How much Chinese in Chinese medicine?

Friday, April 4, 2014 | Categories: Documentaries 14

AP Photo/Kin CheungAP Photo/Kin Cheung


The young Canadian skier Marie Michelle Gagnon stood poised in the start gate of the Super G in Sochi. Five days earlier, she had dislocated her shoulder.
“She’s ready to go,” the commentator told the TV audience. “The physios have had the needles out.”
Acupuncture. Chinese medicine. Everyone’s doing it, for everything from bad knees to infertility.
There are high-end, low-lit clinics in urban downtowns, stripped-down operations in suburban malls; neighbours needling the woman next door in small-town Canada. And more people are trying Chinese herbal medicine.
But how much Chinese should there be in Chinese medicine?
In Ontario, the rule is that every practitioner must be fluent in English. Some Chinese practitioners say that English language requirements are discriminatory. A year ago, a group of them took Ontario’s brand new regulatory college to court. It was a last-ditch effort, in what has been a long and ugly battle.
British Columbia has had a regulatory college of Traditional Chinese medicine for 15 years.  In BC, exams can be written and courses can be taken in Chinese. No practitioner of Chinese medicine is required to speak English. Now that the demand for acupuncture and herbal medicine reaches well beyond the Chinese community – that is making some people very nervous .
Our documentary by Karin Wells is called “Lost in Translation”.