Lixin Huang, American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, givesa talk for the symposium on traditional Chinese medicine and common misconceptions about it.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an ancient and profound healing art that originated more than 3,000 years ago. It comprises a number of therapeutic practices, among them Chinese acupuncture, herbology, nutrition, Taiji Quan and Qigong. All have long proven efficacy in treating a wide range of disease conditions. At the core of TCM is an understanding that the body, mind and human spirit are integrally connected, and that restoring and maintaining energetic balance are essential to health and well-being. What the Chinese people discovered through practical experience over many centuries is increasing being validated by modern science and medicine. Acupuncture and TCM has been practiced side-by-side with western medicine in China since 1960s. In US, many large hospitals have Chinese acupuncture to treat pain and various medical conditions. According to the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS), TCM doctors and practitioners provide medical services to their people in over eighty countries. China’s relationship with medicinal animals and plants spans at least 2,000 years. In ancient times, TCM healers lived in local villages and treated local people with medicinal animals and plants with little to no challenges. However, today, our world has an ever-growing human population with the biggest demand for natural resources yet. Among users of Chinese herbal medicine (the largest component of TCM), there are two major groups of users. The first being patients receiving prescriptions from TCM doctors with medical diagnosis; and the other being consumers purchasing products for traditional food therapies as 'nutrition' and/or as gifts from legal and illegal markets without medical advise from TCM doctors. To address the illegal wildlife trade, we need to understand the differences between the two consumer groups and to work together with the TCM medical profession in developing effective strategies to intervene and change consumers’ behaviour.