Chinese are Slipping into a Major Health Trap
Yesterday was the 3rd of August, 2018, and I was browsing through a group chat on Wechat (popular messaging app in China) where once again I came across the famous article written by Professor and General Dai Xu, of the National Defense University in China, called: “China is Currently Facing Threat of a Third Partition”. Since August 1st was the 91st anniversary of the founding of the PLA, I am more interested in military topics these days.
General Dai mentioned in his article that: “in the coming 10 to 20 years, namely during the year 2020 to 2030, there will be a massacre directed towards China, and a big looting. Indeed, history is not that far from us, when in 1840 Europe carried out the first partition of China; and again in the year 1849 after the China Westernization Movement, also called the First Reform & Opening-up, had failed which lead to the world partitioning China for the second time.”If one observes they can see that the First and Second Opium Wars, were all closely related to economy and healthcare. Furthermore, many wars carried out by people, whether in the past, present, or future, have been and will continue to be closely related to economy and healthcare. After carefully reading General Dai’s article, and myself fighting on the front lines as a health worker, especially a TCM health worker, I feel a strong resonance in my heart to his article, at the same time I get an urge of responsibility to carry the torch from General Dai and continue his research in other directions. The idea that I want to express is getting clearer and clearer, and I believe that“The Chinese are Slipping into a Major Health Trap”.
It is with deep gratitude I recall General Dai and his very impressive feelings of concern for his own country and people, if I am able to do the same from the perspective of healthcare and write this piece in an enriched, well-developed, well-justified, skillful and methodical way, no doubt it will be of enormous benefit to the 1.4 billion Chinese people and other people around the world, and it will also serve as an echo to the article written by General Dai. Regardless if one is a common person, the leader of a country, medical personnel or non-medical personnel, I wish everyone may calmly read this article from start to finish, pull together to work, discuss, and find together a practical and effective way to prevent slipping into the major health trap right before our eyes.
On 24th of August, our hospital welcomed a group of 8 students who came from the College of Traditional Chinese Therapy in France, of which some already had had 5, 10, or 20 years of experience working in TCM. During class on the 26th, I taught them how hypertension is treated with TCM. My explanation was: There are a lot of hypertension patients currently in China, and for most of them the cause is LTD (long-term alcohol drinking). From TCM’s perspective, alcohol has heating effect on the body, and can ferment to cause excess dampness-heat in the body, if this leads to accumulation of fat on the abdominal area, it is called “Grease”in TCM; and if the fat sticks to vascular walls, then it is called “Phlegm-Dampness” or “Dampness-Heat” in TCM. Alcohol has the effect of evaporating the Yin fluid of the liver, leading to a Yin deficiency of the liver, and the liver Yang becomes relatively hyperactive, in TCM it’s called “Hyperactive Liver Yang”. This liver Yang rushes to the upper part of the body, with symptoms such as red flushing of the face, distention of the Taiyang EM5 (temples) and head, TCM calls this a liver yang hyperactivity, and in Western medicine the main symptom is rise in blood pressure, which is known as hypertension.
Western medicine approaches treatment of hypertension in two ways: first is using vasodilators, let’s think about it, if the vessel size is enlarged, won’t the blood pressure also drop as well? The second way is using diuretics, again let’s think about it, if the volume decreases in the vessels, won’t the blood pressure drop as well? Both these methods are excellent in emergency situations, for example if a house caught on fire, and the fireman threw water on the fire, the fire would be immediately extinguished. However, if these two types of drugs are used long-term, what will the consequences be? First let’s talk about the vasodilators, if the blood vessel is forced to enlarge hundreds and thousands of times, it will become very susceptible to rupture, i.e. this is what we commonly see as cerebrovascular accidents and stroke, in which either the patient dies instantly, or he is saved but remains semi-paralyzed forever. The second type of drug is diuretics, if the volume inside the blood is forced to become lesser and lesser, won’t the concentration of the remaining fluid get higher and higher? In turn, won’t the blood become thicker and thicker? Subsequently, thromboses will also occur more often, and if these thromboses obstruct vessels in the brain or heart, the result will be cerebral infarction or myocardial infarction, and the patient’s life will be in grave danger. Additionally, these hypotensive drugs in western medicine also cause great damage to the liver and kidney, if one uses them daily for about 10-15 years, this may lead to hepatorenal failure. At that stage the patient must undergo dialysis as a dead-man walking with a very low quality of life.
