Education About Asia: Online Archives

A Short Survey of the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China

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Chinese medicine (CM), known as traditional Chinese medicine or TCM in the West, is not only an integral part of the Chinese national healthcare systems, but it is also one of the
most popular complementary and alternative medicines in the world. The important role that CM plays in the Chinese healthcare systems, and in promoting global medical pluralism, has been attributed to its unique approach toward understanding diseases and the methods used to treat them. Since California became the first state in the US to license acupuncture as an independent healthcare profession in 1976, more than forty-five states, including the District of Columbia, have given TCM similar status. With US Congressional approval in 1998, the National Institutes of Health established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and listed TCM as a form of complementary and alternative medicine. Today there are about fifty
TCM colleges in the US offering graduate degrees in acupuncture and herbal medicine, and TCM practice has been widely applied in various Western medicine clinical settings throughout the country.