2/3 Chinese seniors in Canada use both TCM, Western medicine: study

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May 15, 2007  
Filed under Uncategorized

CBC – A University of Calgary professor says doctors need to be more open-minded when it comes to traditional Chinese medicine because it’s used commonly among older Chinese immigrants.

Daniel Lai surveyed more than 2,000 Chinese immigrants aged 55 and over in seven major Canadian cities, including Calgary and Edmonton.

His results, published recently in the Family Practice Advanced Access Journal, found that two-thirds of Canada’s elderly Chinese immigrants are using traditional Chinese medicine in combination with the Western health-care system.

“Quite a significant number of them have used traditional Chinese medicine as a complementary way of maintaining their health or as a way of dealing with illnesses or diseases that they don’t find Western medicines as effective for them.”

Lany Woo, nearly 70 years old, is diabetic and has lung cancer. In addition to the usual insulin and chemotherapy treatments, Woo grinds a type of mushroom into a powder and boils it into a tea.

Woo is convinced the traditional Chinese medicine — in combination with regular doctors visits and drugs — is helping her health, improving her immune system and making her stronger.

Lai said his study shows many doctors are not listening to patients like Woo when they want to talk about alternative therapies.

“Very often family physicians do not know about the chemical reaction of combining various kinds of herbal medicine and Western medicine. I think there is definitely health concern to the patients.”

The best way for doctors to address the problem is to educate themselves and talk to their patients openly about alternative therapies, he said.