On the other hand, how did our intelligent ancient Chinese ancestors treat hyperactivity of the liver yang (hypertension)? Firstly, they did so by clearing heat, as if one is extinguishing the firewood that is burning under a pot, getting to the root of the matter. Secondly, our ancestors used Chinese herbs that activate blood and remove stasis, which little by little remove the excess fat adhered to the walls of vessels, after which the vessel is patent, and the vessel wall has recovered its elasticity. Thirdly, they nourished the liver Yin, when the liver water flows again, the liver fire will naturally descend, when measured it can be seen as the blood pressure normalizing. This whole process of TCM treatment lasts 2 to 5 months, differing with the patient’s body type and condition, and most patients can be fully healed.
Especially if the patient is in the initial stage of the disease, the treatment effect is faster and better, and he doesn’t need to take life-long medication. After elaboration of the two completely different treatment principles and methods of TCM and Western medicine, the group of French students gave me a big round of applause, and they marveled at the greatness of our Chinese ancestors. When I asked them which method they preferred, all of them agreed that TCM’s treatment principle and method was better.
China currently has 200 million hypertensive patients that rely on these extensively damaging hypotensive drugs everyday to survive. Once the patient starts taking hypotensive drugs, they cannot stop, and must face lifelong medication. Due to this, the beautiful lives of many Chinese people have entered a 15-year countdown ever since the day they started taking hypotensive drugs. What a striking resemblance these hypotensive drugs bear to Opium during the Opium War! Using hypotensive drugs as the representative, can’t we consider many Western medicines nowadays as our modern day Opium? When compared to the “Humen Opium Cigarette”sold back in the day by Lin Zexu, isn’t the amount of hypotensive drugs taken and the number of people taking them on a far greater scale than that of Opium during the first and Second Opium Wars? Not to mention the massive amounts of steroids and antibiotics taken by Chinese people daily.
There are many reports online stating: “Currently in China, there are around 200 million hypertensive patients, 100 million diabetic patients, 80 million patients with chronic cardiovascular & cerebrovascular diseases, this is a total of almost 380 million.”On one occasion, I chatted with a friend in the County Disabled Persons' Federation, he told me disabled people account for about 6% of the total population in China, so if the total population of China is 1.4 billion, this means that there are around 90 million disabled people. 380 million+90 million= 470 million, dear friends, the magnificent People’s Republic of China has 1.4 billion people, a calculation of just alone the most common diseases added together with disability accounts for 33 percent of the population, which is one third. I know someone will instantly contradict me by saying that in the 470 million people some might have two or more concomitant diseases, simultaneously having hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular & cerebrovascular diseases, so the number 470 million is an overestimate. However, my dear comrades, I haven’t calculated all the other most commonly seen diseases, including: rheumatism, liver diseases, kidney diseases, lumbar diseases. In fact, the real number of people with chronic diseases will be much higher than 470 million.
Isn’t it alarming how far away Chinese people really are from the great health trap?
After eight years of hard work, in the year 2000 I was able to successfully translate one of the most famous classic medical literatures of TCM 《The Medical Classic of The Yellow Emperor》, and thanks to Beijing Foreign Language Press it was published to more than 100 countries all over the world.
At one point I remember seeing my book for many years at the International Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany on CCTV, next to the likes of famous Chinese translated works such as: 《All Men Are Brothers》、《Journey to the West》、《Art of War by Sun Tzu》、《Selected works of Deng Xiaoping》among many other English translated works being promoted to the world. For this reason, I have been very lucky in the past 18 years, because from over 100 countries (the farthest being South America), there have been around 4000 international patients with chronic difficult diseases, as well as international students wanting to study TCM who have come to my hospital, which is located in the eco-city of Huaihua, Hunan province, and it is called:“Zhongfang Red Cross International Hospital”or locally it is called “Zhongfang County TCM Hospital”, in order to treat their diseases as well as to study TCM. The hospital I have built is probably the first county-level pure TCM hospital in China. I am also fortunate to be one of the world's leading TCM doctors in receiving and treating the most cases of difficult diseases. Particularly, I have received and treated over 200 cases of the most difficult disease to treat in the world: “Gradual frozen man disease”known as ALS. Modern Western medicine believes ALS is a terminal illness, incurable; however, the effect of treatment for ALS has been getting better and better at our hospital, along with treatment for other most difficult diseases to treat in the world, including: MS, Lupus erythematosus, Ankylosing spondylitis, Scleroderma, Nephrotic syndrome, tumors etc.
