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Western experts eye integration of traditional Chinese, Western medicine

(Xinhua)    09:57, June 08, 2015
(File Photo/Xinhua)

MILAN, Italy, June 7 -- European and American experts see integration between Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and conventional Western medicine as the natural evolution of medical science, with the aim to cure patients just on the basis of what is best for their health.

In an interview with Xinhua on the sidelines of a conference held in Milan on Sunday, Rudolf Bauer, Head of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Graz, Austria, outlined his vision of an integrated medicine which envisages a choice or a combination of Western and Chinese medicine according to the patient's needs.

The application of TCM, Bauer noted, regularly follows a holistic concept.

"A single plant is containing hundreds or thousands of constituents ... the overall approach is complex, we have to analyze these constituents and consider not only single, but multiple effects," he said.

He said conventional Western medicine can be useful for very serious diseases, where immediate action is needed. But many of these drugs cause strong side effects when used for long-term treatment, which can be prevented for example by using TCM, he added.

"Integration starts from correct understanding, so we have to work closely with Chinese colleagues and partners. That is why we have established a consortium supported by the European Union(EU) to bring Chinese and European scientists together," Bauer told Xinhua.

The consortium, known as the GP-TCM Research Association, has developed the concept of "best practice methods." Evidence on efficacy, quality and safety is necessary in order to globalize TCM and can be reached through the same modern analytical tools and techniques that are also used in WM, Bauer noted.

Carrie Runde, a naturopathic doctor and Director of Casey Health Institute, the United States, believes that one of the ways to get over lack of knowledge of TCM is to have conventional medical doctors get exposed to it in their trainings so that they can feel more comfortable and also know how to use.

Runde told Xinhua herself became first interested in TCM when she got the experience of acupuncture and Chinese herbs as a patient in her medical school.

"I really respected how potent they were on myself and then I began to recommend them to my patients also," she said.

"TCM is the original medicine that has been around for so long ... I think we have a lot to learn from TCM," Runde stressed. In fact, she underlined, naturopathy is much a newer kind of medicine that came out of Europe and utilizes a lot of the same ideas.

"I think there is a greater interest in the newer generations doctors and nurses for lots of thinks that are natural, whether it is the use of acupuncture, the use of diet and herbs," she explained to Xinhua.

"I think they really recognize that we not do enough in the early stages of the disease and in prevention," she went on saying calling this new open-mindedness "encouraging."

Now making sure that governments and insurance companies accept TCM as part of the options that patients have is also very important, Runde went on saying.

In her home country there are still restrictions, she noted. "But I think that patients deserve to have TCM as an option," she observed.

"I see that integration of TCM with conventional medicine is really the only way that we can go, because each of the two systems has a lot to offer," Runde highlighted.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Yao Chun)

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