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For Those That Are Interested In Chinese Medicine

Hi, my name is Gary and it's my first time posting here, glad to meet everyone. I have been writing articles about Chinese Medicine based on my own experiences and understanding of this field of healing. I would like to share an article I wrote recently. Please give it a look and give me some comments on my trend of thought. Thanks~

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From the story of King Midas, to the development of Modern Medicine vs. Chinese Medicine

When I was young, the story of King Midas left a deep impression in my mind. King Midas had the power to turn everything that he touches into gold, making him the wealthiest person in the world. Although this power ended up becoming a burden for the king, the idea of creating gold has been an aspiring one. Alchemy, the investigation of nature with the goal of converting metals into gold and silver has long been a major driving force of Western science up to the 18th century. Many alchemists made significant contributions to what was the modern day chemistry and physics through their quest to uncovering the recipe of gold making. The study of alchemy helped lay the foundation for modern day chemistry which is also the basis of modern day medicine.
By contrast, ancient Chinese emperors have long been pursuing immortality. Qin Shi Huang’s (The first emperor of the Qin Dynasty) aspiration for eternal health has been well documented as well as various other emperors throughout Chinese history. Instead of wealth, Chinese emperors were more interested in prolonging their life. Such difference of goals between Western and Eastern rulers had a deep impact on the science development of each civilization. While alchemy was considered a serious science up to the 18th century, Chinese emperors turned to Taoism and Taoist priests for guidance towards immortality.

If Western medicine was developed under the foundation of chemistry, Chinese medicine was a science built from systematology. Before the invention of computers, human have never built any product that had similar systematic make-up as the human body. Because of the lack of knowledge in systematology, Chinese medicine theories have been difficult to understand in the past for non practitioners and are often times considered as metaphysics or sometimes even as a religion. However, since computers became a common commodity in the late 20th century, systemotology has become everyday knowledge for many people. If we compare our body system to the computer system, we can see that they have many similarities. For example, a typical computer system consists of hardware, operation software, and application software. Similarly, Chinese medicine defines to body system into 3 parts, body, mind, and soul. The mind, in the sense of Chinese medicine, is not just the brain organ but rather the entire conscious of a person. If a person attempts to dissect a computer, he will not be able to find proof of the operation and application software. By the same token, mind and soul cannot be seen through anatomy. Operation and application systems can only be seen when the computer system is functioning. Similarly, a person’s mind and soul can only be found while the person is still alive. Many observations of Chinese medicine can only be found on a live person, these phenomenon disappear after the person dies.

Reincarnation is a concept that is believed by many Eastern religions. The believe that a person’s soul will remain after the persons body is deceased is similar to a computers software being able to function on different computer hardware. However, because we cannot prove any of these theories through anatomy, we are unable to explain these occurrences.

Modern medicine, like most other sciences, is interested in evidence and proofs. Most of these proofs are obtained through anatomy, which is a field that Chinese medicine is lacking in. If anatomy is a science that is performed on a dead person, Chinese medicine can be described as a science that can only be performed on a living person. For instance, the meridian is a major system used in Chinese medicine. During acupuncture therapy, when the needle arrives at the correct meridian points, patients will report sensations such as soreness, numbness, and bloating feel. Acupuncturist will feel that the needle appears to stick to the meridian points once the needle is in place. Such event is known as Attracted Needle in acupuncture. Acupuncturists have attempted to perform acupuncture on corpses, however, these phenomenon do not occur on dead subjects. Thus, researches regarding acupuncture can only be done on living creatures, rather through plain anatomy. Besides acupuncture, the flow of the body fluid is also a key study in the meridian system. Yet once a person dies, the body fluids will no longer flow regularly. Therefore once again we cannot observe these phenomenon through anatomy. For these reasons, it has been much more difficult to provide proofs for Chinese medicine theories compare to modern medicine.

Besides the lack of proof using anatomy, Chinese medicines diagnosis is based on another system that is difficult to prove scientifically. Chinese medicine constructed a complete model to describe the human body system. This model divides the body’s 10 major organs into 5 groups, each group consists a pair of organs. Each pair of organs is related closely to each other. When an organ experiences changes during illness, the organ that corresponds to sick organ will go through similar changes. Chinese medicine practitioners observed these changes and created a system that uses wood, fire, earth, metal, and water as symbols to describe the body system.

During Chinese medicine diagnosis, Chinese doctors need to observe the patients symptoms closely as well as the patient’s physical and mental conditions. Using the above system as a guide, Chinese doctors then use logical reasoning to diagnosis the illness. Such reasoning requires the doctor to be both experienced and skilled. Thus, traditional Chinese doctors are trained through the form of master and apprentice.

Similar to the meridian system, Chinese medicines model for human body system can only be seen on living body. With the current technology that we have access to, we cannot prove many phenomenon described in the model. Yet with the continuing technological progress, the real concepts of Chinese medicine should be able to be accepted as more and more people understand its various systems. And for many current chronic diseases, Chinese medicine may be the right direction towards finding a cure.
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