Medicine, from different points of view
“If you see it’s impossible, you may use others’ eyes”. The quote from poet Toba Beta, expresses like few others can the intirinsic benefits of multiculturalism for our society, and applies to the healthcare sector.
For some time now, our modern medicine, which is based entirely on scientific evidence, has had to contend with the more holistic approaches of traditional medicine in order to offer us a 360º vision of our health.
The calendar of medical congresses in Fira de Barcelona for the second half of the year reflects this situation as it includes events of international renown such as the 33rd edition of ESCRS, one of the most important congresses for refractive surgery and cataracts in the world, and which brought over 8,000 ophthalmologists together in London in its previous edition. This year it is being held at the Gran Via site between the 5th and 8th of September and will be preceded by the Glaucoma Day 2015 seminar, focused on this group of illnesses which, according to the WHO, are the second cause of blindness in the world.
In October, the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) meeting at Fira will bring more than 13,000 specialists in digestive disorders together in one of the most important international meetings in this specialisation. Then, at the end of the month, some 3,000 paediatric endocrinologists will attend the Gran Via site to take part in the annual meeting of the ESPE (European Society of Paediatric Endocrinology).
Of all the traditional forms of medicine still used in healthcare, Chinese medicine has the greatest number of adherents around the world. There are currently more than 120,000 professional practitioners of this traditional Chinese technique, and the number of European patients using this type of treatment is now over 5 million per year. Spain is one of the foremost countries in Europe for the training and promotion of specialists in this field.
And it is precisely in the Montjuïc site that Fira de Barcelona will be hosting the 12th World Congress on Traditional Chinese Medicine (WCCM), which will attract a thousand experts together from the 24th to the 26th of September.
Ramón Mª Calduch
President of the WCCM 2015 and vice-president of the European TCM Foundation
What do we understand by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
They are therapeutic techniques based on the cosmological precepts of Chinese culture and their classical medical teachings, the product of centuries of experience; The aim is to tend to the patient from every angle, or in other words, as a whole, revealing itself as a body of knowledge and discipline with a strongly holistic character. It is a form of medicine that is used more and more due to the effectiveness of the treatments and the growing number of people who prefer to be treated with less invasive therapies without side effects, among other reasons.
Which techniques are most in demand and for which illnesses?
Acupuncture, without a doubt. Its rapid results for a great number of conditions have consolidated its reputation as a highly useful clinical procedure. It is particularly effective, for example, in rheumatic, neurological and gynaecological conditions, among many others. Even so, fphytotherapy – especially in chronic conditions – and auriculotherapy offer endless possibilities.
What is the outlook for the future?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest medical systems that is known, and like others, has evolved over time to adopt the technological advantages that allopathic medicine offers. Chinese medicine offers prevention, vision and complete treatment, does not cause harm with aggressive remedies and does not place the responsibility for the illness on the patient, while conventional medicine brings technological advances, surgery and pharmaceuticals which are vital in situations where Chinese medicine cannot help. Both schools of medicine aim for accuracy in the diagnosis and in the choice of the most appropriate techniques or therapies for each illness and each patient.
How widely is it accepted in Spain?
Some 95.4% of the Spanish population have some knowledge of a traditional natural therapy, and Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the best-known. Around 23.6% admit to using some of these. Even so, Spain is not one of the pioneers in the use of TCM. A higher proportion of the population of countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Chile and Colombia have used one of specialities of this medicine, mainly acupuncture and phytotherapy.
The city hosts a number of important global congresses in medicine and is a reference for specialised medical treatments thanks to its leadership in research in this field. It is a perfect fit for the WCCM.