Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was introduced to the West only a few decades ago, and still hasn’t quite gained full acceptance from skeptics all over the world. Chinese Medicine is being practiced for more than 2000 years now, and is based on a holistic approach to overall wellbeing. Traditional Chinese Medicine involves acupuncture, healing with herbs, massage and herbal heat therapy among other practices. There are some fundamental differences between Western Medicine and Chinese Medicine, which we explore here.
Medicine and Chinese Medicine
Practitioners of TCM say that while Western Medicine treats a symptom, Chinese medicine seeks to remove the issue from the root. Remedies to illness are approached in a different way in these practices. Plants are a very important part of TCM, and form the core of remedies. Thousands of years ago, Chinese doctors found the function of every root, and herb found growing in their forests, and till this day, herbs are used to treat illnesses in TCM. This practice of using herbs has always been a point of debate for doctors of Western Medicine like in Malte, who have been skeptical about simply relying on plants to treat diseases. However TCM is widely practiced in China and a few other countries, and it seems to work well for those who opt for it.
Chinese doctors do use a mix of Western and Chinese medicine to treat illnesses. For example, a surgical procedure may be performed in an OT just the way it is in Western Medicine, but the anesthesia may involve the Chinese practices of acupuncture or herbal medication. Food is another aspect that is treated differently in these practices. Chinese Medicine focuses on the quality of food, and not quantity, and gives importance to the energy and properties of each food, i.e. hot or cold, sweet or salty, and how these foods act on our bodies. Food energetics is an integral part of TCM, and each person is treated differently based on his or her constitution.
Both TCM and Western Medicine have their roots in science. Just like there is kinetic and potential energy, the Chinese call these yin and yang. TCM does not offer a common treatment to anyone who reports a particular illness, but instead treats each one individually and holistically. Chinese medicine is known to work slowly as opposed to Western Medicine where the symptoms disappear much sooner. TCM and Western Medicine each have their pros and cons, and there will always be skeptics. When used to complement each other, one can benefit from both these practices.