When it comes to health care, there are two clearly different fields: those that come from the east, and those originating in the west. How these forms of medicine have developed and the current practices are often quite opposed to each other in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions. However, there are an increasing number of practitioners who can see the benefits of each, and attempt to incorporate the best of both ideologies into their practices.
The basis for Chinese medicine and therapy is entirely holistic in nature. TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, is a broad field of treatments based on the natural vital energy that flows through the body. This is called chi, or qi. It is believed that this energy flows through various meridians that are connected to bodily functions.
In addition to the bodily energy flow, TCM also holds that yin and yang are important health concepts. Loosely stated, these are the opposing forces in the body that must be properly balanced for good health. There are also five phases of matter that are associated with the body: wood, water, fire, metal and earth. It is believed that these are all connected to different parts of the body, and that imbalance can lead to various diseases.
On the other hand, western medicine is based on scientific study. It has evolved from some of the ancient studies in Egypt and Greece and continues to change as people learn more about the microscopic level of life. New treatments are found regularly based on scientific data collected in research centers around the globe.
It is of interest to note that for a long time in the western study of medicine that men were the primary focus of study. While there were some conditions that were looked at with women, they were often not taken seriously or were misunderstood by the men who dominated the profession. For example, hysteria was a common diagnosis for many decades when a man was unable to determine what was troubling a woman.
However, Chinese Medicine has a long history of treating health conditions in men and women. In fact, acupuncture has become a popular infertility treatment and other problems that affect women more frequently than men, such as fibromyalgia. The success rate of acupuncture for fertility treatment has even been a topic of many recent news reports.
Western practitioners utilize the scientific method to determine whether or not something is sound. This research has involved many courses of study, including those related to bacteria and other microorganisms.
Mental health issues were often treated separately under the care of Western doctors. Those who were believed insane were often relegated to family care, and then to dramatic asylums where they were experimented upon regularly.
However, in the past century, those methods have changed and fallen more in line with the treatments for other illnesses. Today, Western medicine deals largely with diagnosis and possible pharmaceutical cures.
As studies continue and researchers look into both types of medical treatment, it becomes obvious that each has provided a great deal of information regarding healing. By bringing the two together, some modern practitioners have been paving the way for a global look at health care, whereby the best of each medicine form is used in the care of a single patient.