Different cultures have varying perceptions about diseases. Most Western cultures would consider disease as a natural phenomenon that normally occurs when the body is exposed to extreme heat, wet and cold. However, some cultures perceive that diseases occur due to bad luck and that human beings have minimal control over their health.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), also called as oriental medicine, is an ancient method of healing that has been around for thousands of years but continues to be of use worldwide. In fact, more and more people are taking advantage of this traditional method of healing as it does bring satisfactory therapeutic benefits minus the side effects. For thousands of years, this medical system has been used to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. It primarily aims to restore balance and harmony in the body to promote health and fitness.
Chinese has a different and complex explanation on how diseases occur. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, diseases occur as a result of disharmony which may be triggered by some external and internal factors. It happens when the organs responsible for digestion, regulating aging and breathing are not in tune with the outside forces.
The allopathic anatomy system of a human body is actually comprised of 10 distinct systems that come with their own set of functions. Allopathic medicine is conventional healing practice that is designed to counteract the effects which diseases bring about. According to Wikipedia, this conventional medicine practice makes use of physical interventions or pharmacologically active agents to alleviate the symptoms or treat diseases.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is less concerned with anatomical structures and systems. Instead, it focuses on identifying and examining different factors that play important roles in the process of breathing, aging and digestion. It is a holistic method of healing which is based on the concept of balance and harmony. TCM also helps in stimulating the body’s natural curative powers in order to treat and prevent diseases.
In TCM, the body is said to contain Qi or life energy which flows along the meridians of the body. When the flow of energy or qi is blocked or weakened, health diseases begin to transpire. Basically, the occurrence of health illnesses is mainly triggered by a blockage in the flow of life energy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to find treatment to the underlying causes of diseases. TCM practitioners will use distinct diagnostic methods to determine some patterns which cause disharmony. Once the underlying causes of harmony are identified, the TCM practitioner will recommend the best TCM methods which are capable of restoring balance in the body such as massage, herbs and acupuncture.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the human body is viewed as an organic whole. According to TCM, the organs of the body are divided into three subtypes, the yin (zang), the yang (fu) and the extraordinary fu organs. These organs are interconnected through the map of collaterals and meridians. According to ancient Chinese medicine, a human body is composed of the yin and yang energies, and five basic elements which include air, water, earth, metal and fire.
In western medicine, the human body is seen as a separate entity which can be affected by seasonal and climate changes but the two are not seen as united just like how Chinese view it. Geography is also seen as a major factor that affects the health condition of a human body. A change in geography usually accompanies a change in climate which can create an impact to the body. Through time, the body will be able to adapt to these changes.
Day and night also create impact to the body. Yang is said to increase externally in the morning and circulates at noon and daytime. When the night comes, the energy becomes internal thereby making people fall into sleep. With this scenario, we can conclude that the yang energy is the active and external while the yin is the nurturing and internal energy.
Aside from the varying concept of diseases between western medicine and TCM, treatment also varies. Normally, patients sharing the same diseases and symptoms are given the same treatments. In TCM, therapists treat the patients, not the health illness. TCM practitioners believe that patients may have the same health condition and similar complaints but the underlying causes of the condition vary. Thus, each patient should receive different treatment therapy depending on his or her needs.