“Chinese were working on the West Coast well before the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived in 1804 for the first view of the Pacific Ocean by East Coast explorers” (Chen, 2019). In 1943, Chinese immigrants comprised only 0.05% of the United States’ population, but in 1970 Chinese already made up 0.2% of the almost 205 million people who lived in the USA at the time (Chen, 2019). During the last decade or so, the number of Chinese immigrants in NYC has been around twice the national average. As most immigrants, the Chinese brought with them their traditions and lifestyles. Similarly to many other large cities that are home to immigrants from foreign countries, local residents become curious and explore the elements of foreign lifestyles. An important tradition that Chinese immigrants brought to the United States and New York City with them was traditional Chinese medicine.
Best Chinese Medicine NYC
Traditionally, Chinese medicine has been inseparable from the Chinese culture and traditional beliefs, many of which come from Confucianism and Taoism. But since China had opened to western European culture, various Chinese traditions started to blend with the methods, views, and traditions that came from the world outside of China. This blending helped to create awareness of traditional Chinese medicine and what it can do in many countries, including the U.S. As an increasing number of media outlets informed the general public about acupuncture, cupping, Chinese herbs, and other modalities of traditional Chinese medicine, more people began exploring the method’s usefulness for themselves. This exploration began in Chinese immigrant communities—and some NYC residents continue to believe that NYC’s Chinatown is the best place to go to for Chinese medicine—but then it spread wider and developed further (Wu, 2013; Chang, 2004).
Chinese Medicine as Alternative and Complementary Medicine in NYC
While logic dictates that the best traditional Chinese medicine practitioners can be found in Chinatown, this is not always true. If you are looking for a knowledgeable herbalist, then a specialist in Chinatown may be the best, but with acupuncture experts the situation is different. Most Chinese herbs are considered to be food supplements and are not as strictly regulated as using needles on people’s bodies. To become licensed in acupuncture in New York State, which also oversees the medical professions’ licenses in NYC, the practitioner needs to have graduate-school level credentials, and true acupuncture experts from China usually don’t have them. Those Chinese practitioners who become licensed are typically Chinese-trained medical doctors. At the same time, American-trained acupuncturists are taught by specialists from different countries, including China, and often are very skilled and knowledgeable—mostly because nobody goes to acupuncture because of money or prestige; they go to acupuncture school because they want to learn acupuncture, which is their profession as well as passion. Also, NYS-licensed acupuncturists need to take continuing education courses to improve their skills and knowledge as long as their practice Chinese medicine.
- Chang, I. (2004). The Chinese in America: A narrative history. Penguin.
- Chen, J. (2019). The Chinese of America. Plunkett Lake Press.
- Wu, E. S. (2013). Traditional Chinese medicine in the United States: In search of spiritual meaning and ultimate health. Lexington Books.