My personal experience and background of medical practice are special. Perhaps from this experience I can explain to you can more realistically what humanistic medicine is about, what medicine is about in general, how diseases occur in the body, how should people treat these diseases, how are diseases healed etc. What the patient cares most about is how they can treat their disease, what the government cares most about is how to keep its population healthy and save money in healthcare, I hope this may engage everyone to come up with their valuable opinions.
Let me explain to everybody the subject of medicine, a subject that seems very specialized and recondite, by putting it in simpler terms so that more people can understand it.
There is an old Chinese proverb that goes: “See one spot, know the panther”. The meaning is that, there are a lot of spots on a panther’s body, but if you carefully observe a spot on one panther, the other spots will be the same. In fact, medicine is also the same, diseases are also the same, if you understand one principle; you can understand many other similar principles. For sake of time, this article will only cover in detail the very common and often recurring disease: hypertension, as it is very representative.
Certainly many of our friends reading this article will wish to turn over a new leaf on their journey of health and will have many interesting questions to ask, for example: What is the difference between Chinese medicine and Western medicine? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? While treating diseases is it possible to avoid surgery? Why does Western medicine seem to be developing more and more in China, even though the more people seek its help the more diseases they get? Why even though the Government and People's Health Insurance have spent so much money on healthcare, they are still unable to cover the rapidly growing costs of Western medicine? Why even though TCM is so good, yet it still cannot develop the way Western medicine does? Why even though the Government invests a lot of funds into healthcare development, the healthcare status of the people is still so distressing?
I would like to share some of my personal thoughts with everyone: Firstly regarding why in the past 50 years, Western medicine in China has been greatly expanded, whereas TCM has been totally diminished. I believe the main reason is probably this: during the War of Liberation, which was in the 1940s, previous officers from the PLA after they entered the 70s and 80s, many of them went on to becoming main leaders in China’s Ministry of Health or leaders of various Provincial Health Departments. It was these officers’ unforgettable memories from their war years, for example immediate surgical amputation, bullet excision from wounds, wound hemostasis and anti-inflammation; which made them value greatly the development of this kind of medicine during their time in office. Due to this historical reason, Western medicine gained a lot of attention, talent, resources, funding; whereas TCM which was famous during the peaceful times for curing chronic diseases was naturally overlooked, and lost everything. This situation is completely understandable.
According to statistics, currently in China there are around 2200 counties, where TCM doctors are able to use their 3 fingers to feel a patient’s pulse, in addition to writing a useful prescription of Chinese herbs, with each county having less than 2 doctors, and when we add the number of TCM doctors from different provinces together with excellent TCM doctors in cities the total number of practicing TCM doctors raises, but at best doesn’t cross 10,000, including myself. The reason I have been able to persist is because I truly believe TCM is very good, it is very useful for the patients, the passion behind TCM has been supporting and encouraging me. The number of fighters fighting in the first line trenches for TCM is getting smaller and smaller, even classmates from the TCM college I attended, at least 95% of them “gave up”and became Western medicine doctors, they had no other options, and it is completely understandable. On the other hand, the silver lining is that China still has 10,000 excellent TCM soldiers and a backbone, and has not been completely broken up. The fire of the stars may still be set ablaze, and it is better late than never!
What is the main difference between Western medicine and TCM? A vivid description would be: Imagine a house caught on fire; Western medicine would be the fire extinguisher, the firefighter, the paramedic. Another example, if someone was in a car accident and needed immediate attention such as hemostasis, repair of arteries, support of vital signs (such as fluid transfusion or oxygen); or for example if someone fell down and cracked open their skin, they would need immediate cleaning of the wound, suturing etc. In these cases Western medicine would be the optimal choice. Also Western medicine is very advanced with modern testing equipment for physical examination, also in cases of appendicitis, or severely incarcerated kidney stones which need immediate surgery etc. Western medicine can be life saving at critical moments just as a fire extinguisher is during a fire; this is the major advantage of Western medicine. However, it is precisely because Western medicine has these advantages, that its many deficiencies have been covered up, and has caused the people to have a huge perception bias. When in fact, after a house on fire has been extinguished, and the firemen leave the scene, it is the turn of the garbage disposers, the movers, the mud workers, the electricians, the renovators who must arrive and finish the job. In the world of medicine, it is time that TCM got its chance to shine.Moreover, the way Western medicine treats hypertension, it is as if the firemen in the previous example never leave the scene, and keep spraying water on the house, but this way nobody will be able to live in that house anymore, i.e. the hypertension will never be treated well, causing the condition to only become worse and worse.
