Why is Chinese medicine relevant to modern Americans?

One of the most exciting aspects of Chinese Medicine is that it is particularly well suited to treating the stress-related ailments that are so common today.

According to Dr. Donald E. Kendall:

“The Chinese recognized that so-called civilization was contrary to natural living, and brought with it certain strains and stresses, which they called ‘the dust’ – possibly a reference to the dusty conditions of overcrowded ancient cities.  The treatment for stress was known as ‘wiping away the dust’.  The risks to health are much the same today, and include the physical and emotional stress caused by living in large complex societies, overcrowding, adverse environmental factors, air pollution, poor water quality, bad eating habits, overeating, alcohol and drug use, smoking, lack of exercise, overwork, and poor sleeping habits.  As a consequence, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, infertility, impotence, asthma, allergic disorders, gastrointestinal and urogenital disorders, acute and chronic pain, arthritis, rheumatism, anxiety, and depression, among others, are widespread.  These diseases represent a general malaise of civilization, and no single medical approach can solve all these problems for all people.  Chinese medicine has survived for many centuries for the very reason that it has been effective in addressing a wide range of human ailments, including those mentioned above.”

Unlike conventional medicine, Chinese medicine offers a coherent theory regarding the cause and treatment of many of these stress-related health concerns (see for instance Emotions As the Primary Cause of Disease).  While conventional medicine offers drugs to suppress symptoms, Chinese medicine offers an explanation of how modern living causes these problems and how they can be effectively treated with dietary changes, herbs, and acupuncture.  The cause and treatment of many common health concerns can be clearly explained by Chinese medicine and can be effectively treated with safe and relatively low-cost modalities such as herbs and acupuncture.  This offers hope to many Americans who have struggled for years with “incurable”, “idiopathic”, or “unexplained” conditions such as:

  • Menstrual and hormonal problems, including painful periods and PMS.
  • Menopausal complaints.
  • Female and male infertility.
  • Migraine headaches.
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Autoimmune diseases.
  • Allergies and asthma.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Depression and anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Chronic pain.