Background:As Complementary and Alternative Medicine(CAM) is gaining more popularity in our world, their usage and effectiveness is also vigorously debated. There are different opinions among doctors and patients. Traditonal Chinese Medicine(TCM) is considered to be the most widely accepted form of CAM in Western Medicine(WM), especially acupuncture. I have a Chinese background as both of my parents are Chinese. As a medical student at the University of Oslo, I am open-minded but also critical to TCM from the perspective of WM. The aim of this compulsory student thesis in the Oslo medical curriculum thus was to learn more about TCM, partly from a WM perspective.
Methods:Through a litterature review, I collected relevant litterature about TCM, including historic background, development, education, herbal medicine and acupuncture. In addition I tried to put TCM into a WM perspective and compare strengths and weaknesses in both, setting TCM and its application in relation especially to cancer and chronic diseases. I additionally included field work in China, to get hands on experience on how TCM is used in a hospital in to-days China.
Results: The thesis is written as two parts. The first part is the literature review, where I have tried to systematize the available data about TCM, including historic background and development of various trends in TCM. I go into detail on herbal medicine, acupuncture and its application in cancer and chronic diseases. I also give an overview with relation to education in TCM. The second part is a pilot observational study, based on my own observations and experience during my stay at a TCM hospital in Beijing China the summer of 2009.
Conclusion:TCM has its unique way of thinking. Many of the ideas seem obscure at first glance. After some thought, however, they clearly make sense. A lot of studies were carried out in order to address the efficiency of TCM therapy. Some of them favor TCM and advocate further investigation. Unfortunately many of them are also inconclusive due to methological weakness.
Today TCM in China is partly integrating with WM and many approaches resemble WM. The result is clear and bears fruit for the Chinese people. Unique approach like tongue, pulse diagnostic, herbal medicine and acupuncture is the cornerstone of TCM diagnostic and treatment and is fascinating. However to some extent they seem mysterious and lack a scientific basis. All in all I think we could clearly learn something from TCM and we should carry out more study in order explore and further address their usage in different diseases. I think the holistic approach will be beneficial for both patients and WM doctors, especially when it comes to chronic diseases.