The Chinese have been away from the war for decades now, and chronic diseases are getting more and more, i.e. hypertension, diabetes, rheumatism, gout, gastritis, lumbar disc herniation, asthma, infertility, insomnia etc. Chronic diseases account for 70% to 80% of all human diseases and treating them are not the“firemen’s”strength. In fact, these diseases are all best treated by TCM’s “treat the root cause”principle. In other words, Western medicine now occupies a 95% or higher share in the treatment field, even though 60% to 70% is not what it is best at treating. Therefore, since the principles, treatment methods and drugs of Western medicine have been formed using the same pattern of a fireman trying to put out a fire, which is oblivious to the work of the garbage disposers, the movers, the mud workers, the electricians, the renovators who must arrive and finish the job, it is no wonder why so many patients complain that treatment is not effective, once we see it like this it is not strange at all.
A German physician named Jörg Blech wrote a book called 《Invalid Medicine》, in which he states of all the treatments, methods, drugs and operations in modern human medicine, only less than 20% are truly effective, and about 80% are ineffective. More interestingly, Israeli doctors went on strike for six months at some point, in some area, because of salary problems, and six months later, statistics showed that the mortality rate of the patients dropped by 50% over the past six months. No wonder the book warns us that the most likely person to kill you in the world is your doctor. All the information mentioned above is enough to show that even Westerners are helpless with modern western medicine, with their sarcasm and humor. Fancy modern machines can always squeeze out your money effectively, but can hardly ever give you the treatment effect you’re looking for. Effective medical care is often not the most expensive, and the most expensive medical treatment is often not the most effective.
My personal view is that western medicine has its strong points; it's a good first aid (fire fighting) medicine, and using Western medicine in 20% to 30% of the total treatment of human diseases would be more appropriate and beneficial to mankind; whereas TCM is not a good first aid medicine, but it's a good treatment (repair) medicine, the theoretical system of TCM is very complete and stable, the medicines are mostly plants and are very safe; therefore it would be a wise decision to seek professional TCM help for chronic diseases, and TCM treatment should account for 70% to 80% of the total treatment of human diseases, this would be the most beneficial to mankind. In short, for chronic diseases, in most cases the“Western medicine examination + TCM treatment” model is relatively most appropriate.
Chinese people should feel proud, that on this beautiful earth, their ancestors have created such a great therapeutic medicine. The people of the world thank TCM from the bottom of their hearts, and more and more foreign friends are learning TCM. Through observing the thousands of years of history, we can easily arrive at the conclusion, that when the more prosperous TCM was, the better the health of the Chinese nation was. Vice versa, the more neglected TCM was, the worse the health of the Chinese nation was. TCM has become a barometer of the health of the Chinese nation. With regard to surgery, our team's clinical experience tells us that many operations are unnecessary. For example, in 2017 our hospital received and treated more than 30 patients with lumbar disc herniation, of which only two were recommended to do surgery in the end, the other patients never underwent any surgery, and just through acupuncture, tuina massage and decoction treatment, they all recovered well. The cost of surgical treatment in city-level hospitals is about 40 to 70 thousand RMB; the cost of TCM is about 10 to 20 thousand RMB. Many of my patients were required to do surgery by the Western medicine hospitals, such as: Arthroplasty, stent implantation in the heart, uterine cystectomy and kidney stone removal, later they were all treated by TCM and successfully avoided surgery. Patients were safer, the cost was more economical, the whole treatment process turned into a relaxing experience. Everyone think about it, if a metal device was put in my joints and several “time bombs”in my heart, what would that feel like?
