The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently released its 11th International Classification of Diseases (ICD), which include Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the first time; with a world integration of Chinese medicine into our mainstream health system being one of the best possible outcomes.
The significance of this could be a greater acceptance and inclusion for TCM around the world. According to David Cyranoski from Nature (1), this new classification will include diagnostic terms and classification of conditions in TCM, which can be used globally to expand the understanding of our current and emerging health challenges.
According to the WHO (2), the ICD is the foundation to identify diseases and health trends around the world, for the purpose of creating statistics for diagnostic classification that serves both clinical and research purposes. This new inclusion of traditional medicines appears in the new chapter 26 (3) in the ICD, which can be accessed here: icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en#/http%3a%2f%2fid.who.int%2ficd%2fentity%2f718687701
One great significance of this inclusion could be a greater understanding of how Chinese medicine works in a mainstream medicine setting, with possible improved research protocols and applications brought into standard medical settings.
There are a number of challenges involved in this new addition. As explained by Cyranoski (2) and Katherine Rushlau from Integrative Practitioner (4), as Chinese medicine becomes more accepted worldwide, it is also in an increased constraint to support its efficacy by means of scientific validation. I personally welcome this challenge as this new ICD addition might lead to better financial support and better accreditation for TCM research worldwide.
In addition, another complicated challenge will be to arrive to a clear and practical understanding of the conceptual and complex jargon of Chinese medicine. Bridging this current obstacle could increase the acceptance and proper application of TCM by means of clarification and practicality.
These are great news for TCM worldwide, which although come with a responsibility to maintain a high professional standard; also open the door for this great and beautiful medical practice to help provide for our modern health needs.
1.Cyranoski, D. 2018. Why Chinese medicine is heading for clinics around the world. Nature Magazine Nature, viewed May 15, 2018. <https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-06782-7>
2.World Health Organisation, 2019. ICD Classifications. WHO, viewed May 15, 2018. <https://www.who.int/classifications/icd/en/>
3.World Health Organisation, 2019. 26 Supplementary Chapter Traditional Medicine Conditions. WHO, viewed May 15, 2018. <https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en#/http%3a%2f%2fid.who.int%2ficd%2fentity%2f718687701>
4.Rushlau, K. 2019. WHO Latest ICD Includes Traditional Chinese Medicine. Integrative Practitioner, viewed May 15, 2019. <https://www.integrativepractitioner.com/topics/analysis/who-latest-icd-includes-traditional-chinese-medicine>