SAN FRANCISCO, March 17 (Xinhua) -- An international symposium was held here Sunday to focus on the latest developments in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and explore ways to expand its application outside China.
The 16th San Francisco International Symposium on Chinese Medicine, concurrently held alongside the Fourth North American Summit of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies, drew hundreds of TCM practitioners from both China and the United States to present papers on the latest achievements of TCM in recent years.
In two separate panels, the participants held heated discussions on TCM application to various disciplines, such as internal medicine, gynecology, and surgery.
The TCM practitioners exchanged expertise on TCM's extensive application, like pathological discovery on prevention and treatment of precancerous lesions of gastric cancer with the principles of strengthening the spleen, transforming stagnation and detoxification.
Other topics touched upon acupuncture treatments on polycystic ovary syndrome and research on prevention and treatments on Alzheimer's diseases via Chinese medicine.
Hu Jun, president of American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, told Xinhua after the opening ceremony of the summit that TCM has a history of more than 1,000 years back in China, and acupuncture, a key component of TCM, has been practiced for over 40 years in the United States since it was first legalized in the U.S. State of Nevada in 1973.
TCM has been gaining greater popularity in the United States because it's "effective, safe and affordable," and more Americans are willing to accept the acupuncture therapy to treat chronicle pain, Hu said.
"In my clinic, more than 80 percent to 90 percent patients are native Americans, who also resort to acupuncture for treatment of depression, anxiety, and even infertility," added Hu, who is a licensed acupuncturist running an acupuncture clinic in Sacramento, capital of California.
With an increasingly expanding market for TCM treatment demand in North America, TCM also needs to absorb the latest results of medical science of other ethnic groups, including non-Chinese Asian communities, so that TCM can grow constantly for a more profound development overseas, Hu said.
Sam Xian Huang, honorary president of the American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, said Sunday that TCM can serve as an alternative treatment for opioid-related disease.
Opioid abuse has become a big problem of the American society as the drug causes a large number of deaths in the United States each year, and the federal government and Americans have been working hard to find a solution to this social threat, Huang told Xinhua at the annual summit that kicked off earlier in the day.
On average, 130 Americans died every day from an opioid overdose in 2017, according to a report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A study, issued in February by the weekly medical journal JAMA Network Open, showed that opioid-related deaths in the United States increased fourfold in the last two decades.
The fight against opioid abuse provided a good opportunity for TCM development as acupuncture has been considered a top alternative for the non-medicinal therapy for the treatment of pain in the United States, Huang said.
This is the first time that acupuncture has been taken into consideration for optional treatment for pain-related disease, for which many Americans intended to use opioid as a relief solution, he explained.
More than 500 TCM practitioners, scholars, and professionals from both China and the United States participated in the international event in an effort to help TCM go global and ultimately be accepted by mainstream American society.