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Chinese medicine in Singapore

My officemate from Beijing seems to have more or less given up on western medicine for her aches and pains. She goes to a guy in the back room of a Chinese herb shop (one of a prominent chain in Singapore), and he does things to her that leave her with slight lacerations and scraped skin, but which she says work. She had her shoulders scraped to get rid of stiff shoulders and neck pain, and her husband asked her to wear a turtleneck to work so people wouldn’t think he’d been beating her. And last weekend the Chinese doctor pinched the skin between her eyes and shook it heartily, then did the same with the skin on her temples, leaving interesting red marks that are almost covered by her glasses. She says it worked miraculously on her stuffy nose and head congestion.

Scientifically, I’d love to know how this sort of thing works! (Aside from my private theory that the treatment hurts so much that it distracts the patient’s attention from the original condition.) But until there’s some sort of regulation of research systems in China, it will remain a mystery. Alas.
Here’s a token problem in Chinese medical research (Thanks, Mei!): http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7318/full/467884a.html.

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