Witness The Miracle Of Traditional Chinese Medicine
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Health and Wellness

Witness The Miracle Of Traditional Chinese Medicine

While some of it might not appear "normal" to some Westerners, there's lots of reasoning behind it that connects your body with your soul.

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Witness The Miracle Of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Irene Yi

In APUSH, we learned about health fads during the 1800s. We learned about the medicine reforms that went with them. We talked about how physicians at the time weren't qualified for the position but did the job (often not well) anyway. Some of the health fads in our textbook included trepanation (cutting open the skull to expose the brain), urine therapy, emetics (induced vomiting to "cleanse" extra stuff from the body), lobotomy, and bloodletting. It's very true that these are dangerous and probably didn't work very well, but it made me think: what do people think of traditional Chinese medical practices?

For example, while "bloodletting" isn't a thing, oriental medical treatments can include poking your finger with a needle to bleed out your fever. That might sound crazy, but traditional Chinese doctors have a reasoning for everything they do. I'm not qualified at all to explain much of this in detail because I don't know everything about it, but I'll give you the gist. Chinese doctors, or "Eastern" medicine, say that everyone has a Yin and a Yang. You can't have too much of either, and there must be a balance between the two, with the Yang (meaning "sun") being prominent during the day and the Yin (meaning "dark") coming out at night. There's "hot" heat and "cold" heat. Too much hot heat can give you a fever, but cold heat entering your body can make you sick as well. A person must have energy to do intense exercise, but they also must be able to sit still peacefully; this is a sign of a healthy body. Herbal Chinese medicine consists of a formula of various grasses, leaves, tree bark, or things of that nature. Some of the herbs are poisonous by themselves, but put together with another ingredient, they can save your life. You get a "recipe" designed for your special case, collect the ingredients (at an herbal Chinese pharmacy), and make the medicine yourself by cooking or boiling until you have a drink that tastes worse than cough syrup.

The doctors I've met that follow the traditional Chinese medical route are all at peace with life. They know their bodies' inner balance, and they can diagnose patients' issues by taking their pulse. It's really quite fascinating. Some of their practices might not appear "acceptable" or "normal" in the eyes of a Westerner, but they work well and without unwanted side effects. About the bloodletting mentioned earlier--before I got familiar with Chinese medicine, I would have never thought of doing something so "crazy." Last summer, my brother had a fever that lasted a month; we tried everything we could but nothing seemed to calm his temperature. Finally, we let the doctors give his finger a poke and bleed out his fever. Immediately, he got better. The reasoning behind this is that your blood carries your hot heat, and bleeding out released all the hot heat cramped up inside your body--which causes a fever.

I've seen miracles happen because of herbal Chinese medicine. Moxibustion is the use of burning a certain grass ("Ay Tsao," or Asiatic wormwood) as medical treatment; you take a stick of the wormwood, burn the end, and hover it over certain areas on your body (like acupoints, or acupuncture points). The heat it gives you will help cure whatever you came in for; the spot on your body to which you apply the wormwood is determined by your issue. Moxibustion has helped my brother, and others like him, build up resistance to his seizures. It can also help muscle soreness, digestive issues, and more. One night, when my brother couldn't breathe because of his phlegm buildup, I thought nothing would work to help him. My mom contacted our doctor and received a new medical formula, which she made right away. My brother was crying in pain, having seizures, and struggling to breathe. As soon as the medicine was cooked, we gave him a small bowl full of it. He immediately calmed down and started breathing. That night, we made four different types of medicine for him, each one with its own role. One helped him breathe, one broke through the phlegm, etc.

While this type of thing might seem weird to many of you, it has helped save my brother time and time again. If that isn't a miracle, I don't know what is.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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