Recent Western Medicine research catches up with Traditional Chinese Medicine


Traditional Chinese Medicine has associated FEAR with Shen Zangfu (related to Kidney function) for more than 2000 years.

A recent programme on the BBC entitled Incredible Medicine explores the medical history of a number of people who are beyond the range of what might be described as normal.

In Episode Two a person is featured who has absolutely no fear. He had a normal fear response until the removal of his Adrenal glands. These glands are associated with the Kidneys and thus, in TCM terms, with what is referred to as Shen Zangfu.
Incredible Medicine: Dr Weston’s Casebook.

TCM has a long history of understanding the emotional causes of disease, and the treatment of conditions which have an imbalance of a particular emotion as the presenting main complaint.

It is interesting to see that Western Medical research is now becoming aware of some aspects of human functioning that have been known about by Chinese Medicine for millennia.


Irish President Michael D Higgins receiving the PRTCM founder in June 2016

President Higgins and Professor Shanahan

On 3 June 2016, the Founder of the Professional Register of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Prof Tom Shanahan, was honoured to meet the Irish President at the Presidential palace.

Tom Shanahan founded the PRTCM in 1983, and since then has been promoting Traditional Chinese Medicine in all its forms, in Ireland, Europe and beyond.

During the reception Professor Shanahan provided President Higgins with some literature about the PRTCM, and its TCM College in Dublin, the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine – the Alma Mater of most members of the PRTCM.


Qigong and Medical Qigong practitioners received by President Higgins at the Aras


Practitioner members of the PRTCM, both of whom have trained in Medical Qigong in China since 2000, recently attended a reception at the Aras at which President Higgins and his wife welcomed a Health Qigong Delegation from China and various parts of Ireland.

President Higgins’ speech reflected his admiration for, and understanding of, the Chinese Medical view of harmonious balance both within the human being and, by extrapolation, between nations.



Warm Welcome to New Members

0 flowers

The PRTCM are delighted to welcome three new members this Spring: a returning member Mida Stevens and new members Lara Serviolle and Vit V. Dobrin.

Mida Stevens is returning in practice in Dublin after a break, her clinic details can be found here.

Lara Serviolle is practising in Sligo  and Vit V. Dobrin in Dublin. For information and clinic details, don’t hesitate to contact Lara and Vit directly.

The PRTCM wishes the new members all the best in their practice.


Nepal Barefoot Clinics Week

Barefoot clnics pic

Dear Members,

With the anniversary of the Nepal earthquake, Nepal has been in the news recently. We thought you might like to know about the Barefoot Clinics project who create free acupuncture clinics and train acupuncturists in Nepal. Below is a letter you can display in your practice if you wish to participate in the Barefoot Clinics Week – even the following week. For more information, please visit their website
barefoot clinics week new logo poster


Paracetamol, Pain and Acupuncture


Since the arrival of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the West, pain alleviation or relief has been one of the regularly observed benefits of treatment with needles (Acupuncture TCM). A client with a main complain of, say, lower back pain, would, on arrival at the clinic of a PRTCM member, be given a full Chinese Medical diagnosis on the basis of which two or three specific acupuncture points might be selected. The needles would normally stay in place for about 20 minutes.

In light of this, the following news item on pain relief and paracetamol, reported in many Newspapers and News Reports, made interesting reading/listening this week. (Currently, the cost of such drugs represents a significant expense for the patient and/or the government and there is the added danger of drug side-effects from excessive or persistent use.)

The recent paper by Machedo and Colleagues1 examining the efficacy and safety of paracetamol for spinal pain and osteoarthritis, concludes:

“Paracetamol is ineffective in the treatment of low back pain and provides minimal short term benefit for people with osteoarthritis. These results support the reconsideration of recommendations to use paracetamol for patients with low back pain and osteoarthritis of the hip or knee in clinical practice guidelines.”

Commenting on the above, an Editorial in the BMJ (British Medical Journal) 2 states:

“Ongoing and ever increasing concerns about pharmacological management of musculoskeletal pain highlights the importance of non-pharmacological options, which form the cornerstone of self management of spinal pain and osteoarthritis. NICE recommends that all patients with osteoarthritis should receive written information with advice about maintaining or increasing physical activity and optimising weight (if appropriate); exercise, manual therapy, acupuncture, and psychological support are also recommended for those with back pain.”


Efficacy and safety of paracetamol for spinal pain and osteoarthritis,Machedo and Colleagues, 31 March 2015, BMJ 2015;350:h1225

Managing back pain and osteoarthritis without paracetamol 2 A BMJ Editorial by Christian Mallen, 31 March 2015, BMJ 2015;350:h1352

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