Bad Chinese Medicine

I don’t like “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Here’s why.

1) Ideology,  Nationalism & Chinese Exceptionalism

Traditional Chinese Medicine reinforces the idea that there is some kind of special, uber-magical elixir made for and by Chinese people. This discourse is built entirely on a foundation of Chinese exceptionalism and has a nasty slippery slope effect. If a certain kind of medicine is “Chinese” then a certain kind of politics can be “Chinese.” Maybe a politics that is “socialist with Chinese characteristics” i.e. none of that non-essential stuff like free schools, pensions and healthcare becomes possible?

2) Money-Grubbing Quackery and It’s Consequences

People pay stupid amounts of money for roots, berries and all kinds of putrid garbage that may or may not help them cure their impotence or gout. While it’s tempting not to care about “individual” choices, it’s important to remember that Traditional Chinese Medicine plays 2 important economic functions. First: it creates a vast economy that generates enormous profits for dubious products. This economy does more than merely bilk sick people out of their pink bills, it also sticks bears in cages and sucks out their bile. Second: it creates a reasonable excuse not to create a better health system that relies on something more substantive than heated glass cups and ginseng.

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Filed under China, Culture

2 responses to “Bad Chinese Medicine

  1. As an acupuncturist, my first question in response to your entry is to ask whether you have had a bad experience in regard to traditional Chinese medicine?

  2. No specific negative experience. This post is about TCM as a discourse and how it’s used to reinforce notions of Chinese exceptionalism and create a false economy.

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