This science originated in China, but Chinese people learning Western medicine and becoming Western doctors are not called Chinese medicine practitioners, and a Westerner learning TCM can become a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner.
The word Chinese linked to practitioners signifies the unique way of approach to their medical work.
Chinese medicine and Western medicine
In China Western medicine and Chinese medicine go hand in hand. The Chinese healthcare system brilliantly combines them to get the best results. In hospitals you can always find a TCM department where Acupuncture, Tuina and Chinese herbal prescriptions are available to help recovery in a gentle way.
Every year millions are spent on an increasing number of high-tech research projects about the effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbs. These researches keep discovering links between Western medicine and Chinese medicine and are valuable tools for combining these two different yet similar medicines.
In China TCM practitioners are equal to Western medicine doctors. Beside modern medical subjects their education includes traditional medicine: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, classical medical texts etc. To distinguish these two professions and emphasise the traditional approach of this medicine, Chinese doctors who are specialized in acupuncture are called traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.
This science is based on thousands of years of clinical experience and has always been characterised by a continuous development of knowledge based on the medical classics and previous practitioners' work. It's the many centuries of experience and refined knowledge which make traditional Chinese medicine so valuable. That's why it is traditional.
Chinese herbs have proven their efficacy for thousands of years. The unique system of pattern identification in TCM allows practitioners to provide the most individualized herbal prescriptions for patients, tailored to each patient's present state and needs. This way, Chinese herbs can help recovery gradually without side-effects. Herbs are usually prescribed weekly and should be taken for a couple of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the problem.