Traditional Chinese medicine was essentially invented in the 50s by Chairman Mao because the implementation of a real healthcare system was too costly. He didn't believe in it, but used it politically, in order to prevent demand for actual (ie - western style) healthcare from resulting in civil unrest. It also found use internationally as pro-chinese propaganda.
“Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine,” Mao told him, “I personally do not believe in it. I don’t take Chinese medicine.”
The target audience of this propagandized medical reform wasn’t just domestic. Thanks to Westerners’ starry-eyed romanticization of the mysterious Orient, Chinese medicine stood to improve international relations….
But exporting Chinese medicine presented a formidable task, not least because there was no such thing as “Chinese medicine.” For thousands of years, healing practices in China had been highly idiosyncratic. Attempts at institutionalizing medical education were largely unsuccessful, and most practitioners drew at will on a mixture of demonology, astrology, yin-yang five phases theory, classic texts, folk wisdom, and personal experience…
Mao knew such medicine would be unappealing to empirically minded Westerners. He knew this because it was also unappealing to empirically minded Chinese people.https://slate.com/technology/2013/10/traditional-chinese-medicine-origins-mao-invented-it-but-didnt-believe-in-it.html