Chinese medicine History

Essay by shiba_seki February 2004

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Chinese Medicine

Traditional medicine of China has a long historical and cultural

background dating back about 2500 years. The ancient Chinese people were able

to reach a level of social stability that included the ability to treat disease

of emotional, physical, and spiritual origins. Although a belief in spirits as

the cause of disease has remained in China even to the present day, the view

that the body obeyed a natural order struck a chord in the intellectual elite of

ancient China. It was this elite class that refined and developed these ideas

over many centuries.(1)

The ideas that the ancient Chinese had about the organs of the body, and

their functions, as well as the causes and development of disease, show large

differences when compared with Western medicine.(2)

The Chinese do not think of theory, as we do in the West, as needing to

be proven to reach the highest degree of truth.

A Chinese doctor can look at

the kidney as a machine and think of it as a reflection of universe.(2) He can

apply two different disease classification systems, cold damage or warm damage

where he feels it is appropriate, without being deterred by contradictions

between the two.(3)

One (Western) method of gaining knowledge is analysis. It is the method

of breaking things into component parts to understand the whole. This method

has been applied in China, but not to the same level as in the West. Analysis

is one of the important features of all western modern science and technology.

In fact, the analytical approach is the basis of western medicine, and it is

part of the Western mindset.(4)

Analysis is not as important to Chinese medicine as in the West. The

ancient Chinese did use analysis in their investigation of the human body, but...