TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE: HYPERTENSION, METABOLISM, AND THE MICROBIOME

November 20, 2019

Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, has been practised for over 2,000 years. Originating in China, today this medical tradition is practised in countries worldwide. Western medicine has recently begun to integrate certain aspects of TCM such as evaluating each patient with an holistic approach. The world of Western medicine is entering a new era, one which confronts the reality of antibiotic resistance. More caregivers are investigating the merits of Eastern and Western medicinal practices collectively.

Hypertension has long been a problem addressed by both Eastern and Western medical professionals. A medical term used for describing high blood pressure in patients, hypertension occurs when the amount of internal pressure exerted on the blood vessel walls becomes excessive. According to the AHA, “an estimated 4.1 million working-age Australians” suffered from the condition of hypertension in 2017(Hird Thomas R., Zomer Ella, Owen Alice J., Magliano Dianna J., Liew Danny, Ademi Zanfina. “Productivity Burden of Hypertension in Australia: A Life Table Modeling Study”. Hypertension. American Heart Association. ahajournals.org. 25 Feb 2019. ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.12606. 23 Aug 2019).

Hypertension is a common and dangerous condition. Having a blood pressure that is significantly higher than average can lead to stroke and a lifetime of heart disease. The condition also significantly raises the risk of patients experiencing a myocardial infarction during their lifetime.

Acupuncture has been used in TCM for centuries to treat the condition of hypertension. In 2015 a study conducted by the University of California, Irvine investigated the efficacy of this treatment. Dr. John Longhurst of UCI said of the study “By using Western scientific rigor to validate an ancient Eastern therapy, we…have integrated Chinese and Western medicine and provided a beneficial guideline for treating a disease that affects millions in the U.S.”(“Hypertensive Patients Benefit From Acupuncture Treatments, UCI Study Finds”. UCI News. news.uci.edu/2015/08/19/hypertensive-patients-benefit-from-acupuncture-treatments-uci-study-finds/ 19 Aug 2015. 23 Aug 2019.) This success can be applied in Australia as well. The Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the schools preparing the next generation of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners to meet the demands of the medical field in Australia. 

In addition to Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine has for centuries “played a vital role” in treating the metabolism and microbiome of the gut. Metabolism and the gut microbiome are two closely related systems. The way in which we, as humans, metabolize foods and the enzymes which aid us in this process are closely linked to the microbes in our gut. Thus, the health and wellness of our gut microbiome has far-reaching side effects. TCM recognizes the importance of these processes in the body and the symbiotic relationship they create with the host organism. The gut microbiome and its role in our wellness has long been a focus for Traditional Chinese Medicine. Gut microbiota are being implicated in diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Ulcers, and Dementia. As observed by researchers, the underlying mechanisms of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments and how they correlate to disease outcomes needs further study. (Lu Meng-Yan, Xie Jiao-Jiao, Peng Gao-Cong, Wang Hong-Bao, Wang Cen-Kai, Li Lan-Juan. “Enhancing Clinical Efficacy through the gut Microbiota: A New Field of Traditional Chinese Medicine”. Engineering. Science Direct. Vol.5 Iss. 1. Feb 2019. 40-49. sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S209580991830688X. 23 Aug 2019). It is unclear to practitioners of Western medicine how changes made to the gut microbiota through TCM practices are resulting in positive patient outcomes.   

The Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine invites students to enroll in a Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine course. Let the proper education put you on the track to success. Contact us to learn how you can acquire the skills necessary to open your Traditional Chinese Medicine practice.