Functional Medicine: When Science Fails Us

 In Blog, Functional Medicine

When I first heard about HIV/AIDS back in the eighties, we in the medical profession were told that it was a universally fatal infection that affected only gay people, mostly gay men. I immediately thought that this was impossible–how could a virus distinguish between types of humans? There was no chemical difference that caused people to be gay, and which a virus could attack. The thinking at the time simply made no scientific sense to me, or to many in the medical community.

Other examples of scientific and medical mistakes are plentiful: malaria was caused by “bad air” in certain areas of the planet; bathing too often would lead to disease; bleeding, or “bloodletting”, the ill would cure their disease. In fact, there are countless examples of medical “knowledge” that have been debunked, with more contemporary examples being the efficacy of a “low-fat diet”, the use of antibiotics, and all of the cases where we simply can’t figure out what is wrong with a patient.

Science isn’t always perfect. Modern medicine sometimes fails us. That’s not to say you shouldn’t place some trust in the scientific community, current medical practices, and your family doc; it’s just that none of them possess all the answers. Just don’t let yourself get discouraged when science doesn’t have an answer for you – there are other ways.

Combining Chinese Medicine with Modern Medicine

In addition to what we call “Western Medicine”, I also practice Chinese medicine, because early on in my career as a physician, working as a surgical resident and in an Emergency room, I saw that science didn’t have all the answers. Even with the best medical knowledge at the time, there were too many cases where we didn’t understand our patients and we were unable to help them.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) originated in ancient China and has evolved over thousands of years. TCM practitioners use herbal medicines and various mind and body practices, such as acupuncture and tai chi, to treat or prevent health problems.

“Chinese medicine is a complete system of medicine with its own forms of diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and therapies. Chinese medicine views the body as an energetic system in dynamic balance. Qi, which can be translated as energy or life force, flows in a regular pattern through a system of channels — or meridians — to all parts of the body.

When the flow of Qi is unimpeded there is harmony, balance, and good health. When there are Qi blockages, too much or too little qi, there is an imbalance which can lead to disharmony and disease. Chinese medicine helps restore the body to balance and works on an energetic level to affect all aspects of a person: mind/body/spirit.” (

This is why Chinese medicine is an important part of my practice – because it provides a framework for understanding the body – in addition to “modern science”. And, it works.

Are you curious about the efficacy of Chinese medicine and acupuncture for body balance and healing? If so, get in touch with Dr. Shiroko today.

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