A reflection on our past GHU discussion by Tommy Kim: 

This week in Globe Med we discussed the differences between various types of medicine. Alternative medicine differs from a nation’s normal way of treatment. This obviously can include a wide range of treatment such as yoga, medicinal herbs, etc.  Traditional medicine, according to WHO, is the “sum total of knowledge, skills, and practices based on theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures whether explicable or not”. Lastly, integrative medicine is a combination of conventional and alternative medicine.

WHO has an interesting stance on traditional medicine. Recently, WHO released the “WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy for 2014-2023, a report that outlines specific goals for the next decade. WHO acknowledges that traditional medicine is the most widely practiced form of medicine worldwide. Thus in order to improve medicine around the world, improvement of traditional medicine should be the focus. WHO wishes to improve traditional medicine by “promoting safe and effective use” through “regulation, research and integration”. The link to the full report can be found at the bottom of this post. 

Recently, traditional medicine has become more of a presence in the United States. The Cleveland Clinic has instituted a Chinese herbal therapy center inside its hospital. Patients can pay to get Chinese herbs in addition to conventional medicine. However, the herbal therapy is not covered by insurance and prices can start from $100.

I have actually been exposed to traditional medicine before. After my third sprained ankle within a year my mom took me to a Korean/Chinese traditional medicine center. There I drank this bitter brown juice made of herbs to keep the swelling down. I also had acupuncture done to relieve the tendons. Personally, none of it actually worked but other people may have had better outcomes. 

One of the slides from the GHU presentation, and questions we discussed in groups: