“Western medicine tends to segment the body into the different systems—circulatory, musculoskeletal, digestive and other systems—whereas TCM incorporates all these bodily systems via the meridian pathways,” said Asuncion. “These pathways are established by being named after an organ system—liver, spleen, kidney—and used for diagnosis and treatment purposes.”
TCM treatment works to balance the disharmonies of the body and correct them with acupuncture, herbal remedies and massage. It dates back over 3,000 years and is based on treating patterns of diseases at the root of the condition—Western medicine tends to treat more symptomatically.
“What is important about merging Eastern and Western medicine is that the health and well being of the patient is the ultimate goal,” said Asuncion. “I interpret these two systems of medicine as running parallel; therefore, complimenting one another versus competing with one another.”
Ricardo Molczadzki and Chinta Mackinnon own Three Treasures in Ha‘ikō.
Malik Cotter, doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and a Certified Herbalist, owns The Dragon’s Den Healing Center and co-owns The Dragons Den Herb Store in Makawao. Cotter, works with many Western doctors on Maui, and would like to see more integration between Eastern and Western approaches in the future.
“Most people in China do not see Chinese medicine and Western medicine as being in conflict,” said Cotter. “In fact, in cases of emergency, both are used. For example, in China, you typically see a Western doctor if you have acute appendicitis, but then you are referred to TCM to maintain and preserve a healthy lifestyle change.”
The goal of ancient Chinese medicine is to create harmony within a person, allowing the body, mind and spirit to heal. In the 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty, one of the greatest physicians, pharmacologists and naturalists in Chinese history, Li Shizhen, compiled a famous book known in the West as the Materia Medica. In this compendium, he classified thousands of herbs and over 11,000 prescriptions still used all over the world.
Acupuncturist and Herbalist Ricardo Molezadzki and Massage Therapist, Shiatsu Teacher and East-West Herbalist Chinta Mackinnon use the Materia Medica in their practice. Molezadzki and Mackinnon are the owners of Three Treasure Clinic in Ha‘ikū.
“From the beginning, human beings have used herbs, minerals and massage to nourish their body and cure themselves from all kind of pains and ailments,” said Molezadzki.
Their philosophy is “to view each individual as an energy system in which body, mind and spirit are unified.” They recognize that we are all influenced by lifestyle, diet, thought, emotions, attitude and environment. The Three Treasures they offer you are named in their guiding principle: “to provide the highest level of healthcare and service possible with acupuncture, herbal medicine and massage.”
Unlike Western medicine, which divides the physical body into parts, the Chinese model is more concerned with overall function. “Therefore,” said Mackinnon, “the Chinese diagnostics are based on overall observation of human symptoms rather than just laboratory tests.”
When you visit a doctor practicing TCM, he or she will observe your complexion, examine your tongue, check your pulse, and ask you questions about your symptoms and your food preferences.
“Based on the doctor’s diagnosis of what is ailing your body, he or she will advise the most effective treatment, as well as which food is good for you,” she said.
“A natural cure for an ailment is far preferable to a chemical one,” said Matthew Hammond, manager of The Dragon’s Den Herb Store. Hammond believes that there is help and relief for almost every ailment. “If you use only the conventional system, you will miss the available alternatives that may change your life.” He encourages everyone who may be suffering to “seek out more information, not to give up, and to start investigating now. The key is in how good your sources are and your ability to seek them out!”
Through its ageless wisdom, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers ways to true health by maintaining proper balance in the body. All the practitioners agree, “Bridging the two approaches of Eastern and Western modes of thought helps every facet of healing.”