As everyone knows, most Western medicine surgeons when they know they have a disease, they will not accept to undergo an operation easily on themselves; also if an Internal Medicine doctor finds a tumor in their own body, they are even less likely to chooses radiotherapy or chemotherapy. In the west, chemotherapy and radiotherapy have long been known to be of little help in treating tumors, and will only speed up the development of the disease. However, in today's major hospitals in China, chemotherapy and radiotherapy are in full swing, and patients ending up losing their wealth and their life. Excessive operations can be understood as comfort therapy after ineffective internal medicine treatment, and have little meaning. Moreover, in most cases TCM does not advocate surgery, making it very popular among the people.Thousands of Chinese patients are hospitalized in our hospital every year, along with hundreds of international patients, yet there are no pills, no IVs, no surgeries, everyone has gotten quite accustomed to it, and this new mode of hospitalization is well received.
The effect of TCM in treating many diseases is very good; let me give you a few examples:
· 2 months ago, Ms.Xiao, 78 years old, came to see the doctor, at that time her heart beat was very irregular, blood pressure was very unstable, systolic BP ranged from 210-240 mmHg (at her age the normal value is 160 mmHg), after TCM treatment for just half a month, her pulse became regular again. She said last year she was hospitalized in a Western hospital, and felt very uncomfortable, this time living in a TCM hospital, she felt at complete ease, and within just half a month her BP was stabilized to between 160-190 mmHg. She told me when she was young her mother also had high blood pressure, and would visit a TCM doctor weekly, after a few months treatment, the mother completely recovered back to normal, and was able to live healthily to the ripe old age of 95 years old.
· On June 20, 2017, a 38 year old woman from Zhangjiajie came to see our doctor. She was suffering from adenomyosis, and conceiving with this disease is very difficult, abdominal pains were always very severe for her; she could not leave her bed during menstruation, 20 herbal prescriptions were prescribed to her at that time. In December 2017, she reported good news to me that she had been pregnant for over 4 months, she said after she returned home, following the prescriptions I wrote for her she got 20 more, and got pregnant by only taking 25 doses, she still has a remainder of 15 doses.
· Mr. Pu, 58 years old, June 2017, was recommended to me by the county’s deputy magistrate from the Civil Affairs office. He had had severe headaches since he was 35 years old, because he took part in the Vietnam counterattack, the second he closed his eyes every night, he saw himself carrying the corpses of his sacrificed comrades, and could not sleep at all, and as soon as it reached night time he would wander around the village, and needed to take a lot of painkillers every day. After having TCM treatment for 2 months, he could sleep peacefully, and the need for painkillers gradually stopped.
· One of my senior high school friends had left femoral head necrosis, and was in so much pain she could not go up and down the stairs. Her doctor said there were no medicines to treat her, she should just go back home to recuperate and wait for hip replacement surgery. A few days back, she already had taken 15 herbal decoctions, and when she came for follow-up she said the pain had almost completely disappeared, and she could take the stairs again. This reminded me of another case over ten years ago, there was a 5 year old boy from Kuwait who got the same disease, his one leg was longer and the other leg was shorter, he walked with a limp, he stayed in our hospital for 3 months before returning home. 10 years later a friend from Kuwait told me that he was already a young fifteen year old boy and playing football in a football team.
Why is TCM treatment so effective? It is because TCM looks at the body as a whole, through the 4 diagnostic methods, “look, smell/hear, ask, feel”, observing the tongue color and coating, feeling the pulse, talking to patients about daily life and eating habits, checking results of the Western medical exams, we are able to receive a complete set of the patient’s information. Through analysis of this information, and distinguishing between cold vs. heat or excess vs. deficiency syndromes, we can find which of the 5 major Zang internal organs has problems. We must analyze if there’s heat-dampness, or cold-dampness, qi stagnation or phlegm coagulation, blood deficiency or blood stasis. Through comprehensive regulation of the body, syndrome differentiation deciding treatment modality, the curative effect is very good, sometimes so good even the doctors have a hard time believing.
TCM is founded through thousands of years of experimentation done by our great Chinese ancestors on their own bodies. Its curative effect has a deep clinical foundation, and is far more reliable and more humane than doing hundreds of experiments on animals.
TCM is a great model for humanistic medicine; also it is the great undertaking and contribution of the Chinese nation to the people of the world. I often speak with friends from all over the world here; in midst of conversation they all highly praise China's development and civilization. Now, people of the world respect the Chinese nation very much, I believe it’s not only because of the Great Wall, high speed rail, highways, viaducts and airports, but also because of the great achievement done by our Chinese ancestors’bold experimentation in the field of humanistic medicine which is: TCM. At the very least, even if Chinese people temporarily overlook TCM, surely the people of the world will not overlook TCM, because TCM has already become a part of the human civilization and one of its greatest achievements.
