As health care and medicine get more and more high tech, and seemingly removed from the actual body of the patient, there has been a quiet return to more holistic and natural ways to diagnose and care for patients the type of medicine invented by the Chinese thousands of years ago, and still practised today.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is gaining in popularity among patients and in respect among physicians. The four tenants of the practice diet, exercise, remedial massage, and acupuncture prove the adage that everything old is new again. Combined with the acupuncture component, the other three bases are the new model for Western health and well-being.
Acupuncture is highly recommended complimentary therapy in Australia, with with 10% having received this treatment and 80% general medical practitioners referring their patients to acupuncture service. And if you think that acupuncture is a new age hippy dippy treatment, it’s a therapy that’s been around over 5000 years, and in 2005 more than 10% of your neighbours visited an acupuncturist.
As Western medicine is seeing the benefits of TCM, and it is becoming a more mainstream form of treatment, TCM practitioners are in high demand throughout Australia. In many cases, the TCM practitioner is the patient’s primary health contact this approach to health care means that most chronic conditions are treated holistically, and a traditional MD is called to manage the more acute symptoms and accompanying illnesses.
The World Health Organization recognizes TCM as an effective treatment for everything from headaches to cancer pain. As many women opt for narcotic-free childbirth, midwives and gynaecologists are offering acupuncture for pain relief. For patients suffering from autoimmune disorders, the herbal therapy and diet components of TCM combine with acupuncture to relieve the symptoms of digestive disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, and post-operative pain management.
As Western medicine continues to see the benefits of TCM, career opportunities will continue to grow. The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia regulates the practitioners of TCM, and the most recent report shows a steady increase in licensed practitioner about 2.1% each year; the number of students enrolled in TCM programs has jumped almost 15% since 2015.
If you think a health care career in TCM is for you, take a look at our e-book on the industry and consider starting with an education from SITCM