Cure yourself with Yin and Yang, the WHO clears Chinese medicine

The World Health Organization “clears” terms such as Yin and Yang or vital energy. Traditional Chinese medicine will in fact be included in the next global medical compendium. An opening that follows that towards acupuncture and that has not failed to attract the attention of the journal Nature. The official recognition will be introduced in the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases and Health Problems (ICD). But the novelty puzzles many experts.

The compendium, which will be adopted by the World Health Assembly, is a periodically updated document that addresses the way in which diagnoses are made. In chapter 26 of the new edition, which will become operational for the acceding states in 2022, it will present a classification system to identify concepts such as “balance between Yin and Yang”, “Qi deficiency”. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the theory that vital energy (Qi) flows along channels called meridians and helps the body maintain health. The disease is the disruption of this energy balance and treatments, acupuncture or herbal remedies, serve to restore it.

The Western approach looks for well-defined causes to explain the disease and calls for controlled clinical trials that provide evidence that a drug works. This generally does not happen for the traditional Chinese one, for which there are also quite a few adverse effects. For this reason, many doctors say they are deeply concerned. But the WHO, answering Nature’s questions, points out that its strategy is to “provide guidance for Member States for the regulation and integration of safe and quality-assured products”, to “integrate it into health systems, where appropriate”. “The impact is likely to be profound,” reads Nature and could accelerate its entry into global health care.


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