The Chinese Med; Special Investigation

Daily Mail (London), May 29, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Chinese Med; Special Investigation


THE doctor checks my pulse with his fingertips and asks me to stick out my tongue. He speaks rapidly to his assistant

a young Chinese man dressed in a suit who acts as a translator.

It is Dr Liaos opinion that the severe headaches, nausea, dizziness and vomiting Ive been suffering from for the last three weeks are the result of not having enough blood in my head. The blood is going up to here, the translator says, indicating at the top of his throat, and not all of it going all the way up.

Sitting on a stool in a cramped consulting room on Grafton Street, I take a few seconds to think about this diagnosis.

So is it a circulation problem? I ask. Im told it could be a problem with my neck and this is stopping the blood reaching my head. What kind of neck problem isnt explained, but Im assured that I can be cured with a combination of acupuncture, acupressure and cupping.

And some herbs, all natural the young translator adds, almost as an afterthought. Definitely no side effects, he says. Whats more, the treatment will banish this problem for maybe twenty years.

Which is just as well because the costs of curing my blood in the head problem are mounting up.

A session of acupuncture costs e40, acupres-sure is e30 and cupping is e20. The specially prepared herbs cost e8 per bag

for the recommended five days thats e40.

So to start with my treatment I will have to fork out e130 for one session consisting of the three therapies and five days of herbs. And Im told I will probably need more than one session.

I leave the clinic telling them Ill call to make an appointment later. But in reality I dont have a headache and Im in no need of treatment, medical or otherwise.

Instead, Im investigating the growing number of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinics, like this one, that have been springing up in cities and towns all around Ireland.

One of the oldest system of medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine has existed for up to 5,000 years. China currently devotes around 25 per cent of its annual health budget to supporting TCM therapies, used in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a range of conditions from asthma to fertility problems.

It isbased on the Chinese belief in the existence of Qi, pronounced chee. Qi is the bodys own life energy and illness is caused when this energy is out of balance.

BUT scientific studies have also shown acupuncture to be an effective treatment of chronic pain and pain clinics at some of the countrys main hospitals include acupunture as part of their treatment programmes. …

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