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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2023, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (6): 509-517.doi: 10.1016-j.joim.2023.10.001

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Promoting whole person health: Exploring the role of traditional Chinese medicine in Polish healthcare

Monika Rybickaa,c, Jing Zhaob, Karolina Piotrowiczc, Sara Ptasnika, Kamila Mitkad, Magdalena Kocot-Kępskae, Ka-Kit Huia   

  1. a David Geffen School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Center for East-West Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA
    b Institute of Basic Research in Clinical Medicine, TCM Clinic, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China
    c Faculty of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Gerontology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 30-688 Krakow, Poland
    d Faculty of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 30-688 Krakow, Poland
    e Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pain Research and Treatment, Jagiellonian University Medical College, 31-531 Krakow, Poland
  • Received:2023-04-13 Accepted:2023-10-08 Online:2023-12-08 Published:2023-10-30
  • Contact: Monika Rybicka

Poland has a unique history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) dating back to the 17th century when Polish missionary Michael (Micha?) Boym was a pioneer in the field. In the 20th century, his successor, Professor Zbigniew Garnuszewski, reintroduced acupuncture to medical practice in Poland. However, other methods of TCM and its holistic approach to patient care have not found their place in modern medicine in Poland. At present, the legal status of TCM in Poland remains unregulated, with TCM included in the broad spectrum of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices. Few reports are available on the use of TCM methods among the Polish population. Integrative medicine combines conventional medicine with evidence-based CAM interventions and considers all aspects of a patient’s health, including physical, emotional, mental, social and environmental factors. An integrative healthcare model that incorporates TCM modalities and lifestyle recommendations as well as a whole person approach may provide a more sustainable solution for the constantly underfinanced Polish healthcare system, which faces challenges of multimorbidity in an aging society and limited access to care. The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, war in Ukraine, and ongoing climate crisis have underscored the need to strengthen the resilience of the Polish healthcare system and search for new solutions. A model of care that blends the best of biomedicine and TCM healing approaches may be a better option for both patients and the healthcare system in Poland.

Key words: Whole person health, Traditional Chinese medicine, Complementary and alternative medicine, Integrative medicine, Poland healthcare system

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