In the cosmopolitan city of Toronto, a significant gathering took place at the end of August: The World Forum on High-Quality Development of Chinese Medicine Education. This event accentuated the prominence of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) on the global arena, as over 20 experts and scholars from different countries converged to engage in enlightening discussions. A focal point of the discourse was the impending integration of traditional Chinese and Western medicinal practices, paving the way for an advanced and holistic future in global healthcare.
Wu Binjiang, at the helm of the forum’s organizing committee and also leading the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (OCTCM) in Canada, underlined the conference’s theme: “integrity, innovation and benefiting mankind.” His intention, clear and profound, was to aid the evolution and expansion of TCM education worldwide.
With a staggering 66-year journey in the medical realm, Wu has devoted a significant chunk of his life to the overseas promotion and education of TCM. He passionately expressed that dispelling the biases and misunderstandings surrounding TCM is not an overnight venture. It demands consistent efforts in education, fostering trust, and showcasing tangible evidence of its efficacy.
In the past years, Chinese acupuncture has emerged as a stellar example of TCM’s increasing global acceptance. Its therapeutic benefits have won accolades and are being practiced fervently across continents. Yet, like any progressive domain, the evolution and acceptance of TCM overseas are fraught with challenges that necessitate a collaborative approach to further its internationalization and contemporary relevance.
Wu fondly recollects his early tryst with Chinese medicine, recounting the period when his father battled coronary heart disease. This personal connection shaped his aspirations of becoming an accomplished doctor, intending to alleviate people’s pain and suffering.
Having acquired academic accolades from prestigious institutions like the Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Wu didn’t limit his expertise to China. Post-1990, he made significant strides in promoting TCM internationally, establishing clinics in nations such as Japan, Hungary, and Austria, and pioneering the OCTCM in Canada.
The rise in TCM’s global popularity has been meteoric. More individuals worldwide are opting for TCM treatments, including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and therapeutic massages. Wu emphasized the establishment of TCM colleges and training facilities in various nations, propelling the TCM wave forward. Countries like the US, Australia, and Canada have even instituted legislative frameworks for acupuncture.
However, Wu also drew attention to the challenges. TCM’s foundation in traditional Chinese philosophy sometimes juxtaposes it against the Western medical paradigm. The language barrier further complicates this, as TCM’s teachings predominantly utilize Chinese terminologies.
But Wu remains optimistic. He underscores the importance of international dialogue, cooperation, and the merger of TCM with contemporary medical systems. With countries from Asia to Africa recognizing and integrating TCM, especially acupuncture, into their healthcare frameworks, the future looks promising.
For Wu, the journey ahead for TCM is clear: preserve its inherent essence, adapt to modern needs, and continue its global outreach, ensuring that the world reaps the rich benefits of this ancient and revered medical tradition.