If TCM is to go from its current lack of talent to taking on 70% to 80% of the health services of the whole society, this would be a very onerous task and a very urgent one for that matter, there are a thousand things waiting to be done, the task is heavy and the road is long. How would we go about solving this problem? If I have made myself clear in the previous text, I believe our smart and intelligent compatriots will be able to understand these problems, and naturally will be able to find a good way to solve them.
Also I would like to mention something here, once before on the internet many people saw an article reporting the current situation of TCM in the past few decades; it mentioned that in the 1980s, the Ministry of Finance allocated 97% of the medical and health investment to Western medicine and 3% to TCM. There is also something called "Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine", of the 3% given to TCM, 97% of it was allocated to this Integrated type of medicine, and only 3% was given to pure TCM, and everybody joked that “pure TCM was the poor child with 9 out of 10,000”Anyone can immediately see, just because of a special historical reason during a short period of time, Chinese people displacing the Guardian Angel who had been protecting their health for thousands of years into an unbearable situation, is obviously unfair and wrong.
One child is dressed in a magnificent manner, and the other child is dressed in rags. How is the result? Has the rich child really fought for his parents? As we all know, the only Nobel Prize in the field of TCM was given for the study of Artemisinin produced by Tu You You, in other words, China has invested a huge amount of funding into Western medicine with very little gain, and TCM even with its meager funds and resources, has brought great honor to the country, how vivid is the contrast. Having said that, there may be many people who will want to refute this, by saying that the Nobel Prize-winning medicine was extracted by Western medicine distillation methods, and I agree, but doesn’t this confirm my suggestion even more? TCM should used for 70-80% of cases, and Western medicine for 20-30%, this way human medicine will be headed in the right direction and human beings will be blessed. Otherwise, any deviation from this direction and human beings will be cursed.
In the treasure house of TCM, there are a huge amount of treasures and Nobel prizes waiting to be dug up by the Chinese. Stop digging in the wrong place, it is very laborious, and the harvest is menial. Professor Tu’s success has actually prompted people from all over the world to come to the field of TCM for gold mining. If Chinese people won’t work hard now, they will be left to watch others empty their own treasures. Now, Japan holds an 80% share of the international markets for sale of TCM products, and China by relying on sale of herbal raw materials, accounts for only about 5% of the global market. This humiliation is in front of us, only when we feel shame and strike up the courage, can we strive to catch up.
Another thing, one month ago, a Mozambican student who had previously studied at our hospital for about 10 months, is already a famous TCM doctor in his country now, and has come back to do a refresher course. This month another foreign friend from Zimbabwe came to our hospital to investigate the treatment of chronic diseases. While I was talking with these two, they mentioned in their countries patients with diabetes and hypertension already account for half of the population, and they were flooded with Western medicine pills, but many people were poisoned by these medications, the people are now tired of these pills and hope to get the rescue of TCM. It’s an amazing coincidence that this happened simultaneously in Africa and the Asian continent; one cannot help but think about the topic of racial persecution of colored people (including black and yellow people) of the world. Historically, racial persecution was done using guns and cannons, now food and medicine are used, this method is more secretive and more sinister. So, our dear 1.4 billion Chinese compatriots we must be extra careful before doing anything, and think about whether we are inadvertently assisting them in their plans.
Ok, now back to the main topic, what is the method needed to help Chinese people avoid the major health trap. Back in the time when the Red Army was transporting soldiers in Xiangxi, it avoided a large pocket set out by Chiang Kai-shek. In the great new era of today, our Chinese nation is in the same transfer place on the great avenue of health, and the objective is to avoid the huge modern health trap in front of us. For the health of the Chinese, TCM should have discourse power, participation rights, and dominance, this is very important. Moreover, the change of direction in the field of medicine today in China will warrant humanistic medicine to switch from researching chemical drugs to studying natural medicines.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, people began to think that both TCM and Western medicine are medicines, they should be managed together, and given equal importance to each, and work together for the health of the people. However after these few decades passed, the painful historical lesson everyone learnt is: no matter if it’s the current situation where TCM has been is handed over to its competitor Western medicine for management and suppression, or whether in the future if Western medicine will be handed over to its competitor TCM for management and suppression, all will result in the great dilemma of the fall of one side, ultimately harming the interests of the country and the interests and health of the general public.
