Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the New Trend in Japan Print E-mail
By Yao Jian Jiang (Published in the June 11th 2006 issue of Asia Weekly)
Translated by ITN Translation Agency www.itn2u.com

It is the task of the medical professionals to unveil the mask of cancer, and the wish of the cancer patients and their families for the former to recover and start a new life. Following the trend of globalisation, America has begun to adopt complementary medicine, combining western and Chinese medical practices into one, and this has sparked off a similar trend in Japan.

Cancer is the No.1 killer in Japan. One out of three deaths is due to cancer. But according to some data, death rates due to cancer in developed countries such as America, Canada, Australia etc have started to decline since the nineties in the 20th century, and in Japan it is starting to stabilise too. Dr. Obitsu Ryoichi, the Honorary Chairman of Obitsu Sankei Hospital cum the President of “Humanistic Comprehensive Medicine Association”, remarked that lately the Japanese medical world has begun to acknowledge the efficacy of complementary medicine in cancer treatment. More doctors have begun to take this revolutionary form of medicine seriously, and perhaps that is the main reason why cancer death rate in Japan was stabilising.

Dr. Obitsu graduated from Tokyo University as a medical practitioner. He set up the Obitsu Sankei Clinic and a hospital with the same name. He is regarded as the pioneer of comprehensive medicine for cancer treatment in Japan. Not only is he an experienced doctor, he is also very well-versed with folk medicine. Dr. Obitsu’s comprehensive medicine refers to a special branch of medical practice that ‘integrates the diagnostic measures of western medicine with holistic Chinese medicine that emphasizes on physical, spiritual and immunological health. In a nutshell, he has combined the strengths of both types of medicine and enjoys the best of both worlds.

On the door of Obitsu Sankei Hospital situated in Saitama Prefecture is this signboard that says ‘Tumour Research Centre—Western & Chinese medicine combined”, stating unequivocally of its integrated approach for cancer patients. On the wall is another board that reads “Hope is in the heart, and life is under the feet”, a motto that reflects Dr. Obitsu’s holistic and integrated treatment regime, whereby the physiology, the mind and the soul (spirit) of the patients are treated as a whole.

His treatment philosophy involves the combination of western and Chinese medicine to provide holistic cancer care. His treatment for cancer patients may differ due to their individual genetic makeup and specific medical history. Dr. Obitsu said, “Chinese medicine and complementary medicine have not been given their rightful place due to domination by western medicine. But the tide has turned. People are starting to recognize the limitations of western medicine, and that cancer just cannot be cured by surgery alone.”

Besides giving western medical treatment, Dr. Obitsu also renders various complementary medicines such as counselling, psychological treatment, meditation and his own innovative ways to his cancer patients. He uses Chinese medicine, acupuncture, medical diets and ayurveda (Indian medicine) too. Dr. Obitsu explained that there was this special homeopathy in Europe that treated patients with music and art, coupled with a healthy diet. He stressed that each and every patient would need different sets of treatment in accordance with their individual conditions.

When he sees a new patient, he would talk to him to understand his conditions. Then he would determine the set of treatment together with him, from simple antineoplastic strategies to whatever the patient must know, until the best set of treatment is finalised. That is his unique way of treating cancer.

Patients queue up every morning outside his clinic to pour their hearts out and discuss new treatment regime. Dr. Obitsu opined that a cancer patient had to be feeling down and out, so it was very important to mend their psychology so that they would be more cheerful and lead a new life.

Then the good doctor would introduce various treatments to his patients to boost their confidence. Dr. Obitsu is very particular about a patient’s diet since Japanese studies have indicated that cancer is related to unhealthy diets. He theorizes that we capture cosmic energy through our food. He emphasizes on vegetarian diet, with a little meat thrown in occasionally. “When you eat vegetables all the time, a little meat will perk you up. Besides providing nourishment, occasional meat eating will keep the patient excited, and that is the main aim of the therapy.” He doesn’t object to his patients drinking wine occasionally since it is a good way to keep the body warm and to stimulate the lymphocytes. Cancer patients are not supposed to drink, but Dr. Obitsu feels that a little wine sometimes gives a pleasant surprise and will enthrall them. Enamored with Chinese medicine, Dr. Obitsu has 15 sets of ‘qi gong’ for his patients to choose from. He even has different treatment regimes derived from Chinese medicine. He wants to improve the patients’ inherent ability to fight cancer. He revealed that his comprehensive medicine was more like the art of health preservation than cancer treatment per se. “With good rudiments, the patient may not need surgery or chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Even if they need them, when they are strong in health preservation, the side effects of these invasive treatments will be very much reduced.”

Dr. Obitsu uses homeopathy too. He said this treatment method is more popular in Europe, whereby some mildly poisonous herbs are made into pills and given sublingually to cancer patients. It works on the ‘one-poison-against-another-poison’ principle to treat cancer. Dr. Obitsu pays careful attention to 2 major principles in his comprehensive medicine. The first principle involves treating a problem with herbs that would invoke the same problem. For example, he gives patients some herbs that would induce a fever to treat fever. He said, “A person has a fever because there is a foreign invader, and the body increases the body temperature to fight it, so I add a fever stimulant. This is killing a poison with another poison.” The second principle involves treating likes with likes at the lowest possible dose. Dr. Obitsu cited the example of treating hay fever with onions, a proven antidote for the former. “The same principles apply in cancer treatment. I treat my patients using these 2 major principles, and they have complemented my comprehensive medicine pretty well.”

Dr. Obitsu is the first doctor to treat patients with TXL in Japan. More than a decade ago, Prof. Li De Hua of Tianjin University Hospital visited Dr. Obitsu and talked about cancer treatment. He introduced TXL to Dr. Obitsu during the discussion. Dr. Li had previously paid a visit to Prof. Wang Zhen Guo, after he had read about the Tian Xian pill, the precursor of TXL, in the book “Revolutionary Cancer Treatment”. Tian Xian pills, being more potent, tended to cause stomach pain, so Dr. Li suggested changing the formulation to come up with a liquid form instead. Then 2 years later, TXL was born through collaboration with China-Japan Feida Union Co. Ltd. Dr. Obitsu thus incorporated TXL into his comprehensive medicine. His unique Japanese comprehensive medicine has become a significant complement to western cancer treatment.

In 2003 the Hokkaido Medical Research Institute of Japan, appointed by a Japanese pharmaceutical conglomerate, began to investigate TXL with animal toxicology studies. The Institute Director Dr. Morita Yamasaki stressed that, as an authority in product testing, his Institute had been testing 300 over products and getting grade A certification from the Ministry of Health annually. Dr. Morita, an expert in pharmacology, stated that in their comparison studies involving rats inoculated with cancer cells, whereby one group was given TXL while the other just plain water, it was found that the former group exhibited significant tumour-suppressing effect. “The tumour-suppressing effect was about 80%.”

In Japan, TXL is classified primarily as a health food supplement. Dr. Obitsu has no objection in his patients taking health supplements. Coupled with other treatment methods, health supplements may prove to be more effective in some cancer patients. However, he stressed that a good health supplement or medicine needs a good doctor and hospital as its prescriber and counsellor, and that constitutes proper holistic medicine.

Under the able leadership of Dr. Obitsu Ryoichi for over 20 years, the Japan Comprehensive Medicine Association currently has 2200 members. Dr. Obitsu stated that besides the patients themselves, more young doctors were increasingly inclined towards comprehensive medicine. “The Chinese herb market is expanding in Japan.” He said.


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