Traditional Chinese Medicine and its place in Modern Chinese Culture History 8C - Madhav Muralidharan Menon - China Current Events

How has Traditional Chinese Medicine Adapted to the Modern and Urban Life of China?

I believe that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has adapted to the Modern and Urban Life of China by being a common medical practice while at the same time sticking to its roots from the past, abiding by core Confucian beliefs.

History of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine is medicine that was developed in ancient China, meaning that it takes all of its ideas from the past. TCM includes herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and dietetics. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for 2000-4000 years and has continued to be important to the medical scene in China to this day. TCM is believed to have its first contribution to Chinese society in the Xia Dynasty when alcohol was discovered. Four of the dynasties in which the use of TCM continued were the Shang, Zhou, Han and Tang dynasties. During these dynasties traditional Chinese medicine was enhanced by proposing that medicinal skills should be learned and maintained through rigorous apprenticeship and practice, all medical herbs should be documented, introducing acupuncture and by introducing many other medical practices. TCM existed and flourished throughout almost all of the ancient Chinese dynasties. During the past TCM governed China in a medical sense. Only recently has Western medicine started to steal the spotlight in China. TCM has now fallen in popularity because critics believe that there is not enough scientific research on the medicines that are being used and because medical insurance does not cover TCM.
Traditional Chinese Medicine in Modern China

Traditional Chinese Medicine is still used in modern China and very recently has started to become popular in China and the world at large. China has recently stated the they will support TCM research and continue to try to help TCM. This has led to a law that puts TCM and western medicine on a more equal footing in China. These law helps address a criticism of TCM that claims that many TCM doctors are unqualified. This means that all doctors that practice TCM now must pass at least two tests before they can officially practice. TCM continues to help the citizens of China by introducing its own unique advantages. This support from the government has led to there being an increase of 1.4% in number of TCM institutions. These traditional methods are also easy to apply and are cheaper than many other alternative options. TCM is 24% less expensive than the alternative options for the same treatment. The governments interest in TCM is due to the fact that TCM represents the fact that China is rooted in its past. TCM has also gained more world wide acceptance due to the fact that famous athletes such as Michael Phelps have used TCM. These factors have led to countries such as Russia, Cuba, Vietnam, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates acknowledging and using TCM. Though other countries in the Western world dislike TCM because they believe that TCM doctors are not funded and do not have training. They also dislike how they rely upon the past or traditions for their medicine. Animal rights activists also stand against TCM. To conclude TCM is used in Modern China because it is a cheaper and more efficient option that is proven to work.
Confucian Ideals and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Confucian Ideals directly impact TCM in modern and urban life in China. Confucianism was based on keeping tradition and history in mind. This is why Confucianism adopted prior ideas for explaining the unexplainable (such as Tian and Mandate of Heaven) and why tradition was so important in Confucianism. This also is why ancestors are so important because it teaches us that history and ancestors help control and impact the present and future. TCM is important to China because it abides by the Confucian idea that history and tradition is important and helpful. TCM is also treated as some sort of a tradition because it has been around for thousands of years. The reason the government and the people of China are trying to keep TCM as one of the main medical options is because they are keeping in mind that tradition and history is very important. They believe this because Confucianism has instilled that core belief in their minds. In conclusion I believe that Confucianism has directly impacted modern China by the means of tradition which is evident in TCM.
Questions Gathered from Research
  • Why was use of Traditional Chinese Medicine only largely increased after 2009?
  • What other Confucian ideas are relevant to China currently?
  • Has TCM had a major effect on any country other then China? (Russia, U.A.E, etc.)

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