Chinese medicine is becoming more and more international
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) isn’t supported by most Westerners. However, this is starting to change. TCM will be included in the new version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which will be published by the World Health Organization in 2019, Nature magazine reported.
This is the first time for TCM to be included in the ICD, which serves as “the international standard for diseases and health conditions,” according to China Daily.Ryan Abbott at the Center for East-West Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, US, said this could benefit TCM. The inclusion of TCM in the ICD “is a mainstream acceptance that will have significant impact around the world”, Abbott told Nature.
TCM has seen some growth in other countries, with a number of famous people being known to use it. For example, during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, US swimmer Michael Phelps was seen with circular bruises on his body. Such bruises are caused by cupping, a traditional Chinese medicinal practice that has been around for more than 2,000 years.
In 2015, Chinese scientist Tu Youyou was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of artemisinin, a drug that can cure malaria. She said she was inspired by traditional Chinese medicine.
China has made some efforts to promote TCM overseas. Twenty-six TCM centers were set up overseas over three years, according to a 2017 report published by Xinhua News Agency. TCM still faces many challenges, such as a lack of clinical evidence as to precisely how it works, according to China Daily.
“Not subject to Western testing standards such as randomized controlled clinical trials … TCM’s effectiveness has been difficult to study or provide evidence for,” according to CNN. Some say that TCM methodology should be combined with modern scientific methods to make it more acceptable to people outside of China. “Tried and tested over thousands of years, the effectiveness of TCM is clear,” Lu Chuanjian, vice-president of the Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, told China Daily. “Now we need to use modern technology and ways of thinking to explain to the world how TCM works on specific diseases and [to] prove that it can cure diseases,” Lu added.