Chinese medicine is like the wizened old man whose words and deeds are rich with his many years of experience. His ways may seem odd to the casual observer, but only because few have walked the path he has – few could fully appreciate the maturity and advanced evolution of his actions, at first glance.
But there is efficacy in what he does, so he gets attention. People stop and look; they’re not sure what they are looking at, but it is clearly worthy of closer investigation. They visit and chat, try his advice, take some of the medicine he offers, and they return – time and time again.
This is the story of Chinese medicine. It is unique, as systems of medicine go, as it is the current expression of a long, unbroken lineage of clinical experience and wisdom. Its reliability is grounded in reoccurring effectiveness over generations of use.
It does look weird. It doesn’t sound or talk like “medicine”, as many know it. But it works.
Part of the responsibility of the modern practitioner of this ancient art is to translate and interpret this evolved medicine to modern terms and worldviews, and this is quite a difficult task.
One may, perhaps, think that medicine is medicine, no matter how, exactly, it looks in the clinic. One may think that science is science, that there are many paths to discover truth, but, ultimately, they are one-in-the-same in seeking reliable theory. However, it is not so.
There are very real differences. Chinese medicine is different at a very deep level. This makes validation of it, from a modern scientific point of view, exceedingly challenging. But it is possible, and we are slowly getting there.
A recent blog post, coming from Blue Poppy Press, up in Boulder (www.BluePoppy.com), authored by Eric Brand, a leader in the field, speaks to this. He discusses some basic flaws of current research, as well as some difficulties that present due to the unique nature of the medicine. As Eric is an expert in this area, I would like to pass on his brief, but important blog post – Standards in Chinese Medicine, Part Two: Research