A Glimpse of Chinese Medicine
Common images of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) include the use of herbal supplements, acupuncture, or the feeling of a pulse to diagnose illness. In fact, each of these images only scratches the surface of its true essence. More precisely, Chinese medicine embodies a lifestyle founded on a holistic approach to health and well-being. Thousands of years of experience and philosophical tenets such as yin and yang and the five elements are the cornerstones of its practice; adherence to some specific methodologies, they are essential for restoring balance in the body and maintaining health.
Disease prevention is Chinese medicine’s main focus. This principle centers around the belief that treating diseases or illness that have already caused damage in the body is much more difficult then preventing them from occurring in the first place. Not surprisingly, TCM practitioners who keep their patients healthy and disease free are considered to be the greatest doctors.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which originated over 4,000 years ago, is deeply rooted in history and tradition. Today, the practice of TCM is on the rise as more people turn to other healthcare methods to treat problems, which are not sufficiently cared with Western medicine alone. TCM use is expanding in Asian cultures and becoming more accepted in the West. In Hong Kong, approximately 60% of the population have consulted a TCM practitioner at some point in time and even more use herbal supplements on a regular basis.1 The number of adults in the United States using alternative medicine treatments increased from 34% in 1990 to 42% in 1997.2 Healthcare consumers paid these expenses out of pocket, as most insurance companies do not cover non-western medical treatments.
TCM has been criticized for not being as credible as Western medicine. However, this is changing rapidly, since many countries have established regulatory bodies and set formal standards to govern the practice of modern Chinese medicine. The governments have created standards of practice, developing formal licensing and education requirements of TCM practitioners, expanded herbal research projects and supported the manufacturing, distribution and export of Chinese herbal supplements both locally and internationally. With the establishment of these, healthcare consumers are assured of getting quality care through Chinese medical services. Also, modern research techniques are employed to validate herbal supplement uses and product safety, therefore Chinese medicine is becoming acceptable.
As Chinese medicine is seen as complementary to Western medicine now. Its holistic approaches to health and disease prevention strategies are attractive the healthcare consumers, especially for those with chronic conditions.
About Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd. (ICM)
Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd. (ICM) was found in 1999, as a comprehensive Chinese medicine company based in Hong Kong, we seek to:
- Disseminate comprehensive information about the advantages of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM);
- Introduce quality herbal supplements which are based on the principles and heritage of TCM, yet manufactured according to stringent Western standards;
- Develop a clinical practice model that is able to deliver TCM to local and international communities effectively;
- Integrate Western and Chinese medicine practices to create a healthcare system synergy that offers the best medical care possible worldwide.
The above are mainly fulfilled by ICM subsidiaries, include Shen-Nong Ltd., HYY (BVI) Ltd., The House of Yin Yang Holding Ltd. and Integrated Chinese Herbal Nutraceuticals Ltd.. In addition, The Hong Kong Health Care Centre Ltd. (HKHCC) is an important shareholder of ICM, and the Hong Kong Association for Health Care (HKAHC) has a strong affiliation with the company, giving it access to important resources that benefit local and international communities. With the combined efforts of these companies, healthcare consumers not only have reliable information about TCM, but also enjoy easy access to clinical consultations and can purchase quality herbal supplements. ICM continually strives toward increasing public awareness of the benefits of TCM as well as furthering its advancement.
Shen-Nong Ltd. is named after the famous herbalist who tasted herbs in order to distinguish poisonous ones from those with medicinal value. This company was founded to disseminate information about traditional Chinese medicine to the public. A website, www.shen-nong.com, has established as the main way to circulate the information. Topics developed under it encompass principles, disease managements, treatment methods, healthy living, history, researches, and current events. There are also Locate a TCM Practitioner, TCM Glossary, Herbal List and Herbal Formulae as the references for both professionals and the lay public.
HYY (BVI) Ltd.
HYY stands for the “house of yin yang.” Chinese herbal supplements such as I’m-Yunity, I’m-YunityToo, SportChi, Equiguard, I’m-Yunity for Dogs and others have been developed for health maintenance and to enhance quality of life. They are made possible by the company’s commitment to deliver premier quality products in accordance with good manufacturing standards and through credible research and ongoing clinical trials. HYY (BVI) Ltd. uses the web for educational marketing and distribution of these products. Educational marketing is essential in increasing the consumer’s understanding and knowledge of herbal supplements and their relationship with Traditional Chinese Medicine.
HKAHC & HKHCC
The Hong Kong Association for Health Care Ltd. (HKAHC) is a non- profit association that was founded to promote public awareness of Chinese medicine, provide reliable public and community health information, and to fund and disseminate research related to TCM. The Hong Kong Health Care Centre Ltd. (HKHCC) offers quality Chinese medical consultations, which are complimentary to western medical practices. Specialty clinics have been formed in Hong Kong that focus on health maintenance and disease prevention. Diseases treated in the specialty clinics include cancer, arteriosclerosis and diabetes. Eventually, the specialty clinics will be expanded into a virtual clinic offering online appointment bookings and guidance from Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners.
Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd. (ICM) is very aware of the growing interest in self-care among health consumers. The need for health information is in great demand. Fortunately, through technology and the Internet, people can obtain vast amounts of data, but this data can be scattered and sometimes overwhelming. By providing accurate, concise and comprehensive information about Chinese medicine healthcare options, consumers are able to make educated choices about what best meets their health needs.
As time passes and Chinese medicine gains more international acceptance, it will be looked upon as more than just herbal supplements, pulse taking, or acupuncture. In order to move forward in this millennium, we must not forget the vital ingredients of TCM but adapt its practices for use in today’s society. Its complementary nature with Western medicine makes the provision of holistic healthcare possible. The above aspects are essential in delivering truly integrated Chinese medical services. With ICM, good health and increased quality of life can be achieved.
1. Fung, Sherman K.W., Herbal Medicine, Chemistry in Hong Kong, 21-26.
2. Eisenberg, D.M., Davis, R.B., Ettner, S.L. et al. (1998), Trends in Alternative Medicine Use in the United States, JAMA (280), 1569-1575.