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“TCM as for the Global Health Crisis”


Dr. Rudi Westerkamp


January 2011




To properly set the stage for this paper I wish to give some background to explain how I came to the

conclusions I shall be presenting today. In 1986, I established the Academy for Chi Therapy to provide a

place for the clinical treatment of patients and the training of therapists in both Branch and Root treatment.

If a patient comes with a headache you can relieve the symptoms with acupuncture, homeopathy, western

medicine, etc. We call this Symptomatic or Branch treatment.

If the headache has a psychosomatic origin, then after the Branch treatment we start the Root treatment

where the patient is taught how to be active in his or her own healing process. This entails the beginning

of another lifestyle to stimulate the patient’s own self healing process.

All Traditional Medicines do not cure an illness, rather it manipulates the patient’s Qi (energy) household

in order to promote the self healing process. The patient plays the primary role in his or her own SELF

healing process. If you do not change a patients’ mindset, the illness will move to the second weakest

chain in the patient’s energy household. The prevention aspects of TCM like Breathing exercise,

Massage, Mind-body exercises, Meditation, is unfortunately all too often the forgotten part. We have to

polish prevention techniques, like a rough diamond and to treasure them.

Not only for patients, but for the whole healthcare system, we need a new mindset –based upon Root

treatment in health promotion – primary prevention using the traditional concepts of the classical TCM.


The Vision: “Improve Your Self”


The vision to be promoted is to Improve Your Self. The means to develop yourself to live a life that is both

happy and healthy. This means humans should live in harmony with Oneself, Others and Nature. To

achieve this vision a human must develop one’s three inner powers or energies, namely one’s physical

energy (Life Power), feeling energy (Emotional Power) and mental energy (Mental Power). All three

energies, or powers, must be brought into balance, with no one energy dominating a person’s life.

Balancing the three energies or powers will free us from our primal reactions to stress (the flight-fightfreeze

instinct) and lead to freedom from fear, anger and sorrow. We must be open to develop our full

human potential and learn to enjoy life and cooperate with other humans and Nature to enjoy optimal

health and happiness.


The Mission


Those of us working in the field of traditional healing practices, such as TCM should work towards

transforming our culture’s view of healthcare from curing illness to promoting health as a state of being.

We must become “culture-busters” and try to advance a new lifestyle that emphasizes quality of life over

quantity of life. Promoting a new lifestyle will transform our culture to one that values a high state of health

and happiness and keeps people in that state, rather than merely curing illness and disease after it has

arisen. As a culture and as individuals we must take responsibility for our own happiness and health.

Prevention and promotion of health and happiness is the primary starting point. Curing disease is

secondary of secondary importance. It is well established that health and happiness are inter-related and

that keeping people healthy is cheaper than curing illness after health has been lost.



The Problem


The current situation in Europe and North America shows the results of our old attitudes towards health.

The very real costs to society and governments of our medical and health care costs are going up

dramatically. These costs can be calculated in terms of government expenditure for doctors and other

healthcare professionals, capital and operating costs for hospitals, pharmaceutical expenditures and lost

productivity. Population health is not getting better and appears to be getting worse. Around the world, a

larger portion of the population is getting older and more prone to age and lifestyle related illnesses. This

presents a burden on the younger population in terms of both time and money. In addition, there is an

increasing and substantial increase in the burden on the economy and the state.

Unfortunately, these negative trends are encouraged by the pharmaceutical and medical industry. Given

the huge costs in developing pharmaceutical products, research is directed at developing products that

bring the largest economic return. It is a sad economic reality that more money can be made from treating

illness than curing it or preventing it. South East Asia itself is on the edge of an important threshold. Large

and powerful pharmaceutical enterprises want China, with its enormous market potential, to follow the

western drug based health model.

The current Western-based model of expensive medical and drug treatment is creating a situation where

state bankruptcy in Europe and North America is a real possibility. For example, it has been estimated that

in the USA the costs of providing even the historical level of partial Medicare and Medicaid will consume

100% of the federal budget by the year 2050.

Will China have the same future? Can China avoid these mistakes? Can the West turn itself around from

its impending fate?


