Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS if there is enough evidence to prove that it would benefit patients, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has suggested. Let me repeat that. Chinese medicine could be available on the NHS. It’s not April 1st and I am not still suffering from an overdose of wine and cake after my birthday this week.
So, the NHS, that bastion of all that is traditionally British and not what you would ever describe as being particularly cutting edge when it comes to new therapies or treatments is considering integrating traditional Chinese medicines with Western medical techniques. Jeremy Hunt said his frequent travels to China (his wife’s home country) had taught him that it is important to “follow the scientific evidence” concerning Chinese medicine. He said that taxpayers’ money should never be spent on the traditional techniques if there was not “good evidence” that they would be beneficial.
He made the comments in the Commons on Tuesday in answer to a question from the Conservative MP David Tredinnick.“In your travels to the People’s Republic of China, what have you learnt about the integration of Western medicines with traditional Chinese medicine?” Mr Tredinnick asked. The Health Secretary replied: “What I’ve learnt is that the most important thing is to follow the scientific evidence and where there is good evidence for the impact of Chinese medicine then we should look at that but where there isn’t we shouldn’t spend NHS money on it.”
This is truly music to my ears, but why? As a Pilates teacher why do I care so much? The reason is that Chinese medicine can involve methods such as herbal remedies, acupuncture and massage therapy. The very fact that it is being discussed at the echelons of UK Government shows a huge shift in the way the Western world is thinking about health and healthcare. You could say that thinking is coming full circle.
I am Buddhist and I have studied Buddhism and spirituality. I am also qualified in Thai Massage. If you read my blog regularly you will know that I have a profound belief in the link between the mind and the body. You will also know that that I think tradition and science both have a vital role in our thinking. We all know that Pilates is holistic, mind and body. I have long believed that the mind connection is understated. This is why that in my system Pilates EVO I integrated NLP, meditation and most importantly for this article meridian exercises and stretches.
So what are meridians?
Meridians (also known as collaterals) circulate in each of us, and can be thought of as paths in which energy flows. The central idea in Eastern medicine is the assumption that all physical problems are due to an inhibition of the energy flow and that the revival of this circulation can contribute to improving health and well-being. Meridian exercises can also be used as preparation for meditation. In a traditional sense Meridians are functionaries without substantial structure as most people cannot feel or see them. The discovery of the meridians was made possible only by a very sensitive perception of Chinese people and their close relationship with the nature. The twelve meridians in the YIN-YANG pairs are responsible for six basic functions. Six of the basic functions with six yang meridians and their associated organs refers to the more superficial layers of the body. The other six basic functions with six yin meridians refer to organs, and so are more inside the body.
It is my opinion that a knowledge and use of such ancient methods as meridian and meditation can perfectly complement modern exercise science and psychological methods such as NLP, which is why Pilates EVO includes all of these.
To see Chinese methods and also meditation (a future blog about this is coming…) potentially moving into the mainstream of Western healthcare is for me a wonderful step in the right direction. A shift away from drugs can only help us all as Pilates and yoga teachers as our holistic methods will increase in their value and acceptance.
If you want to talk more about Pilates EVO, meridians or Pilates then you know where I am 🙂
Chris is an international Pilates presenter and educator. He is the creator of Pilates EVO©, bodyFUNC©, and CEO of Pilates Rehab Limited and Sport Core Strength. He also organises Pilates Carnivals, Pilates conventions where all profits go to local children’s charities. Read Just who is Chris Hunt anyway? for more.