TCM practices, such as acupuncture and moxibustion, have become increasingly popular in the West.
Basketball star Yao Ming's injury dramas have helped shine the spotlight on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), an ancient practice used by more and more people around the globe. Yao says he will use TCM as well as Western medicine to help his recovery in the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics. He is desperate to be fit for the biggest tournament of his life.
According to the President of the United Family Hospitals and Clinics, Anne Marie Moncure, the combination of Eastern and Western medical techniques is the best option for resuscitating Yao Ming's stress fracture.
"He should, first of all, re-build the body and ensure that the injury doesn't happen again, and then if he has to repair an injury I would say maybe that's where Western medicine comes in," Moncure says, drawing on her 35 years of medical experience.
While it's not her professional diagnosis, Moncure is certain that combining the two is the best option. "I wouldn't choose one over the other; if I were him I would incorporate both," the 52-year-old New Yorker says.
Fusing Western medical practices, which focus more on treating short-term injuries through medication, and TCM practices, which are all about building strength and developing a balance in the body, is what Moncure views as the best way to treat almost any injury.
"I call it integrative medicine, where you take the best of both worlds," she says.
Moncure began her medical career working alongside one of the most prominent doctors of her time, Denton Cooley. Cooley is known for his leading-edge medical techniques after he became the first man in the United States to successfully complete a heart transplant in 1968.