditional and Complementary Alternative Medicine.
The science and art of Chinese medicine is becoming noteworthy throughout the world. Medical schools in the US are just beginning to offer “alternative” medical (alt-med) training. Dr. Andrew Weil’s Program for Integrative Medicine has graduated nearly 100 MD’s, all of whom use acupuncture with their patients. Through UCLA and other highly ranked US universities, MD’s can learn about acupuncture in weekend seminars and home study environments. Even though we are yet unable to teach full blown MCM in the west, these incremental steps being taken are leading us towards increased use of more alternative, non-invasive and dignified medical methods.
Globally, the market for effective health care will ultimately drive the usage of MCM. China is actively pushing for global acceptance of her traditional remedies and will ultimately compete with the western pharmaceutical giants. Inevitably, both the traditions and the advances of all nations will reach their potential and MCM will be recognized as a highly valued outcome of globalization. In the meantime, Dr. Chen and others continue to stay focused, practicing and teaching locally, and providing superior MCM based health care to the best of their ability.