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Western vs Eastern Medicine

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Arohanui, Jan 1, 2002.

  1. Arohanui

    Arohanui Member
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    Have been in Seoul for 10mths and have been looking at the medical side of things here its quite interesting they treat the person not just the symptoms - do you guys do papers on the differences? or is it not something that is considered too heavily?
     
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  3. Mr. Eastern Medicine

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    You know, treating the "cause" or the "whole person" rather than just the "symptoms" is nothing but BS. Well, Eastern or Alternative medicine, whatever you call it, suppose to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. Therefore, it takes a little more time to heal or cure compare to the western medicine. But this is not true. These eastern practitioners THINK they treat the cause, but trust me, they don't. It's just like those OMT techniques. Those DOs think they are OMT practitioners, but only less 10% of DOs actually practice the OMT techniques.
    So, go figure.
     
  4. mstuart

    mstuart Junior Member

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    I'm a little less cynical regarding the value of eastern medicine. There is definitely a difference between treating "the whole person" versus "the cause". Just looking at time factors, for instance, when I go to my regular allopathic doctor I get a max of 10 minutes of his time. On the other hand, my acupuncturist gives me a minimum of an hour! Psychologically, I think people feel better just having someone take the time to listen to them and as a result, their physical symptoms are lessened. Not to say allopaths aren't valuable. I believe in an integrative approach. The more tools we have to treat someone, the more likely they are to heal.
     
  5. rikkitikki

    rikkitikki Member
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    Interestingly enough I was just speaking to someone today who was talking about IV centers in Korea where people go into clinics with little booths set up sort of like dialysis and get an IV transfusion of nutrients- it sounded more like a one cure fits all and she wasn't sure what the "nutrients" were anyone have ny insight into this?
     
  6. Mr. Eastern Medicine

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    Mstuart, I actually thought about this alot...I mean for a long time. But don't you really think that the REAL reason that the acupuncturist is spending more time with a patient because there are LESS patients in his/her practice?
    I first thought about it just like you, but then the real reason might be that there are more patients in MD clinics, at least in US. There are more patients in oriental medical clinics in Korea or China, but obviously since we are living in a western society, there are more patients in western medical practices.

    In my personal experience, when my family doctor first opened up her practice, she spent about 30 minutes for me, but now, her practice grew so much, I can only spend about 5-10 minutes. There were times that I was actually afraid to ask her questions because she was rushing me.
    What do you think?
     
  7. Arohanui

    Arohanui Member
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    Rikkitikki - my mates have had this done too - usually when they are dehydrated and it brings them up to speed -must say that the korean drugs kicked my cold from hell where it hurts it was great.
     
  8. mstuart

    mstuart Junior Member

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    Mr. Eastern I think you bring up a good point. Certainly, if acupuncturists had more patients and less time, then the quality of care would decline as it has with allopaths. Unfortunately, for many western doctors,there are heavy patient loads and time constraints due to managed care regulations. Alternative medicine practioners may not necessarily face these same issues. So perhaps rather than comparing the quality of care based on the medical discipline (i.e. eastern vs. western), we should be looking at how the amount of time spent with a patient by any practioner will affect a patient's outcome.
    I'd like to say though, putting the issue of time aside, I still think there is obviously merit in the techniques used by eastern doctors. Eastern medicine has been practiced for centuries, there's got to be something worthwhile!
     
  9. johnM

    johnM Senior Member
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    There are a couple of countries in Northern Africa where female genital mutilation (i.e. the removal of the citoris to discourage infidelity) has been practiced for centuries, but that doesn't seem to give the practice merit. :)
     
  10. mstuart

    mstuart Junior Member

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    Obviously there will be numerous examples like the one you just gave. But my point is, is that we shouldn't dismiss something out of ignorance. Western medicine does not hold all of the answers. Neither does eastern medicine. Together however, a lot more possibilities are available. We just have to scrutinize everything with an open mind.
     
  11. Lt. Ub

    Lt. Ub Senior Member
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    One also needs to factor in the $$$ situation on both sides. Americans are shelling out HUGE sums of money for alternative therapies. "Eastern medicine" is making a killing. Of course practitioners are going to spend more time with you if you're willing to spend more money. And, in turn, this has a major effect on the psyche - If I paid for it, it has to be of some merit, otherwise I've wasted my money (and, of course, I never waste my money, because I'm a smart person). That's a big-time effector of the placebo effect.

    It's amazing that America has tens of millions of people without health insurance, and yet those who do have it spend multi-millions on alternative treatments. There are ridiculous things happening in the world.
     
