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Philosophical Differences Between Western and Chinese Medicine:

Part 1: Western Medicine
Part 2: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Part 3: Modern Chinese Medicine

Liver Disorders
Hepatitis C
Liver Fibrosis
Alcoholic Hepatitis
Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) or Fatty Liver  
Auto-Immune Hepatitis
Cholestatic Hepatitis

Chronic Lyme Disease

IBS/Crohn's Disease


Modern Chinese Medicine and Supportive Therapies for Cancer Patients
Artemisinin and its Derivatives




Philosophical Differences Between Chinese and Western Medicine
(Part 3 - Integration of Chinese and Western Medicine)

The first two parts of this article described the major philosophical differences between Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Below is a short summary of the main differences:

TCM uses the inductive and synthetic method; WM uses the reductive and analytical method. TCM is individualized; WM is standardized. TCM is experience based; WM is evidence based. TCM is a summary of clinical observations; WM is the result of laboratory experimentations. TCM is a healing art; WM is strictly a science. TCM emphasizes the role of the body in healing; WM mainly relies on medication and procedures. TCM uses herbs and natural agents; WM uses pure chemical compounds. TCM looks at the behavior of the system as a whole; WM looks at the structure and function of the parts. TCM works to maintain health; WM manages disease.
In the modern era of science and technique, it is not surprising that WM has become the main system of medicine while TCM became so called alternative or complementary medicine.

The open, large, and complex human body system consists of reducible and non-reducible, linear and non-linear, definite and random, sequential and non-sequential parts. Thus, it is nearly impossible to understand the mechanisms of body by using a purely reductive method. The reductionism of WM distorts the true nature of a complex system, the human body and this is where the behavioral and experience-based method of TCM can provide the means to see the body as a whole system. TCM was developed through thousands of years of "trial and error", and is a result-based black box model. TCM analyzes multiple variables of output from the body (the black box) to define the status of the system (diagnosis). Then, using corrective inputs (treatment herbs) as intervention, the system is brought back into balance based on trial and error. The lack of understanding of the detailed internal mechanisms of the human black box is the shortcoming of the TCM. Thus, it is unable to study the detailed mechanisms of treatments that are effective.

For the past forty years, researchers and doctors in China have been developing an integrative medical system that uses the diagnostic tools of WM to identify the mechanisms of TCM. The chemical make-up and active ingredients of thousands of TCM herbal medications have been clearly identified and studied. In practice, we can now use the anatomical and microbiological knowledge of WM to explain the concepts of TCM. Combined with the diagnostic powers of WM and the phyto-pharmacology of TCM, treatment for infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C can be more individualized and comprehensive. While treating a WM diagnosed infectious disease, the integrative treatment not only deals with the etiological factor to eradicate the pathogenic microbial (WM approach) but also supports the body's immune function (TCM approach). This integrative approach to medical care will be very beneficial to the patients it serves.

The integrative method is the foundation of my protocols for treating viral Hepatitis. In designing herbal protocols for treating Hepatitis C, I utilize the diagnostic tools of WM as a guide for finding the corresponding treatment herbs. Phyto-pharmacology research identifies the active ingredients, which is isolated in the formulas for increased potency relative to using raw herbs in TCM. Blood test panels using WM diagnostics monitor the patient’s treatment progress and the majority of the results have been positive. Although this type of integrative treatment method is only beginning in the United States, I feel it is a step in the right direction. As the need for complementary solutions rise with the incidence of chronic illnesses, integrative medicine will be leading the search for better healthcare.



Copyright  2005 Sinomed Research Institute

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