Chairman Mao popularized Chinese folk medicine and sold the West on it, apparently to give China more international prestige.  A lot of the popularity of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine today, derives from Chinese Communist party propaganda. 

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Read your link and I agree. Propaganda and misunderstanding by others on what it was all about. Give me the herbal but hold the Mao.

Actually that article is itself, mostly propaganda.  Just because Chairman Mao tried to promote Chinese medicine to the West, apparently sometimes by fraud, doesn't say anything about whether it works.  From what I've read, acupuncture for most of its uses doesn't work better than placebo.  The herbal remedies may work - there's lots of research on herbs on Medline - but they may also cause harm or be adulterated. 

Also the article claims that Mao actually created "traditional Chinese medicine" in a way - but doesn't support that claim. 

Anyway, the part about promoting acupuncture by falsely claiming it was used instead of anesthesia during surgery, is interesting. 

The stories about Chinese acupuncture fraud are supported by the Wikipedia article on acupuncture.

Under Mao's leadership, in response to the lack of modern medical practitioners, acupuncture was revived and its theory rewritten to adhere to the political, economic and logistic necessities of providing for the medical needs of China's population..... Later the 1950s TCM's theory was again rewritten at Mao's insistence as a political response to the lack of unity between scientific and traditional Chinese medicine, and to correct the supposed "bourgeois thought of Western doctors of medicine"

Acupuncture gained attention in the United States when President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972. During one part of the visit, the delegation was shown a patient undergoing major surgery while fully awake, ostensibly receiving acupuncture rather than anesthesia. Later it was found that the patients selected for the surgery had both a high pain tolerance and received heavy indoctrination before the operation; these demonstration cases were also frequently receiving morphine surreptitiously through an intravenous drip that observers were told contained only fluids and nutrients.

The greatest exposure in the West came after New York Times reporter James Reston received acupuncture in Beijing for post-operative pain in 1971 and wrote complaisantly about it in his newspaper.  ...

In 2006, a BBC documentary Alternative Medicine filmed a patient undergoing open heart surgery allegedly under acupuncture-induced anesthesia. It was later revealed that the patient had been given a cocktail of weak anesthetics that in combination could have a much more powerful effect.

One has to wonder, how they located the patients with a high tolerance for pain ...


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