#129 Chinese Medicine VS Western Medicine 中医VS 西医

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Hello everyone! Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!

Some of our listeners have expressed interest in learning about the differences between Chinese medicine and Western medicine, as well as how Chinese people view these two approaches. When they get sick, do they prefer Chinese medicine or Western medicine? No problem, today we’ll discuss Chinese medicine and Western medicine!

We often refer to Western medicine as modern medicine, while Chinese medicine has a long history. According to legend, around 3,000 years ago, a person named Shen Nong tasted various herbs, studying which ones were toxic and which ones could be used as medicine to treat illnesses. So, what are the differences between Chinese medicine and Western medicine? We can look at them from the aspects of diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis means that the doctor finds out the cause of the patient’s illness. Treatment means that the doctor uses different methods to help the patient recover.

Firstly, Western medicine relies on examinations such as blood tests for diagnosis. Chinese medicine diagnosis, on the other hand, relies on “observation, listening, questioning, and pulse-taking.” Observation means looking at the patient’s face; listening means listening to the patient’s voice; questioning means asking the patient where they feel uncomfortable; and pulse-taking means feeling the patient’s pulse by placing the doctor’s fingers on the patient’s wrist. After diagnosis, how do Western medicine and Chinese medicine treat patients? Western medicine often prescribes pharmaceutical drugs, and sometimes performs surgeries. Chinese medicine also prescribes medicines, but they are typically herbal medicines. Treatments like acupuncture, cupping, and others are also utilized.

In Chinese medicine, Qi (pronounced “chee”) is considered very important. Qi is like the energy within every person’s body. Chinese medicine believes that eating healthy foods and exercising will improve one’s Qi, leading to better health. Chinese medicine also suggests that consuming cold foods and drinks can negatively affect one’s Qi, so many Chinese people prefer to consume warm foods and hot water.

Throughout China’s history, Chinese people have always believed in the efficacy of Chinese medicine. However, in the 20th century, with the introduction of Western medicine, many started to consider Chinese medicine as unscientific. In 1950, Chinese medicine began to adopt some methods from Western medicine and underwent some reforms. Nowadays, in China, some people still view Chinese medicine skeptically, but many others continue to believe in its effectiveness because it has been used for thousands of years to treat illnesses.

What do you think? Do you find Chinese medicine useful? Do you believe in Chinese medicine or Western medicine? Feel free to share your thoughts with us!

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