When East Meets West: A Glimpse into the Future of Integrated Medicine

   
  
 
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    Longhua Hospital, affiliated with Shanghai University of TCM, is one of the four oldest TCM clinical centers in China. It has 853 beds and 1466 full-time staff. Photo: Michelle Schurig      

Longhua Hospital, affiliated with Shanghai University of TCM, is one of the four oldest TCM clinical centers in China. It has 853 beds and 1466 full-time staff. Photo: Michelle Schurig

 

 

I recently had the unique opportunity to learn first-hand from doctors in a large hospital in Shanghai, China on how they are integrating eastern and western medicine. The training, organized by TCM®zone, LLC, brought U.S. clinical herbalists and acupuncturists to China for two weeks of training in Advanced Chinese Medical Theory.

 Some herbal formulas are injected directly into the bloodstream. This IV contains Dang Shen (黨參) and Hóng Huā (红花)  Photo: Michelle Schurig

Some herbal formulas are injected directly into the bloodstream. This IV contains Dang Shen (黨參) and Hóng Huā (红花) Photo: Michelle Schurig

At Longhua teaching hospital, we were divided into small groups and paired with interpreters. We followed doctors on their rounds with patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including Cardiology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Gynecology, Oncology, and Trauma. 

During our hospital rounds, we observed both eastern and western medicine being used to treat patients at various stages of illness. Doctors conducted pattern differentiation through assessments, tongue and pulse diagnosis, alongside interpreting western lab results in order to get a full picture of a patient's condition and craft an individualized care plan. Often times, western medicine was used to address acute symptoms and eastern medicine was used to address the root cause of this imbalance. Doctors followed up with patients weekly to make any necessary adjustments to their care plan and herbal formulas, depending on disease progression. 

While at the hospital, we also visited the on-site herbal pharmacy, specifically the back office, where they stock, formulate, and dispense herbs. About 8,000 patients pass through the hospital daily, many relying on their herbal prescriptions.

 

   
  
 
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    The pharmacy organizes the herbs so that each column represents a specific herb, arranged by dosage.  Photo: Michelle Schurig       

The pharmacy organizes the herbs so that each column represents a specific herb, arranged by dosage. Photo: Michelle Schurig

 

 

Herbal formulas that are ready for patients. A bag contains a one to two week supply of herbs. Photo: Michelle Schurig

 Herb granules are a concentrated and potent form of herbal medicine. This granule machine formulates and dispenses the correct dosage.  Photo: Michelle Schurig

Herb granules are a concentrated and potent form of herbal medicine. This granule machine formulates and dispenses the correct dosage. Photo: Michelle Schurig

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