“Traditional and Western physicians should abandon their prejudices and value the differences between their systems. They should treasure the mutual common sense of both systems, discard what is useless or harmful, and strive for the full growth and development of the best aspects of both systems, so as to incorporate the two in bringing forth a new medical science.”
– Chen Li-fu, China Medical College
Cultural and philosophical boundaries separating East from West are being slowly but surely erased. Nowhere are the boundaries dissolving faster than in the field of heathcare—it is becoming obvious that the traditional healing arts of the East and modern medical technology of the West are complementary branches of the same tree. Together they provide a far more complete picture of human health and offer far more effective therapies for human disease than either can possibly do alone.
As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, with a background in Kinesiology and the pharmaceutical industry, I find the above statement not only inspiring but an effective and necessary approach to healthcare in general. My first exposure to the medical system was working as a pharmacy technician. After a handful of years filling scripts in pharmacies, I knew I wanted to learn a little more theory of how the human body worked, beyond medications, so I decided to study Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor. After finishing my undergrad I satisfied my need for a solid foundation of understanding, yet I needed a means of practical medical application. As an attempt to learn a more holistic approach to medicine, I decided to learn about Chinese Medicine. At first I thought that my previous learning endeavours would probably go unused, since I felt as though I was taking yet another turn in my career path, and venturing into the realm of alternative medicine. However it didn’t take long for me to realize the potential improvements that could be made in patient care by combining the two medical paradigms.
Throughout the world today, healthcare practitioners are conducting a medical revolution by combining modern medical technology with traditional holistic therapies to create an innovative new approach to health care. This integrative medicine is progressing by leaps and bounds, due to a pragmatic attitude towards science and a healthy respect for tradition.
The use of Chinese Medicine as an effective treatment in the management of musculoskeletal or neurological disorders is well documented, especially in relation to cerebrovascular disease and their sequelae. Acupuncture has been widely accepted within the Physiotherapy profession and has now been established as an adjunctive technique for more than 25 years. Initially interest was shown in its pain-relieving properties of the technique and it was mostly adopted in chronic pain situations. Now, more professionals are becoming aware of its wide range of possible applications for people with neurological conditions. Anecdotal reports indicate a diverse range of benefits, including improved sensorimotor function, improved immune function, reduced fatigue, improved sleep quality and energy levels as well as improved mood. These improvements not only improve a person’s quality of life, but may also allow the person to participate more effectively with other aspects of physical therapy.
One of the key aspects of rehabilitation is that it is a person-centered service, which is one reason why Chinese Medicine fits so well into the process of rehabilitation. One of the hallmarks of Chinese Medicine, is its individualized approach to diagnostics and treatment.
In clinical reality patients bring their own pre-existing conditions and individual make-up to any medical problem, and it is important to take into account the entire patient. To a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, tailoring a treatment uniquely to each patient may mean considering a patient’s chronic digestive problems in the process of their neurological rehabilitation, for example.
Rehabilitation has been defined as the use of all means aimed at reducing the impact of disabling conditions, which is why at Aim2Walk we believe providing access to a coordinated specialist rehabilitation team is an integral part of the rehabilitation process.