Traditional Chinese Medicine originated in China more than 5,000 years ago. Rooted in the ancient philosophy of Taoism, it evolved over thousands of years to encompass many different practices. Today, TCM is practiced side by side with Western medicine in many of China’s hospitals and clinics.
In the United States, TCM is considered part of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 3.1 million U.S. adults used acupuncture the previous year, and approximately 17 percent of adults regularly use natural products, including herbs.
TCM’s unique view of the human body is different from Western medicine and based on the ancient Chinese perception of humans as microcosms of the larger universe, related with nature and subject to its forces. The human body is regarded as a holistic being in which the various organs, tissues and other parts have distinct functions but are all interdependent.
Yin/yang theory, the concept of two opposing yet complementary forces that shape the world and all life, is central to TCM. In the TCM view, a vital energy or life force called Qi circulates through a system of pathways called meridians. Health is considered an ongoing process of maintaining harmony in the circulation of Qi.
TCM uses eight principles to analyze symptoms and categorize conditions: cold/heat, interior/exterior, excess/deficiency and yin/yang. TCM also uses five elements — fire, earth, metal, water and wood — to explain how the body works. These elements correspond to particular organ systems.
Practitioners traditionally use four methods to evaluate a patient’s condition: observing (especially the tongue), hearing/smelling, asking/interviewing and touching/palpating (especially the pulse). TCM emphasizes individualized treatment and a variety of therapies to promote health and treat disease, with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture the most common. Other therapies include Chinese massage; mind-body therapies such as qi gong and tai chi; dietary therapy; and cupping, the application of heated cups to the skin to create a slight suction.
Chinese herbal medicine relies on the materia medica, a pharmacological reference which contains hundreds of medicinal substances (primarily plants but also minerals and animal products) classified by their perceived action in the body. Different parts of plants such as leaves, roots, stems, flowers and seeds are utilized. Herbs are combined in formulas and given as teas, capsules, tinctures or powders.
Acupuncture is the insertion of thin metal needles through the skin at specific points on the body to remove blockages in the flow of Qi. Moxibustion, or burning moxa, a cone or stick of dried mugwort, on or near the skin, is sometimes used in conjunction with acupuncture. Acupuncture is considered safe when performed by an experienced practitioner using sterile needles.
Most states license acupuncture but vary in their inclusion of other TCM components in the license. The federally recognized Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine accredits schools that teach acupuncture and TCM. About one-third of the states that license acupuncture require graduation from an ACAOM-accredited school. The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine offers separate certification programs in acupuncture, Chinese herbology and oriental bodywork.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations for dietary supplements (including manufactured herbal products) are less strict than those for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Some Chinese herbal treatments may be safe, but others may not. There have been reports of products being contaminated with drugs, toxins or heavy metals or not containing the listed ingredients. Some herbs are very powerful, can interact with drugs and may have serious side effects. The Chinese herb ma huang (ephedra) has been linked to serious health complications including heart attack and stroke. In 2004, the FDA banned the sale of ephedra-containing dietary supplements used for weight loss and performance enhancement, but the ban does not apply to TCM remedies or herbal teas.
In spite of the widespread use of TCM, scientific evidence of its effectiveness is limited. TCM’s complexity and underlying fundamentals present challenges for researchers. Most studies focused on acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating back pain, chemotherapy-induced nausea, depression and osteoarthritis. Chinese herbal medicine is often effective in treating cancer, heart disease, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.
Future research studies and clinical trials are needed to learn how TCM works and assess its effectiveness, safety and cost. Recent research-supported studies are investigating the use of TCM for endometriosis-related pelvic pain, irritable bowel syndrome and temporomandibular disorders, and the use of Chinese herbal medicines for the treatment of food allergies and osteoarthritis of the knee.
If you choose TCM:
- Read published studies on TCM for your specific health condition.
- Use herbal remedies under the supervision of a medical professional trained in their use.
- Ask about the training, qualifications and licensure of the TCM practitioner. n If you are pregnant or nursing, consult your physician first.
- Consult a pediatrician before using TCM for a child.
- Tell all your physicians about alternative practices you use.
- Before elective surgery, inform your anesthesiologist and surgeon of herbal medicines you use.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.