  12. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    I worked with an MD who does accupuncture in his office and I don't think he actually spent that much more time with each patient. He would put the needles in and then leave and see 2-3 other patients while that patient received his treatment. He would then go back and remove the needles. It was a very efficient way to do things and worked well for many of his patients who had gotten relief from no other therapies.
     
  13. Bubbles

    Bubbles Junior Member

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    The difference between Eastern and Western medicine is not the amount of time a healthcare professional spends with patients nor is it the hyped up philosophy on treating the person as a "whole" rather than the symptoms alone.

    The difference is the approach that Eastern medicine takes in treating patients and preventing illnesses compared to the West, such as its techniques and types of medicine prescribed - which might bring on many skeptics who are unfamiliar with it. It is unfair to ignorantly compare a medical practice to the female genital mutilations in Africa or to regard it as some type of fraud out to get patient's money just because it is not widely accepted in the Western health professional community. That is a bit arrogant, you think?

    Eastern medicine is supported by many research and case studies dated way back in the dynasty eras...and is currently still undergoing many studies in the East using advanced technologies to keep up with the ever evolving medical field. Eastern medicine also requires extensive understanding of the human anatomy and functions, diagnosis skills, treatment and prevention care, etc...it's not just some psychological thing. So, the history of practicing and studying Eastern medicine is a science. I see more similarities than differences between the West and the East.

    What the Western society is exposed to, such as acupuncture, is only a very specialized area and a small portion of Eastern medicine. Eastern medicine has a much broader scope to it. I'm sure there are a number Eastern practioners who provide poor quality of care and do not fully cure their patient's illnesses...but I would also say so the same for a number of Western physicians.

    I have to agree with mstuart. It is definately an advantage for healthcare professionals to keep an open mind to the number of ways in treating sick and injured patients. One approach might work while the other might not depending on the circumstances and the patients themselves. We should be happy that there are options for patients to improve their quality of health. Isn't that our ultimate goal?
     
  14. KungFuMaster

    KungFuMaster Member
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    I think Whatever works should be considered good medicine. Sometimes there are minor aches and pain that western medicine couldn't do nothing about. And western medicine almost always insist that it has to do with placebo. Placebo or not, as long as it works, it's good medicine. I think it is much more wise to study scientifically why certain herbs or natural ingredients work than to critize or speculate on why it shouldn't have worked.

    But it is true that there are MANY QUACKS of eastern medicine out there, and it is very disappointing.
     
  15. Mr. Eastern Medicine

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    Wow~ I am just glad that there are more people than I thought in this forum who understand the eastern medicine and have open mind about it.

    Even though I believe in eastern medicine and would like to practice acupuncture, herbal medicine, eastern physical therapy one day, I still think that the western medicine is the first, and then the eastern medicine. If a patient could not get a result or any improvements thru the western medicine, then the patient should definitely go with the eastern medicine.

    And Lt.Ub, what do you mean by $$$? The cost of acupuncture treatment costs less than a half of doctor's office visit. The price range varies from practitioner to practitioner, but it usually costs around $40-$50 per session.
     
  16. Long Hair and a Beard

    Long Hair and a Beard Obsessionist
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    I think it is unfair to say that Western Medicine does not treat the cause of a disease - you take not only paracetamol to treat fever but also chloroquin to kill the malarial parasite.
    The debate should centre more around scientific medicine v/s dogmatic medicine. The Western medicine owes its credibility to direct or indirect proof that has been hard-earned by the scientists of these past three or four centuries. The Eastern schools of medicine may be thousands of years old, but they have been more or less static. I would fain accept to be treated by an eastern practitioner if he wasn't prescribing just what a wise man told thousands of years ago. It's the same question the other way round - how do i know what was good for people 2000 years ago would be good for me now? Has anyone cared or dared to test those tenets?
    And it does feel funny to say that i would like to have needles pierced into my body because i would feel better with the time and attention devoted to me.
     
  17. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
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    For those of you who seem to have a negative or flippant attitude about Eastern modalities, I am curious to know what experiences have brought you to these opinions and what type of medicine you are specifically referring to.
     
  18. Long Hair and a Beard

    Long Hair and a Beard Obsessionist
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  19. Acro Yali

    Acro Yali Senior Member
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    I am biased in that I am in a MD school rather than learning oriental medicine in Asia. But, I have had some exposure to some Asian herbal medications and I can't deny the fact that some of them seem to have merit. One interesting example that I have found is that in a Chinese medicine remedy, it pointed out that liver is the site of carbohydrate metabolism/storage. I found this curious because this "obsveration" was made thousands of years ago without any of the scientific methods of Western medicine today. How did they come up with such a determination? Another fact that is also interesting is the effect of Chinese medications. I was just thinking, if a certain remedy has been practiced and widely accepted to be useful for 5000 years, shouldn't that say something about the effectiveness of the remedy? I mean, we are talking about a 5000 year long clinical trial here.

