Frédéric Breton is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner, founder and Director of the Liang Shen Institute of Medicine, and Chairman of the OSMC Board of Directors. He is one of the practitioners who has initiated the Chinese Medicine Covid 19 group. He kindly gives us a first assessment of this collective action during an interview.
How can TCM be beneficial to people suffering from Covid-19 symptoms?
The answer is quite simple. TCM has studied, categorized, and treated epidemic febrile illnesses at least since the Han period (editor’s note: 206 BC to 220 AD). This is something we are familiar with and for which there are treatments, at least for situations that do not require hospitalization.
What first assessment can be drawn from the analysis of your first treatments?
The first observation, which is moreover quite explicable, lies in the evolution of symptoms manifestation as well as treatments compared to those which were observed and administered in China at the end of last winter at the beginning of the epidemic. Other manifestations have appeared, such as anosmia (loss of smell) or dryness of the nose and throat. We therefore had to adapt treatments to this new data.
The second observation is the confirmation of the great efficiency of the Chinese pharmacopoeia to treat this type of disease. Indeed, we observed a remission of the characteristic symptoms after a little more than two and a half days of treatment on average.
The third observation is the confirmation that without an in-depth knowledge of Zhang Zhong-Jing’s Shanghan Zabing Lun (Cold Injury Treatise) and theories of “heat” disease – according to the four levels and the triple burners – we cannot treat this type of illness or the consequences it can induce during recovery.
Finally, it is possible to practice TCM remotely or, more generally, does digital transformation offer opportunities for TCM?
Most of us are used to remote prescribing, especially for patients who has difficulty to move to our office due to the distance or as part of a renewal. In an extraordinary situation, we therefore use an extraordinary technical means.
What seems to me more remarkable is the organization of collective practice, that is to say the possibility of discussing or even deciding collectively on a final prescription, in committee, you might say. The treatment of a potentially fatal short-term febrile illness is so sensitive that each substance forming the prescription must be given and measured precisely. There is no room for approximation. In a chronic disease, you can be more imprecise on the dosage or use one substance in place of another, add three plants for an action or even use a ready-made formula. In the current situation, these methods are not possible.
In your opinion, what do you get out of this solidarity action?
It seems to me that the strength of the collective intention (even if it remains modest in its action since we have taken care of less than a hundred people to date) outshines personal feelings and lure of profit. It might be for this reason that some of us are not attracted by this kind of collective intention… it doesn’t bring anything individually but rather allows to humbly contribute to the collective edifice.
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