While living in China, I felt an unsurmountable respect for doctors that practiced traditional chinese medicine (TCM), classical chinese medicine, as well as for doctors that practiced Allopathic Medicine. However, I didn’t feel this way as often about doctors in countries in the occidental west. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly amazing and truly dedicated doctors, both that I have met and have yet to meet in the West.
In some ways China is in the middle of a divide between what culturally and historically belongs to them and what the occidental world is claiming to be the best medicine out there. With a momentum rooted in the cultural revolution of the 1960’s, sadly this continues to push shame and hesitation in the practice and recieving of classical chinese medicine in China.
One sure thing all doctors must realize, just because you are unfamiliar with some of the systems of practice available for treating patients, does not mean you should fear such unfamiliar systems. Also this does not mean a doctor eliminates these tools as a probability of helping the patient because you do not have sufficient information to use it or to appreciate it. And even if a doctor cannot appreciate a certain manner of care, this does not mean this manner of care has no place in the ranks of helping care for people and restore health in a society. That is unless collectively people are actually not healing, or people are not actually receiving help at all.
Herbal infusions used to treat on a holistic level were lost in some cultures, not because they were not effective but in many ways because peoples’ lives depended more on the swiftness to rid someone of their symptoms, rather than taking time to recover entirely and find real harmony within by changing the life style habits which instigated the disharmony. As we know, ridding someone of their symptoms definitely does not mean the elimination of the problem. Maybe a lucky doctor on a lucky day can eliminate the root by cutting the branch, but most of the time, reality says ‘no, that’s just not possible’. It is absolutely necessary to consider what is the origin of the symptoms and how a doctor can help transform the origin into a process that no longer disturbs the body, the physiological, psychological or spiritual levels. Sure all of these levels are connected and when one is disturbed, if we really dig deep, we can see how all levels are disturbed. And in my opinion, this lack of connection or this lack of consideration that all levels in one’s life are connected and working or hurting together, is the lost art of diagnosis in the field of allopathic medicine. Medicine is not a science more than it is an art of consciousness. Doctors who work together, who share their experiences, who diagnose a patient only after listening completely to what is bothering the patient and the details surrounding this bother, who share their answers to some of the worlds most difficult questions, these doctors are practicing the art of medicine. The doctors that are only standing in the middle of the rat race, trying to “look the part” by giving drugs and mindless referrals all day long, subjecting their patients to the fascism of insurance companies, these doctors are not practicing the art of medicine….they are practicing compliance. I don’t want a doctor that does not allow herself to really consider what is disturbing my health, that does not allow himself to give me the best most appropriate possible care due to the scientific data, data that tends to be a matter of who will benefit from the results of the research.
And now, I end with this: A good doctor is a doctor that never stops learning, always willing to investigate, and all in the name of serving for the health and well being of her or his community. Even if a doctor is not familiar with a certain system of practice, the doctor should always be willing to learn and discover more and bear in mind that what matters most is the patient.
Chandler Stump L.Ac MTCM