We can see from a large number of suggestions from civilians on the Internet, many patriots have found the biggest issue in the problem, and have advised the country that if there are 2 children (TCM and Western medicine), they should be treated equally, one child buys new clothes, the other child also buys new clothes, with the state providing equal payment. I think only treatment through TCM will not be enough to provide the full effect, this needs a huge engineering of the system, but from the medical perspective, TCM is indeed a good method to cure disease.
Many TCM practitioners feel that TCM and Western medicine are two completely different things, having two completely different systems, and should not be mixed; furthermore, the basics of TCM have almost been lost, so it is too early and inappropriate to talk about the modernization of TCM. In fact, during the past few decades, it was precisely due to these attractive labels that TCM was kidnapped and suppressed under the so-called “Integration of TCM and Western medicine” and “Modernization of TCM”, which is why we have to be very careful of this in the future. The country, province, city, and the county must employ people who love and understand TCM to come and manage it, only then is it possible to do a good job with it.
There are a lot of things to do, which need urgent attention, and time is not on our side. Here are some specific recommendations:
1. Heavily reward the only ten thousand remaining outstanding pure TCM doctors working in clinics currently in China. It is precisely because of their patriotism, dedication, responsibility and tolerance that the great TCM in its lowest point in history has not been completely eradicated. This team is the future of the new healthy world. In the future, the cultivation of a large number of talents will also depend mainly on their efforts. One person awarded one million, will only be ten billion; one person awarded five million, will only be only fifty billion. They have been, are and will be holding up the pillars of saving China's health, so this money spent will be meaningful and valuable. Of course most of these expenses will be used by them to develop TCM, to let them be more capable of practicing the TCM that they have loved their whole lives, this is also one of the effective ways for the country to support TCM financially.
2. Vigorously set up TCM schools. Encourage outstanding TCM practitioners and the society to set up private or public schools for TCM, without setting an upper or lower limit to the number of students needed to start a class. It can be one student or a hundred students; it can also be like in the past when Confucius at one point had three thousand disciples. When I visited Vienna in Austria; Munich in Germany; Paris in France; Prague in Czechoslovakia; I saw TCM colleges with just more than a dozen students, I think this is also very good. The school should adopt the record system, and should not adopt the examination and approval system, any additional requirements, such as the area of the site, the amount of funds, the number of teachers, etc. should not be set, so long as there is one outstanding TCM doctor present, teaching should come first and license can be obtained later. The disciples cultivated by these excellent TCM practitioners will be those who can actually strive, can diagnose, and can cure illnesses. We now have so many TCM universities and colleges of TCM but it is still so difficult to train even few TCM practitioners who can properly diagnose and treat. These private TCM schools will force the formal universities and colleges to reform their methods; which will have a very good effect.
3. Completely eliminate the requirements for taking TCM examinations. To practice TCM, there are specialty tests, a TCM assistant physician test, and a TCM practitioner examination. These tests should be allowed to people of any age, from 18 to 70 years old; holding any degree, from primary school to postdoctoral; of any identity, from farmers to professors; in any industry, from electric welders to Western physicians; with any previous TCM learning experience, from self-study to studying with a teacher or having graduated from a private school or a public university; ranging any study length, having studied for one year to having studied for many years. Also allowing for flexibility to jump between the tests, for example if you did not pass the assistant doctor's exam, you can apply directly to the TCM practitioner exam. Nobody asks heroes where they obtained their knowledge, so long as one can pass the professional examination of the Provincial TCM Administration Bureau and the State Administration of TCM, they are considered real talents, they should get a certificate, and immediately begin serving the health of the people. In Chinese history, the geniuses of TCM did not graduate from any class, such as Li Shizhen, Sun Simiao, Hua Tuo and so on. Just as when back in the day joining the Red Army only required if one could carry a gun, didn’t they still fight in the same way? At that time if there were many barriers to enter, could there be a better China today?
