Traditional Chinese Medicine Vs. West Medicine
The core difference between western and Chinese Medicine lies in their conceptualisation of the human body. One concept is not better than the other; instead, the two offer different perspectives, each with its own validity and limitations. Western medicine approaches the human body from an anatomic and biochemical standpoint. It regards us as physical and biochemical beings made of many parts that can be dissected into tiny, independent components, and all internal changes can be expressed by biochemistry equation. Chinese Medicine approaches the human body from an energetic and functional standpoint. It regards us as living organisms made of energetic, physical, emotional and spiritual parts that are intimately related.
In the last hundred years, we have all benefited immensely from advances in western medicine. It has produced numerous
unimaginable “miracles” such as , organ transplants, in-vitro fertilization, bio-engineered medicine and the mapping of human genes.
However, with all due respect, western medicine is still based on a very simplistic and childish assumption that if you can't touch it, see it under a microscope or conceive of it in chemical equations then it doesn't really exist. Or Does it?
Currently, there is a great deal of research being done on the effects of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and Qi Gong. We regarded these researches with mixed feelings. In one hand, it does some good to promote the Chinese Medicine; on the other hand, it is often frustrating to see that much of these researches present only partial or false results - they only measures the body's reaction to the Chinese Medicine from the western materialistic perspective. Not surprisingly, many of the research results are not acceptable and explainable from western medicine’s perspective, and these results, however obvious and concrete are written off as the placebo effect. Can anyone learn a foreign language without trying to learn its grammar? That is what essentially happening in the field of research for Chinese Medicine.
Because of its limited perspective, western medicine lacks an understanding and effective treatment for complicated, stress-related medical problems such as, insomnia, immune deficiency, allergies, musculoskeletal pain and depression. Problems such as these have responded well to Chinese Medicine’s balanced approach to body, mind and spirit. As a rule of thumb, the greatest strength of Western Medicine is in its trauma care and therapies for acute problems, while Chinese Medicine excels in the areas of chronic and preventive medicine.
With proper application, patients in the west can truly benefit from both schools of medicine, especially in the hands of practitioners, such as Aina Zhang, who have studied and practised both Chinese and western medicine. This is one of the reasons that most of the major US hospitals now have Chinese Medicine practitioner on staff. There is a book called “East-West Healing”, written by M.D. May Loo and Jack Maguire, which offers interesting views on combining Chinese Medicine with western medicine.