Traditional Chinese Medicine vs Western Medicine

Topics: Medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Alternative medicine Pages: 14 (3627 words) Published: February 23, 2014
The Right Medicine – 对症下药

Having chosen the particular subject of Medicine for our research article, we picked up “The Right Medicine” as our article topic. With the modern advances of science, we, young adults, often ask ourselves who should we follow, scientific reason or traditional remedies?

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and are based on a tradition of more than 2,000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (推拿), exercise (气功) and dietary therapy. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an empirical medicine and was developed in the old days in the absence of systemic scientific knowledge. Thus, it is a product of the accumulated clinical observations gathered over centuries of practice.

Traditional Chinese medicine is based on Yingyangism ( the combination of Five Phases theory with Yin-Yang Theory).Yin and yang are ancient Chinese concepts which can be traced back to the Shang dynasty (1600–1100 BC). They represent two abstract and complementary aspects that every phenomenon in the universe can be divided into. Primordial analogies for these aspects are the sun-facing (yang) and the shady (yin) side of a hill. Two other commonly used representational allegories of yin and yang are water and fire. In the yin-yang theory, detailed attributions are made regarding the yin or yang character of things:

Celestial Bodies
Degree of humidity

The concept of yin and yang is also applicable to the human body; for example, the upper part of the body and the back are assigned to yang, while the lower part of the body are believed to have the yin character. Yin and yang characterization also extends to the various body functions, and more importantly to disease symptoms for example cold and heat sensations are assumed to be yin and yang symptoms, respectively. Thus, yin and yang of the body are seen as phenomena whose lack or overabundance comes with characteristic symptom combinations: Yin vacuity (also termed "vacuity-heat"): heat sensations, possible night sweats, insomnia, dry pharynx, dry mouth, dark urine, a red tongue with scant fur, and a "fine" and rapid pulse. The Yang vacuity (also termed "vacuity-cold"): aversion to cold, cold limbs, bright white complexion, long voidings of clear urine, diarrhea, pale and enlarged tongue, and a slightly weak, slow and fine pulse.

The Five Phases Theory (五行), sometimes also translated as the "Five Elements" theory, presumes that all phenomena of the universe and nature can be broken down into five elemental qualities – represented by wood (木), fire (火), earth (土), metal (金), and water (水). In this way, lines of correspondence can be drawn:

Corresponding Organ

TCM's view of the body places little emphasis on anatomical structures, but is mainly concerned with the identification of functional entities (which regulate digestion, breathing, aging etc.). While health is perceived as harmonious interaction of these entities and the outside world, disease is interpreted as a disharmony in interaction. TCM diagnosis consists in tracing symptoms to patterns of an underlying disharmony, mainly by palpating the pulse and inspecting the tongue.

Traditional Chinese medicine has been practiced and perfected over thousands of years. Through the use of herbal concoctions, acupuncture, massage and Qigong, most every ailment and condition can be treated. Chinese medicine also focuses on disease prevention and overall health maintenance.

Acupuncture (细针) is one of the most popular forms of TCM. It involves the use of strategically placed needles which...

References: 1.World Health Organization (online 2002) WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2002-2005 [] (accessed 11 December 2006)
2.White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. []
3.National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Five year strategic plan. []
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