By Rebecca Eckler - Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 0 Comments
Westerners seek out alternative therapy
Holly Fennell sees about 50 tongues a week. The first thing the naturopath looks at is the colour. A “nice pinky-red” is normal, but many of her patients have a dark purple hue, which is her first clue that there is something off with their energy, or ch’i. A yellowish coating may indicate the flu or a cold. If the outside edge is bumpy, it could be a sign of anxiety. And Fennell, who has been practising Chinese medicine in Toronto’s tony Summerhill neighbourhood for 10 years, has a very deep line down the middle of hers, which she says points to her asthma. Patients think she is psychic, the way she reads their tongues.
Jen Miller, who lives in Toronto, has seen two traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctors. The first time, she was feeling sluggish, headachey and queasy, “not really a surprise because I’d recently had a bad breakup.”
The TCM doctor examined her mouth with a depressor and a little light, then asked her to move her tongue up and down. “She said, ‘Oh, not sleeping enough . . . you’re so sad . . . more water will make those headaches stop.’ ” Miller saw a second TCM doctor a year later for stubborn acne. “He started all our visits by looking in my mouth. The first time he looked in and said, ‘Uh! So much candy! All that sugar!’ ” The night before, admits Miller, she had eaten a box of chocolates. “Again, it was fascinating but creepy.” Continue…
By Julia Belluz - Monday, September 26, 2011 at 11:34 AM - 54 Comments
The Statement: “Traditional Chinese Medicine plays an important and valuable role in the health and well-being of Ontarians as many are choosing this complementary and alternative approach to health care. It is in this spirit that we are committed to the regulation of this profession,” – Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, 01/09/2011
The field of complementary medicine is huge and growing. In Canada, recent estimates put out-of-pocket spending on alternative-care providers at $5.6 billion—a substantial amount, even when compared to the $31.1 billion spent on pharmaceutical drugs last year.
Governments have been making attempts to rein in the gargantuan industry. As Deb Matthews suggests, since Ontarians are turning to alternative care like Chinese Medicine, and it “plays an important and valuable role in [their] health and well-being,” we should regulate it. The Canadian Medical Association, however, argues that any guidelines for or regulation of alternative medicine “should respect the conviction of many physicians and clinical researchers, that [alternative medicine] has minimal scientific validity and that recommending it to patients achieves no clinical purpose and may be unethical.” In other words, warn the huddled masses about this quackery.
Given the face-off between politicians and the doctors, Science-ish wondered: does alternative medicine—the traditional Chinese variety, in particular—actually work? Continue…