Pulse of Oriental Medicine: Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks
Alternative Medicine That Works for Regular Folks

Updated August 1, 2003








The Pulse of Oriental Medicine
and Its Purpose
By Brian Benjamin Carter, MSci, LAc

I read your article on pseudomembranous colitis (PMC) and bacterial vaginosis. If your journal is titled The Pulse of Oriental Medicine, why is the medical information listed almost exclusively western? Oriental Medicine is mentioned as an aside. You might think of retitling, or reprioritizing, to bring your title into synch with your information.


Thanks for your feedback- a good point.

Our Name, and Our Purpose

But, I think you're generalizing from too small an amount of info. The site's name is the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, but our goal is to inform people about how best to treat their health conditions, and Oriental Medicine (OM) is not always the best way.

For more info on the purposes of the Pulse of Oriental Medicine, and the information it publishes, read this page, particularly the answer to question #5.

Western Diseases, Western Information

Much of the information out there on Pseudomembranous Colitis (PMC) is western, and I found it to be very interesting. When I am asked a question about a western disease, I have to answer it in both western medicine (WM) terms and OM terms. There are many websites that only have WM info and, to the detriment of the patient, do not acknowledge OM. The Pulse of Oriental Medicine includes both to give patients greater understanding and more choices.

No Medicine Is An Island (Integrative Medicine is Good)

I think that Pulse's inclusion of and devotion to integrative medicine is actually ideal, and commendable, though it may surprise new readers. Perhaps some have a black and white - us and them - view of western medicine. I used to think that way, until I saw some of the shortcomings of OM, and some of the strengths of WM.

From my perspective, it's all medicine- and the goal of medicine is not to create an orthodoxy or an intellectual fortress in which to hide, but to improve the lives of patients. Each medical system has a unique and useful perspective on health and healing. Practically and clinically speaking, the more diagnostic and treatment frameworks we have as tools, the more patients we can help.

Integrative medicine is responsible and wise. Medical systems keeping to themselves is not.

Giving Out a Responsible Kind of Information

The Oriental Medicine information was not "mentioned as an aside." I explained the basics of the related CM disease, Li Ji, and gave the pattern differentiation with the herbal formulas.

If that seemed skimpy, it may be because you expected more info about what herbs to prescribe yourself. CM diagnosis and herbal prescription is too complex for the patient to practice. It requires 4 years of basic education, a particular commitment to herbal medicine, and plenty of continuing education.

Dangerous Knowledge

I'll never forget my brilliant teacher Nancy Nicholson explaining the concept of Dangerous Knowledge. Not everyone should know everything. For example, we don't really want everyone to know how to assemble a nuclear device, or even explosives from household items. Perhaps no one is responsible enough to handle the former, and young children might impulsively misuse the latter. Albert Einstein never expected his theories to be used to create weapons, and after things went that way, he spent the rest of his life fighting them.

Patients giving themselves herbs (without sufficient medical education) can be dangerous, and giving them information that might help them do that could be considered irresponsible. I've had a few (very few) readers get mad that I don't tell them which herbs to use. But so what? Why should I let someone bully me into giving them information that might hurt them?

The Doctor Who Treats Himself

Even well trained practitioners shouldn't treat themselves. The saying goes, "The doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient." How much more, the amateur?

For more information about herbal self-medication, see our articles:

  1. "The Dangers of Herbal Self-Medication"
  2. "Ephedra Dangers Taught in Traditional Herbal Training" (Press Release)
  3. "Non-Ephedra Fat Burners Still Pose Health Risk" (Press Release)

Thanks for your feedback. I do hope you find something positive and helpful on our site.

All the best!

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About The PULSE
All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor