The comparison of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine and the combination of them on modern medical treatment

In the ancient times, people thought that illnesses were caused by the evils and believed in Shamanism and divination. Gradually people knew that illnesses were caused by bacteria and a science called medicine started to develop. Early records on medicine can be found in ancient Greece, ancient China and ancient Egypt. As times goes by, Chinese medicine and western medicine become the two most important medical systems in the world. Countries in the Orient are deeply influenced by Chinese medicine while western medicine is predominant in the West. The two kinds of medical care differ greatly in diagnosis and treatment of diseases. However, there is a trend that Chinese medicine and western medicine may be applied together on modern treatment. Although western medicine is the mainstream in the world, the importance of traditional Chinese medicine grows as people start to notice some special curative effects of traditional Chinese treatment. Chinese treatment like acupuncture starts to be applied in the western world.


Western medicine believes that bacteria and viruses are the sources of illnesses. This is a fact that is beyond controversy. Nevertheless, traditional Chinese physicians believe that the symptoms of diseases are due to the unbalanced relationship between the organs. In other words , they think that the balanced relationship is disrupted by the outer environment. Traditional Chinese physicians call it the disruption of yin and yang .Yin are the feminine qualities while Yang are the masculine qualities. Actually, both the westerners and Chinese think that some organisms in the outer environment cause diseases. However, westerners are eager to find the identities of the organisms that cause diseases while Chinese are only keen on studying intensively about how to use herbs to treat diseases.


Traditional Chinese physicians will give specific herbs to their patients to help them regain the balance of Yin and Yang according to the different symptoms of the patients, while western doctors give pills or specific drugs. The effect of Chinese herbs and western drugs are similar because the chemical substances in herbs and drugs are more or less the same. Chinese just use the herbs collected from nature directly without fine extraction. Westerners use their technology to extract the essence from the herbs to make drugs .


Besides asking for the symptoms of the patients, Western doctors often use scientific ways such as blood test, urine test or X-ray to diagnose various diseases which their patients get. These kinds of diagnosis are accurate but sometimes they may be time-consuming. For example, it takes times for the result of a blood test to come out. Traditional Chinese physicians have a special but also accurate way of diagnosis. This kind of diagnosis may seems simple and unscientific but history has proved that traditional Chinese diagnosis is useful and practical. There are four steps in the diagnosis. The first step is visual observation. Traditional Chinese physicians will observe the complexions of the patients as well as the coatings on the tongues. Chinese physicians believe that the color of the face of a person can reflect his/her health condition. Everyone agrees that a sick man won't have a florid complexion. Normally every healthy person has a thin and white layer of coating on his/her tongue. The thickness and color of the coating depends on the health conditions of the person. By observing the appearance of the coating, traditional physicians can have an elementary understanding of the conditions of the patients. The second step is auditory and olfactory observation. By observing the tone of speaking of the patient as well as his/her way of breathing and the odor of his/her mouth, physicians can determine the nature of the disease. The third step is to ask for the symptoms suffered by the patients. The fourth step which is also the last and mystical step is called pulse diagnosis. Thousands of years ago, Chinese have noticed that the pulse of a person was closely related to his/her health. Ancient Chinese physicians recorded the traits of the pulses of different diseases and gradually found that pulse was like a language of the body. If you can read these messages , you can understand the health conditions of the body. Traditional Chinese physicians will put their fingertips on the wrist of the patient and sense his/her pulse. This kind of diagnosis seems unscientific since scientists still cannot explain the principle behind it up to now ,but it is no doubt mysteriously accurate. However, pulse diagnosis has a great defect. Pulse diagnosis requires the physicians to have excellent sensitive fingertips as the pulses of various diseases may sense very similar but there are very small differences. Moreover , pulse diagnosis is difficult to learn and only a few physicians can master it. As we see, we may notice that the ways of diagnosis of Chinese and western vary greatly. Western doctors mainly use scientific facts and methods for diagnosis while Chinese physicians focus on the changes in the body conditions for diagnosis.


After diagnosis, doctors and physicians will give drugs or herbs to patients to treat their diseases. Western medicine relies on specific remedy or antibiotics to kill all the bacteria or viruses in a short period of time. Western treatment is fast as well as very efficient. Chinese medicine relies on herbs to help patients to regain the balance between yin and yang and recuperate. The herbs used are mainly from nature. When compared with the efficiency of western medicine, the effect of traditional Chinese treatment is rather slow but Chinese treatment is also effective. In fact, many western drugs such as Tamiflu are the extracted and purified essence of Chinese herbs. Western pharmaceutical factories turn the essence of the herbs in the form of pills to supply to patients while the Chinese just directly decoct the herbs. Although the efficiency of western drugs is fast , the drugs often lead to more side effects than Chinese herbs.


Western medicine often relies on high-tech machines and apparatuses. The application of surgery ,radiotherapy, electrotherapy is very common in western medical system. These kind of therapies are practical and efficient. However, they will also bring larger side-effects and sequelae to patients. Ancient Chinese physicians also performed operations but they did them only when other treatments were not useful. Instead, traditional Chinese physicians mainly use another kind of treatment called acupuncture. Acupuncture is a special treatment that involves inserting needles into different acupuncture points of the body. Chinese find that there are 365 acupuncture points in the body that are corresponding to different part of the body. By inserting needles into specific points, the circulation of the corresponding body part will be enhanced and thus the balance of yin and yang is restored. Acupuncture is a fast and efficient method but the true scientific principle of it still remains a mystery.


Meanwhile, both western and traditional Chinese medicine have the application of physiotherapy. Western doctors apply physiotherapy to help patients to restore their moving and functional ability of certain body parts. Western physiotherapists use different apparatuses to help patients regain their lost abilities while the methods of traditional Chinese physicians are mainly manipulative. In the east , you can also find some specific physicians such as chiropractors and doctors of osteopathy who help patients to cure their bone and muscle injuries. Massage and tui na are two examples of physical therapies that are practiced by traditional Chinese physicians. Both of them are some manipulative methods to promote relaxation of different body parts and enhance blood circulation. They are usually used together with acupuncture as they help stimulate the acupuncture points.


As traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine have differences in the theories and principles, Chinese physicians and western doctors may have different kinds of treatments on various diseases. Each of them has different advantages when treating with different diseases. For example, western treatment gives better effects when treating with acute diseases, infectious diseases and internal diseases while traditional Chinese treatment has better effects when treating with chronic diseases, senile diseases , immune disorders. Thus we may consider applying both treatments to cure different diseases. Many cancer patients become very weak due to the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. By taking traditional Chinese herbs, they can convalesce at a faster rate and their survival rate can be increased. Traditional Chinese medicine is gradually considered as a kind of alternative medicine in the west. Many cases have shown that the effect of the combined treatment is tremendous. Moreover, as people start to notice the magical curative effects of Chinese herbs, the application of Chinese herbs is becoming more extensive. Western druggists try to extract the essence in Chinese herbs to produce more new drugs. Western scientists are interested to know more about the miraculous traditional Chinese treatments like acupuncture . As they know more about traditional Chinese medicine ,they try to accept some of the principles of Chinese medicine .They have already applied some of them like acupuncture to treat several diseases. In the foreseeable future, the combined treatment of traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine will bring more hopes to patients who suffer from various incurable diseases.