are modern medicine and East Asian medicine similar?
both try to take care of people; they both try to help people.
They both use rational ideas - they don't use altered states
of consciousness. They try to assess the situation using cognitive
processes and they try to interpret what the situation is
caused by. Then, they use material intervention - acupuncture
or surgery or drugs. Both believe that the doctor/patient
relationship is very important.
practices acupuncture with success, but is it the needles
or the ritual that helps his patients heal?
are some inherent requirements of Chinese medicine that make
a better doctor/patient relationship. You never want to treat
just the finger or just the toe. You have to treat the person
wherever the complaint resides. At that level, there is automatically
a more integrated doctor/patient relationship. You're required
to know about the person. It's not a conscious emphasis on
the doctor/patient relationship, but it's part of the system
that there's a more holistic approach.
else would you say Chinese medicine is different from Western?
In modern medicine, you measure and isolate something,
give it a precise numerical equivalent, quantify it. And East
Asian medicine looks to the quality of the patient. It's a
more artistic approach.
Modern medicine tries to quantify and privileges causality
based on the smallest piece that you can reduce the question
to. If you can find the germ, or the gene, or the metabolic
chemistry, that's what they look for.
I believe it is never too late. I never did anything
with science until 1999-2000, and I'm on PBS now!
direction of Chinese medicine is the exact opposite.The
emphasis is the context of the complaint. It's more macroscopic.
What kind of patient is this? How does this person behave
in his or her everyday life? In work life? What are their
feelings and their sensibilities and their beliefs? If you
have an eye problem, they ask you about your knees. If you
have a knee problem, they ask you about your digestion. You
can't interpret the knee unless you know how the person gets
angry or doesn't get angry. Or how the person likes certain
types of food, but not others.
To put it a different way, modern medicine is quantitative
and traditional Chinese medicine is qualitative.
medicine was very similar to Chinese medicine, with the four
humors and the four elements, and you balance them. Hippocrates
didn't treat people; he treated the weather condition the
person was in. If the person was bilious, that means that
they were like a hot summer day and they were agitated and
that's the issue that you had to treat no matter where the
complaint was. If someone was phlegmatic, they were cold and
lazy and didn't move around a lot and no matter what the complaint
was - knees, eyes or digestion - you treated that quality.
That's the same as Chinese medicine.
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