Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The qi stands alone

I have to admit up front, I don't have a lot of time for "alternative" medicine, especially the sort described in hushed, reverential tones as "traditional Chinese medicine" or, more accurately, as "pre-scientific hokum":

Me: My foot is broken
Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Ah! Then you must cleanse your spleen! Take this ... decroded piece of crap and make tea from it. Drink the tea three times a day for six weeks and your spleen will be cleansed!
Me: But my foot is broken
PTCM: Foot is not broken. Body is not broken. Mind is broken.
Me: I can see bits of bone poking through the skin
PTCM: Your skin you say? Your qi is out of balance, we must recalibrate your blood.
Me: Talking of blood, I seem to be losing quite a bit of it here, I wonder if we couldn't maybe apply a tourniquet?
PTCM: Here! This is powdered gonads of rare, endangered Chinese koala ...
Me: Koalas? There aren't any koalas in China!
PTCM: I told you they were endangered. Now, you must make a paste from this powder with your own urine and ...
Me: I'm getting woozy ... going to ... faint ...
PTCM: See? The koala testicle powder is working already!

So anyway, I saw an interesting article today that seems to demonstrate that acupuncture works. But here's the interesting part - it doesn't matter if you the person sticking the needles in you is trained in the ancient arts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, can find (and discourse upon) the pathways by which qi or chi or, for that matter, cheese travels through the body, and describe the seventy-three healing herbs and sticks and disgusting bits of animals used in TCM ... or not.

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