Traditional Chinese medicine, also referred to as TCM, is the broad chunk of what’s considered Eastern medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine dates back 2500 years and it is based on the philosophy of Taoism, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage (Tui na), exercise (qigong), and dietary therapy.
In China, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine(WM) have coexisted for over than 200 years. Both types of medication are licensed as patent medicine and are widely available at pharmacies, hospitals and other outlet.
WM “is closely linked to the scientific method and emphasizes empirically measurable biochemical processes that drive disease, its treatment and health,” they write, adding that this form of treatment “views all medical phenomena as cause-effect sequences” and relies on drugs, radiation and surgery to alleviate symptoms and cure disease.
On the other hand, TCM favors a holistic approach, views the universe and body philosophically and develops inductive tools and methods … to guide restoring the total balance of the body. It is based on the Qi, the Yin and Yang. The Qi is the vital energy that pervades the body. The forces of Yin (negative energy) and Yang (positive energy) are balanced but when that balance becomes altered so is the Qi and an individual becomes sick. According to TCM teaching, one’s organs are part of a system called Zang Fu. Zang organs manufacture and store while Fu organs transmit and digest. The imbalance between Zang and Fu then makes the individual sick
What makes Traditional Chinese Medicine so different than Western is that instead of prescribing a “one size fits all” for all patients with certain symptoms, TCM looks at the needs of each individual and unique body and acts accordingly. In essence, it’s a short-term versus long-term action plan.
Chinese consumers tend to prefer TCM but will opt for Western medicine in particular situations, such as when they are hoping to quickly alleviate their symptoms or when they are certain about what is making them sick.
There is still a lot to be done to align the science and balance of TCM with Western Medicine. With increased collaboration, there is potential for great benefit.
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