quarta-feira, 7 de dezembro de 2011

Injecting New Life into TCM

Com este texto vemos como a Medicina Chinesa é complexa, profunda e o seu estudo tem de ser levado muito a sério para não sermos apenas "meios" médicos/terapeutas, mas sim médicos por inteiro, com consciência do que estamos a fazer. É também uma boa resposta a todos aqueles que acham que deveriam ser os médicos (cá no ocidente) a aplicar Medicina Chinesa.
At a small private clinic, Zhang Jianmin is feeling a patient's wrist for a pulse. His thick, furrowed brows and bright eyes behind big glasses underline the concentration. Though he receives no more than 20 patients a day, the cases usually take him about 16 to 20 hours. As well as hands-on treatment, Zhang needs time to think about effective prescription, even after clinic time, as most of his patients suffer difficult and complicated diseases, such as cancer.They are people who have failed to find a cure to their problems in other hospitals - either traditional Chinese medicine or Western medicine. Zhang is their last resort."Every disease has a cure, just like every lock was born with a key," says Zhang. "Only that we haven't found some of them yet, and I am trying my best to search."Though only 51 years old, Zhang is a veteran TCM doctor with almost 35 years of experience. He first rose to fame at age 35 when he was the only TCM doctor named in the first "Shanghai 10 Best Doctors" list in 1992.Zhang is a general practitioner who started concentrating on more difficult diseases such as cancer, asthma, Stein-Leventhal syndrome, cirrhosis of liver and emphysema several years ago. Though he never promises he can cure patients, his success rate has made his name known throughout China. Hundreds of patients come to him at great expense as his clinic is not within the medical insurance system.But Zhang is not satisfied, even in light of his success. The current dim status of TCM in China worries him a lot."Traditional Chinese medicine is fading in its hometown," says Zhang. "I don't want to be one of the last TCM doctors in China."According to Zhang, typical TCM doctors or clinics are "hard to find in China today." The invasion of Western medicine and the promotion of it have almost shouldered TCM into a dead corner."Many people argue that there are big TCM hospitals and hundreds of graduates from TCM academies each year," says Zhang. "But look at how the so-called TCM doctors treat diseases. They believe more in blood test reports than what the pulse tells. They prescribe Western medicines more often than TCM herbs. And they may even use Western theories to explain a disease to patients."In most TCM hospitals, according to Zhang, only the physicians above chief level are capable of prescribing proper TCM herbs.The current TCM education system is a problem, he says, as Western medicine courses are a must for TCM students in any medical academy in China today. And few TCM students get the opportunity to practice with a TCM doctor as intern.Ruan Lanying, 26, a master's degree graduate of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine earlier this year, chose to become an apprentice of Zhang years ago. She says Western medicine courses take up almost half of the courses in the university."Being a TCM doctor is my dream," says Ruan. "When I found it hard to realize through study in an academy and interning at big TCM hospitals, I transferred to private clinics."Zhang believes clinical practice is the soul of TCM and clinic experience the only key for a TCM doctor.Zhang's success may be a good proof. Zhang has never entered a TCM university. He was sent to a town clinic right after graduating from a TCM major in a health school at 16. He kept treating patients at daytime and reading TCM classics, thinking and analysis at night.Compared with Western medicine, TCM theory is obscure and difficult to master as it is based on traditional Chinese culture that is strange to many Chinese young people today. Only by dealing with real cases can the theories make sense."I have always kept myself at the frontline in fighting diseases," says Zhang. "All those real cases throughout the last 35 years provides me confidence and capability."The withering of TCM itself results in many misunderstandings by the public which aggravates the situation.The fierce battle on abolishing TCM prevailed on Internet nationwide years ago. Many "abolishing" supporters kept saying that TCM is unscientific while some even claim it is "superstitious.""What is scientific? Measuring TCM with the ruler of Western medicine itself is unscientific," Zhang says.And even though TCM re-emerged after successfully battling SARS in 2003 when Western medicine didn't work out, it is still forced to play a supporting role such as relieving chronic diseases or helping recovery after surgery."TCM is not only effective in treating chronic diseases or diseases-to-be, it has taken care of Chinese people for thousands of years," says Zhang.He adds a proper prescription of herbs is effective in allaying a fever as quickly as a Western injection.Zhang has made great efforts in making TCM more efficient to compete with Western medicine in recent years.Though prescribing herbs for each patient according to his or her own constitution is a tradition in TCM, it is unnecessary to give a different prescription for every other person with the same simple ailment like a cold, claims Zhang."I use only three different prescriptions for all patients with a cold," he says. "One for cold caused by pathogenic coldness, one for that caused by pathogenic heat and one for that caused by both."And even some different diseases can be cured by similar prescriptions. For example, scaly tetter, neurodermitis, eczema and lupus sebaceous can share similar prescriptions as they are all caused by pathogenic heat and dampness. Neuropathic headache, sleeplessness, high blood pressure, infantile autism, hyperkinetic syndrome and epilepsy can share similar prescriptions to the relief of overactive yang (hot) energy in the liver, rheumatoid arthritis and polymyositis.Zhang is even considering developing herbal prescriptions that can be easily purchased at pharmacies just like Western remedies."As few good typical TCM doctors are available now, I hope that effective typical TCM prescriptions can help Chinese people with easy access," says Zhang.