TCM gaining traction worldwide

A traditional Chinese medicine practitioner administering acupuncture on a patient.

I am thankful for Dr Ong Siew Chey's concern for the general well-being of Singaporeans (What is TCM diagnosis based on?, April 18).

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), in a very quick and general view, is based on the black box theory, in which one sees the signs that manifest on a patient's "exterior body" through the "inner body's" complex system with many possibilities.

It also takes into account a holistic view of the environment and the body, as well as the subjective feelings of the patient's own body condition.

It requires a huge paradigm shift in perspective as TCM methodology cannot be explained in scientific terms, as concluded by many scholars and researchers worldwide.

To quote from the website of the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, the US Federal Government's lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine: "TCM can be difficult for researchers to study because its treatments are often complex and are based on ideas very different from those of modern Western medicine."

In fact, the 11th revision of the World Health Organisation's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems will be including TCM for the first time.

Singapore is a unique melting pot of many different cultures and I sincerely hope that people can appreciate different points of view.

Rare and unfortunate mishaps do happen from time to time, but TCM is gaining traction worldwide.

This can be seen in the share prices of major TCM pharmaceutical companies, as well as in the recurring patients seeking consultation from TCM physicians.

Tan Jun You

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 22, 2019, with the headline TCM gaining traction worldwide. Subscribe