A comparison of Eastern and Western Medicine leaves experts befuddled.
Eastern or Chinese medicine techniques have been proven to be effective yet Western medicine cannot explain why they are effective.
A new paper suggests the holistic concept of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may explain the difference.
RLin Shi from Beijing Normal University and Chenguang Zhang from Southwest Minzu University in China explain that TCM is profoundly influenced by Chinese philosophy and religion.
This foundation of spirituality, religion, and philosophy, makes TCM quite different from Western medicine which is based on biomedical and cellular models of how the body works.
The different philosophies lead many in the Western world to view TCM as mysterious and magical.
TCM must be viewed from a historical setting as the skill is an ancient discipline with a long developmental history.
Shi and Zhang’s paper examines six aspects of traditional Chinese medicine: its history; its fundamental beliefs; spirituality in traditional Chinese healing rituals; spirituality in the traditional Chinese pharmacy; spirituality in health maintenance theories; and spirituality of master doctors of traditional Chinese medicine.
The investigators show that among other things, the underlying premise of Chinese medicine is that the mind and body of a person are inseparable.
To be in good health, a person must have good spirit and pay attention to cultivating their spirit. Chinese doctors see “people” not “diseases” and equate “curing diseases” with “curing people.”
The study is published online in Springer’s journal Pastoral Psychology, in a special issue dedicated to the psychology of religion in China.
According to the authors, TCM emphasizes prevention and spirituality, “Good health and longevity are what we pursue. TCM pays attention to physical pains, and at the same time is also concerned with spiritual suffering.
“Therefore, TCM can teach people to be indifferent towards having or not having, to exist with few desires and feel at ease, to keep the body healthy and the mind quiet, and to achieve harmony between the body and the mind and then to achieve harmony with the world and nature.”