One of the most complex systems of medicines in the world, Chinese medicine has been bolstered by thousands of years of research and experience. Its singular distinctiveness that sets it apart from Western medicine is its focus on “health” instead of “healing.” This is due to the fact that Chinese medicine encourages the individual’s overall wellbeing, as opposed to the Western medicine style of addressing the symptoms of a disease. In fact, a doctor in ancient China would not be paid for healing a patient who had taken ill, since his main responsibility was to maintain the health of his patients. Chinese medicine is essentially, a “heal-all” style of medicine, while Western medicine is a “cure-all” type of medicine.
One other key difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine is that the latter focuses on herbs and plants as cures. Plants are very important to life and almost all the food you consume is actually derived from plants and animals that consume plants. Correspondingly, the Chinese see plants as essential for boosting health. The number of plants used as medicines in Chinese medicine, is way more than the number of plants used for food. There is not much difference between a medicine and a food in Chinese medicine. Even as far back as 2,500 B.C., the Chinese assumed that on earth, every single plant has its own specific purposes in the health of a person. Because of this, Chinese healers have been constantly on the lookout for a cure in any plant or herb.
During the past decades and immediately after China’s opening to the Western world, little was known of TCM or traditional Chinese medicine to the Western medical community. Western scientists and doctors were at first skeptical of the efficacy of Chinese medicine, which is grounded on herbal remedies and cures. This did not come as a surprise since Western medical science during the start of the 20th century, had relegated Chinese medicine and even traditional Western plant formulas as folk medicine – potions and elixirs only grandmothers use and ignored and belittled by trained medical physicians. When the pharmaceutical industry began to grow, Western researchers started to almost exclusively focus on chemical medications to address various illnesses with different symptoms. Cancer in humans is a case in point. Cancer was relatively unknown in the beginning of the 20th century; however, cases of this disease began to rise exponentially which led to a rise in medical research promoted by the pharmaceutical industry, which by then, turned into a billion-dollar industry. Research was aimed at assessing the efficacy of these chemical medications. Provided that Western medicine was designed to treat symptoms instead of eliminating the underlying reasons of an illness, and that chemical medications more often than not, produce a lot of negative side effects, more and more new chemical medications have to be manufactured to resolve those symptoms.
Until just some years ago, after several years of concern at the extensive after effects of pharmaceutical medications, there has been a growing interest in the use of medicinal foods and Chinese herbal medicine. These herbs/plants include licorice, feverfew, garlic, and aloes, to mention a few.
One other huge difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine is that the latter usually incorporates Western medicine into the medical system. In hospitals in Beijing, for instance, a medical physician may perform surgery in the Western style of surgery using modern day equipment; the anesthetist may utilize herbal preparations and acupuncture for preoperative and postoperative care. For over four thousand years, the Chinese have been using the best forms of medicine to augment the benefits of Western medicine. Outcomes show that TCM works despite the fact it may not always adapt to the current scientific theories of the West.
In Hong Kong and in Okinawa, Japan, the Okinawa Centenarian Study released a report showing the top three areas of the world in life expectancy. They all share one thing in common and that is the integration of both Western and Eastern healing approaches in their systems of health care. The use of herbal or natural tonics in these populations is significantly higher than in North America.
Avail yourself of the best of both Western and Chinese medicine in Linwood so that they can complement each other in order to provide you with the best of health helping you become healthier and younger for a long time. For better health, keep an inquisitive and open mind.