#6. Mysteries of The Chinese Masters
One of the most controversial methods of alternative medicine is undoubtedly traditional Chinese medicine. For people brought up in Western cultures, it’s hard to comprehend, as it seems to defy rational analysis or explanation. What many people find hard to grasp about traditional Chinese medicine is its holistic approach to the patient. To a doctor trained in Western medicine, an approach that sees man as a singular cell in a larger body that is the universe, logically connected to it and subject to the same laws, seems archaic and somehow pagan.
Traditional Chinese medicine, however, does not consider only what is tangible and measurable. It’s interested in the context. It sees everything in relation to everything else, yet Chinese medicine is far more complex than that. It’s often described as an immoral turtle whose four legs are acupuncture, herbs, exercise, and massage. The most important part of the turtle, though, is its body, the whole. Taoism, and other related philosophies that underpin Chinese medicine are based on the existence and interaction of everything that is yin inside and yang outside. Believe it or not, acupuncture is the oldest and longest continuously practiced medical method in the world. The hundreds of acupuncture points are not located on the surface of the body but reach through an imaginary cone several millimeters deep. At these points, large clusters of nerve endings and special nerve units have been detected. So much is clear. What remains a mystery to modern science, however, are the acupuncture pathways.
Chinese acupuncture masters tell us that the life energy they call chi runs through each one of these pathways 50 times a day. Given that the principles of Chinese medicine transcend our normal experience and understanding, do we really need to dissect them scientifically? Is it so important to measure things, so long as they work? The actor Robert Downey, Jr., one of the great proponents of traditional Chinese medicine has this to say. “Truth be told, every discipline that I’ve employed that has its roots in the Chinese tradition has worked. And that’s what I’m really drawn to. When things work, they’re really worth putting your time and energy behind.”