The Global Solution: TCM – Integrated


Although the prognosis for our current healthcare situation is not good, there is a solution. If we change

course and adopt a TCM based preventative approach we can not only solve our health crisis but create a

population that is both healthy and happy.

The first step is to not to continue to follow the current model of Western-based Medicine. This model is

essentially a materialistic 19

th century model based on matter and chemistry. Even with its more modern

reliance on genetics, it is still a model that sees illness as a dysfunction of matter. In a way this model is

closely related to the out-dated model of Newtonian physics, which saw the world in terms only of units of

matter colliding and interacting with one another. This model has been superseded by a more accurate

and sophisticated one that includes quantum theory. This advance in thinking has not yet been effectively

introduced into medicine.

A power point presentation has been prepared to present this model in a more graphic way. It is called

“Introduction to TCM – Integrated” and forms an essential part of this paper. The word “Integrated”

signifies that TCM must be integrated into our culture and become an essential element of our individual

lifestyles. TCM is not a remedy that can be used as a plaster. It must be integrated into daily life to be

effective. It is also my intention that TCM be a bridge that can integrate the cultures of East and West.

The proposal being advanced in this paper is that the model of TCM – Integrated can serve as the new

model. It is a 21

st century model based on energy as the primary source of health and illness.

It is important to be aware that these two models are two completely different ways of thinking about and

understanding health. We should not try to fit TCM into a Western box. A significant amount of research is


being done to explain TCM in terms of a materialistic view of Nature. For example, to explain the action of

traditional herbs as just another form of pharmaceutical product. In my view, this is a serious mistake.

TCM has the chief advantage of viewing health as the harmonious relationship of

qi or energy in the

human system. All of its various therapeutic techniques flow from this view-point. Acupuncture, herbal

remedies, breathing exercises and oriental massage were originally intended to remedy the disharmony or

lack of balance in the patient’s

qi. The materialistic actions were of secondary and supplementary effect.

Unless we hold true to TCM’s original and unique intent, as a system of energy medicine, it will offer no

significant advantage as a solution to the world’s healthcare crisis. I do not mean to denigrate practitioners

who use TCM in its cruder form, but firmly believe that TCM has much greater value and potential when

developed as a system of energy medicine. I call this form “TEAM – Integrated” in order to distinguish it

from cruder forms of TCM.


The Future


It has often been said that in its wisdom, the Chinese language a crisis “

weiji”, which includes the concept

of opportunity. I believe that this crisis is a golden opportunity for South East Asia and my fellow

practitioners of Natural Medicine.

This is an opportunity for South East Asia and Natural Medicine practitioners around the globe to become

World leaders in sustainable health. TCM – Integrated is a model for a new approach to medicine, or

better yet, lifestyle management as a way to keep the population healthy and happy.

I truly hope that the 21

st century will a return to the traditional Asian spirit. Healthcare professionals should

devote our energies to keeping the world healthy and happy through an integrated approach based on


One benefit for South East Asia to this approach would be the expansion of this sector of its economy

through domestic sales and international export of TCM services, TCM facilities for treatment and various

TCM products. To be clear, this is not just about marketing, it is about changing public opinion in the face

of prejudice and opposition from an entrenched medical-pharmaceutical industry.

It is my hope that we can all agree to promote TCM – Integrated on all levels in our culture. Ideally, this

would involve grassroots efforts to change attitudes and habits for ordinary people, e.g. cartoons for

children. In my own case, I have with the help of my colleagues been promoting a book written by my

partner Mieke Roovers called “ The Way of Beauty” This book was developed as a textbook for my

students to explain, in an entertaining way, the theories of TCM – Integrated. We are also working on a

film documentary to reshape world public opinion in the modest hope that it might have a similar effect as

Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.

The truly change our course, we must make efforts to address the opinions of political and social elites.

For example, we could hold other conferences such as this one to bring together new ideas from TCM and

health experts and officials.

Finally, true success will measured by the extent to which we reform our health delivery systems and

create TCM Centres in Europe, North America and South East Asia.

Let us all be open to this approach and begin a profound discussion of a Global TCM Promotion Strategy.


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We cannot improve the world by only changing our thinking or adopting new ideas. To truly make the world a better place, we must change the quality of our life energy.