4. Strictly define borders between TCM and Western Medicine. All relevant examinations of TCM should not contain any content of Western medicine, such as: physiology, pathology, pharmacology, anatomy, biochemistry, etc.; and there is no need to test English. If they love English and want to be an international doctor of TCM, they will naturally learn in their own time. Doctors of TCM cannot prescribe Western medicines (similarly, a Western medicine doctor cannot prescribe Chinese medicines unless they have passed the TCM tests). The advantage of doing this is to force people to use TCM ways to think about and solve problems; this will allow rapid growth and maturity. Now many Western medicine practitioners who only have a partial understanding of Chinese medicine pick up the pen and randomly prescribe Chinese medicines, of course they will have no effect, and this destroys the image of TCM in the eyes of the people, the same principle applies for TCM doctors not prescribing Western medicines. In recent years, the United States has done a great job in this regard, so TCM has developed rapidly over there.
5. Extensively build county-level pure TCM hospitals. The state should conduct field research on the existing pure TCM hospitals as soon as possible, to understand their practical difficulties as pioneers that are boldly exploring, help them solve problems one by one, for example setting a clear and reasonable price standard for TCM services, introducing feasible medical insurance support policies for pure TCM hospitals, determining what proportion of medical insurance is currently consumed by TCM or by Western medicine in counties and cities. This will be conducive to reasonable competition between Western medicine and TCM in the medical market, and people will have the option to choose a higher quality and more professional level of TCM services.
Nowadays, almost all county-level TCM hospitals in China rely on Western medicine and surgery to survive financially. This is obviously not right. Hospitals that wish to focus on implementation of TCM should also be able to get a reasonable income the same way Western medicine does, making it necessary to provide conditions for promoting and ensuring the gradual transition of hospitals towards practicing pure TCM. Set a quota for the number of employees who practice pure TCM, set a proportion for amount of pure TCM used in clinic, formulate mandatory targets in proportion of income for pure TCM, assess the proficiency of the president and the hospital, force the hospital to transform its practice into mainly TCM, keeping Western medicine only as a supplement, to fulfill the true sense of being a TCM hospital. In other words, if a hospital can turn into a pure TCM hospital, please turn it to the best of its ability. The ones that can't be changed completely should use TCM as their main practice. Western medicine talents can be transferred to people's hospitals. After all, doesn’t matter if they are people's hospitals, or TCM hospitals, they are all state hospitals, so the state helping to restructure them, should not be so difficult.
Actively encourage the community to set up more pure TCM hospitals, without the hassle of transforming previous ones, a simple one-step process that has great potential for development, and will be very popular with the people. The state should ensure that public and private hospitals of TCM should have the same right to medical insurance and all kinds of policies, so as to be conducive to the healthy development of the whole situation of TCM. Since for both public and private hospitals, the employees are citizens of the People's Republic of China and the patients are also citizens of the People's Republic of China. In fact, private institutions often provide more thorough and meticulous services, so it is very important to completely remove the barriers of public and private TCM hospitals. Otherwise, private institutions will have difficulty surviving, and the public hospitals that are surviving will be very slow or unwilling to transform. This way the High-level pure TCM hospitals will always be unable to mature, and in the end only the people will get hurt.
6. Formulate medical insurance and financial subsidy system for pure TCM clinics. Whether in the past, present or future, the characteristics of well-practiced TCM is still mainstream in TCM clinics. More than 80% of TCM practitioners would choose to provide health services for the people in the TCM clinic. It is urgent to study and formulate medical insurance and financial subsidies for TCM clinics to ensure that legal clinics open currently have legitimate income. The portion of the patient’s outpatient fee after using medical insurance card can be paid in the form of a swipe card in the clinic. Statistics should be collected on the number of people served in each quarter or each month, to be reported to the relevant local authorities, and appropriate subsidies should be provided according to the number of people serviced. In European countries, such as Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and so on, patients in the doctor's private clinic are able to pay for the service through their insurance companies. In China, this should be done by the medical insurance agency.
7. Help young TCM practitioners to successfully survive their growth period. Young TCM practitioners aged 20 to 30 have a growing period before and after obtaining certificates of specialty in TCM, assistant doctors of TCM and practitioners of TCM. During this period, the number of patients these young practitioners serve obviously will be on the lower side due to their relative lack of experience. In order to ensure their normal life and work, the state finance should give them full basic wages to help them through the growth period smoothly.
8. Popularize knowledge of TCM. From a very young age, TCM should be taught from kindergarten or elementary school, by writing interesting TCM stories and basic knowledge of TCM should in textbooks. For example in the famous TCM classic “The Medical Classic of The Yellow Emperor” it says: “Wind, rain, excess cold and heat