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Everybody has a viewpoint: we share ours and others through editorials, book reviews, interviews and miscellany.


Welcome to the Lantern!
Our design is to reflect more of the tradition of Chinese medicine, in all of its multitudinous variety, to balance the tendency towards discarding aspects of Chinese medicine simply because they do not match the current dominant paradigm of Western biomedicine.

The tyranny of the microscope
Western bio-medical tests provide a sure basis for diagnosis and treatment, but without clear positive results, there is no certainty. For those reliant on certainty this would feel extremely precarious ... but there is another way.

I will study the classics
If memorising just locks things away we are better off just using our computers or reference books —at least they are accurate. On the other hand, memorisation may result in unseen recombinant activity in the depths, a subconscious processing ...

Gold prospecting in Chinese medicine
What is the motivation for and what are the results of trying to eliminate the so-called placebo effect? What are we afraid of in the face of the evidence that there is a tendency for patients to heal themselves? These questions are examined in this editorial.

Budding industry needs tender loving care
“Chinese herbal supplies are vulnerable to anything that disrupts the sea-lanes between China and Australia. A war between China and Taiwan ... could leave us high and dry without a supply.”

Optimism, trust and the power of communication
“...If [your clients] trust you, the effects will be better, because they will have the confidence that allows their own healing powers to act to the fullest. And that is an ally you want on your side.”

Of insight, wholeness and understanding
“Insight, the deep apprehension of how a system acts as a whole, the recognition of non–obvious linkages — these need not be the province of only a talented few, as techniques for training these skills exist and have been utilised for centuries.”

Play now, pay later
Why more people are doing two jobs for the pay of one... and who benefits.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
We all know that jing, qi and feng (for example), like, say, Beauty, Love and Truth, cannot be demonstrated physically, even though, at least in regard to the latter three archetypes, we all know they exist and are just as true as the objects we see, hear, touch and taste around us ...

How do we know what is right?
In this issue, quite fortuitously, two articles begin with the question of evidence, and both suggest that practice is the most reliable criterion. This is a Big Question which, stripped down to its most basic, can be stated like this: How do we know what is right?

Red herrings ... and how to avoid them
It's vital to avoid jumping to conclusions on the basis of one sign or symptom.

The Delphic boat and the Yellow Emperor
French scientist Antoine Danchin writes of an old boat whose planks eventually rot and must be repaired and replaced. Eventually the original planks are long gone. Is it the same boat? Is the boat the material from which it is made, or is it something much more interesting?

The essence of the Nan Jing's teachings on health
By studying the Nan Jing, we can reorient ourselves to a different clinical gaze and comprehensive view of medicine. Rather than just practise another form of biomedicine using natural substances, we can revolutionise the way we approach our patients.

Chinese medicine in Australia
In Chinese culture the number eight (ba) is significant; it is associated with "expanding wealth". I reflected on the fact that it is eight years since the introduction of the Chinese Medicine Registration Act 2000 in the state of Victoria.

Mentoring in Chinese medicine
The retirement of legendary Melbourne teacher-practitioner Professor Lun Wong highlights the issue of mentoring for graduates and new practitioners.

Transforming Gold into Lead
A man stood in a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes...

The Practitioner's Pledge
This pledge has been distilled from the Code of Ethics published by the Chinese Medicine Registration Board of Victoria.

Don't be ashamed of our fuzzy grasp of reality
We have an extremely flexible theory of physiology set out for us, in Chinese medicine: just detailed enough to be accurate, yet not so complicated that it cannot be held in the head, all at once.

Wheels of progress turning in Victoria
The forward-thinking Victorian Health Minister, Daniel Andrews,has approved three herbs for inclusion in a Schedule of the Poisons List, a move that will soon make them available to registered Chinese herbalists.

On being the Real Thing
Chinese medicine is doing well, spreading around the world, and
gradually earning trust at the grass roots, which will be a crucial factor
in our survival over the next few decades. But we may be preventing
ourselves from being as successful as we otherwise could.

China's medical crisis
TCM administrators rarely resort to traditional modalities when they become sick. Even TCM students regularly take antibiotics when contracting a cold...

Bridge between practitioners and the one billion people in need
A staggering one billion people around the world have no access to healthcare of any kind. Chinese medicine practitioners have the knowledge and wherewithal to do something about this.

Acupuncture among the Afghans
The modern world is characterised by its obsession with the ephemeral, transient and relative, hence all the maladies that assail it.

Chinese medicine into the breach
The case AGAINST allowing TCM practitioners to prescribe antibiotics in Australia.

How to make Chinese medicine more British
Traditional Chinese medicine is multi-faceted, versatile and inclusive. It is justly the world’s great “alternative” medicine. Yet in the West it is still a fringe player, rarely integrated with mainstream drug, surgical and physiotherapy practices.

Oppression, constraint and the nature of two
Yang and yin, opening and closing; something reaching an extreme then turns into its opposite: these are concepts we learn and apply in clinic every day. But with them we can tell the future

War stories
This editorial reviews three cases emblematic of the current world crisis, a crisis that can be seen as one of separation: between religion and science, male and female, the modern world from the indigenous world, and of rich and poor.


Looking for – and finding – the Dao
Cleary is of the opinion that it may be more valuable to learn to access the living flow that gives rise to Daoism and equivalent streams, a flow that is present now, rather than simply trying to look like or act like a 12th century Daoist.


An interview with Volker Scheid
A leading scholar, practitioner and research director talks about education, integration and the place of Chinese medicine and its practitioners in the modern world. (Published originally in the RCHM Journal, May 2010, Vol 7:1.)

A word with Chip Chace
In spring 2010, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chip Chace in a conversation that proved to be informative and provocative.


Preventing pasteurised qi
Since reading "The tyranny of the Microscope — the allure of certainty", I've been standing up straighter and with more confidence in my comfortable acupuncturist shoes. I had been quietly seething for years ...

Evidence is more valuable than logic1
What sort of 'evidence' should we privilege in diagnosis?

Chaos and clarity in the acupuncture department
In October 2010, I studied for nine days at the Shandong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine ...

Music of the meridians
A proposition to explain the mechanics of meridians and their relationship to the frequencies naturally observed in music and in nature as a whole.

The Myth of the Turtle
The rapid development of a material culture in China has led people to become more aware of their personal health. The consequences of this to the turtle, whose value as a medicinal remedy has been exaggerated to the point of fabrication, threaten to be catastrophic.