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Differences and Similarities Between Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine

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Differences and similarities between traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine
Chinese traditional medicine has been practiced for around 5,000 years. Western medicine (at least the modern kind that is not based on shamans) is considerably younger, but since its inception, there has been a debate about the relative effectiveness of Western versus Chinese medicine (which in the U.S. is usually referred to as Oriental medicine).
Chinese medicine is based on natural plants and herbs for the most part, and is keyed on establishing the vital energy of the body or Qi (pronounced 'chi'), as compared to western medicine which focuses on control or elimination of symptoms. From a philosophical viewpoint the two schools are poles apart.
The differences begin with their main philosophies of health. Chinese medicine, as previously stated, thinks of Qi as life and that life and medicine are one. Western medicine believes that humans can control nature, and has its focus on external causes of maladies. In Chinese medicine, health is a state of well-being where the body is in balance with and adaptive to the environment. Western doctors consider health to be the absence of disease, pain or defect. To the Chinese practitioner, disease is caused by an imbalance of the vital force of the body and stems from multiple causes, while westerners think of it as a difect of tissue or structure of the organism with a single cause. Symptoms, in the Asian view are messages from the body about its state of balance or vitality and should be listened to carefully. To the western doctor, symptoms are signs of the disease or defect and should be reduced or eliminated.
There has been some crossover during the past decades. Many Chinese and other Asians now seek western treatment for illness, and some Chinese medical practices and herbs are accepted in the West. The debate over...

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