One of the oldest and yet most sophisticated medical systems in the world is Chinese medicine. Through the thousands of years of research and experience has this system been immensely enhanced. Its most distinct difference to Western medicine is that Chinese medicine focuses on “health” rather than on “healing.” This is because Chinese medicine enhances the general wellness of person, compared to Western medicine’s approach that merely treats the symptoms of an illness instead of treating the cause of the symptoms. The fact is, in ancient China, a Chinese medicine practitioner would not be financially compensated for treating a sick patient because it was the practitioner’s main responsibility to prevent his patient from falling ill. Chinese medicine is basically a “heal all” system while Western medicine, a “cure all.”
One other big different between Western medicine and Chinese medicine is that in Chinese medicine the use of plants as remedies is very much emphasized. Plants are essential to life and most, if not all of what you eat are plants since animals that eat plants are eaten by other meat eating animals. The Chinese rightly believe that plants boost health. The number of plants used in Chinese medicine is much more numerous than the number of plants for food. For the ancient Chinese, there is very little difference between a medicine and a food. Each plant existing on earth has its own specific use and function in the health of a person. The Chinese already knew this, thousands of years before the birth of Christ. It is for this reason that Chinese medicine practitioners have been constantly searching for new plants that have specific health benefits.
When China opened its doors to the Western world, there were very few in the West who could understand traditional Chinese medicine. Western scientists and doctors were at first skeptical of the potency of Chinese medicine, that largely was based on herbal remedies and cures. This was understandable since during the start of the 20th century, Western medical science even considered their own Western plant concoctions made by grandmothers, as folklore medicine, that any so-called respectable doctor will not be caught using. When the pharmaceutical industry took off, Western researchers started to almost exclusively focus on synthetic medicines to treat different symptoms from different diseases. Cancer is one fine example. Cancer, in the start of the 20th century, was quite unknown, but as this disease began to increase exponentially, more studies were then undertaken to know more about this condition. The now very huge pharmaceutical industry manufactured chemical drugs whose efficacy clinical studies need to validate. Unfortunately, each of the drugs made by this industry have adverse side effects that create more health issues whilst merely addressing the symptoms of the illness it was created to treat.
There is now a trend of studying and using Chinese medicinal foods and herbal remedies for the treatment of diseases since more and more people are staying away from drugs because they do not want to experience their side effects. A few of the most popular medicinal Chinese herbs are licorice, feverfew, garlic, and aloes.
One other big difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine is that Chinese medicine actually often includes Western medicine into its system. In Beijing hospitals, for example, a physician may perform a Western style surgery using state-of-the-art equipment, while the anesthetist may use herbal formulas and acupuncture for pre-surgical operative and post-surgical treatments in Miami. This is a perfect example of how best to integrate these two medical systems together. Studies have shown that traditional Chinese medicine is effective even though it may not always adhere to the theories of current Western medical science.
Always have an inquisitive and open mind since together Western and Chinese medicine can be the most effective approach for a lot of health conditions in which Western medicine or Chinese medicine alone is inadequate to resolve.