    I am not saying that Eastern Medicine is better or anything like that. Just pointing out my fascination with some of the ancient Chinese herbal remedies.
     
  20. penelope

    penelope Member
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    Please forgive my ignorance, but I am wondering if there is some kind of national certification program (here in the U.S. I mean) for acupuncture or other Eastern therapies because I am interested in learning. Who should I contact about it?
     
  21. Tim Duncan

    Tim Duncan Member
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  22. Freeeedom!

    Freeeedom! Senior Member
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    Ya know, I think the real statement to ponder should be

    NORTHERN vs SOUTHERN medicine
    ya know, grits vs. brats which works best?
     
  23. Ai

    Ai Senior Member
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    Penelope,

    Yes, there are certification courses in the US. An acupuncturist is required to pass a state board exam in order to be licensed to practice. I am currently studying at a college of Oriental medicine with a focus in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). I decided to learn about it before starting allopathic med school so I could go into med school with a broader perspective, knowing that there are other modalities out there. The program I am in is a 4 year master's program. Once you are an MD, however, you can take an intensive course (I'm not sure how long - 200 hours I think) to learn acupuncture. I am currently in my 4th semester and it is clear that there is no way you could understand Chinese medicine with such an intensive course. I am only just beginning to be able to look at health and the human body from an Eastern perspective. I assume these courses teach acupuncture as we interpret it from a Western point of view. You could, however, take classes at an Oriental medical college to supplement your intensive training.

    I started at this college because I wanted to take a class or two just to broaden my perspective. Admittedly, I kind of thought of it as some kind of "magic" that was interesting, but I didn't take it too seriously. I have been studying full time since then and am absolutely fascinated. This system is extremely complex and insightful. The results I have seen with this medicine leave no doubt in my mind as to how valuable it is. There is nothing mysterious or magical about it. It is based on thousands of years of observation and, once you have spent some time learning it, it is completely logical. I find it amusing that so many people just assume that any success is the result of placebo. I encourage those of you who are interested to educate yourselves about it a little. A good starting book is "The Web That Has No Weaver" by Ted Kaptchuk. He is (or was) on faculty at Harvard Medical School.

    I think it is also important for people to know about the education that practitioners of Chinese medicine get in the US. Not only do they take classes in TCM, acupoints, herbs and chinese bodywork (Tui Na), but they are also quite well educated in western science. At my school the students must take three semesters of anatomy and one each of biology, biochem and physics. They also take two full years of "clinical sciences" which are classes taught by an MD and basically teaches them about diseases and disorders strictly from a Western perspective. The reason for this is that it is understood that they are working in collaboration with Western medical doctors. There is not an anti-Western medicine sentiment at all. It is understood that the two complement each other very well and create a more complete medicine.

    Good luck and feel free to PM me if you have any questions. :)
     
  24. ici_cute

    ici_cute Member
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    I think western medicine is more advance because there are so many research going about that make it a valid proof. While the eastern medicine, it is more of a culture plus study. They usually see what usually happens to a person given some herbs and if the person recovers, then they will continue to practice to others, without much study. Even they have done studies, comparing to the western way, it is much 'out dated' due to lack of technologies. I guess it is great that scientist now are really trying to do research about the herbs that eastern medicine use, and can bring forward to introduce it to the world. Besides, it's just chemical, just like drugs. Drugs are just isolated chemical parts that can treat, while herbs are 'whole'. well u get the picture. But it's too bad that some people take things for granted and starts selling and marketing these herbs that can actually bring bad names to them if done without throughly researched.
     
  25. penelope

    penelope Member
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    Ai, thanks very much. I had little to no idea what kind of training people undergo to practice Eastern medicine in the U.S., and your comments were illuminating. I'll PM you with questions when I'm not supposed to be listening to a lecture on olfactory signal transduction. :)

    penelope
     
  26. Mr. Eastern Medicine

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    Good point, Ai and Ici-Cute.

    Penelope, first, go to <a href="http://www.acupuncture.com" target="_blank">http://www.acupuncture.com</a>
    <a href="http://www.naturalhealers.com" target="_blank">http://www.naturalhealers.com</a>
     
  27. Bubbles

    Bubbles Junior Member

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    I second Mr Eastern Medicine's response....Definately good points made.
     
  28. penelope

    penelope Member
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    Thanks for the links, Mr Eastern Medicine. They look like a good place to start.
     

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