Is Eastern or Western Medicine Better?
Your Flu Vaccine and Healing Crystals Aren’t Mutually Exclusive
Is there anything quite as politicized (besides, you know, actual politics) as your health? Think of the fierce debate among anti-vaxxers and those who are pro-vaccine; or perhaps those who are for or against breastfeeding. Then there’s keto dieters vs. the vegans, CrossFitters vs. yogis. It’s ferocious, and the landscape is filled with as much vitriol as Capitol Hill. But instead of Republican and Democratic parties, it’s Eastern and Western wellness.
These two approaches to medicine and wellbeing have historically been staunchly opposed — and viewed as mutually exclusive, for the most part — but now in 2020 when cars are driving themselves and Virgin Galactic is planning trips to space, things have softened.
What is Eastern Medicine
Eastern Medicine is often defined as traditional Chinese medicine and has evolved since its beginnings thousands of years ago. Practitioners use various mind and body practices like acupuncture, Tai Chi and herbal products designed to help address various ailments and health conditions.
The basic concept of Eastern Medicine is that a vital force of life, known as Qui, surges throughout the body. Imbalances to Qi can cause disease, illness and overall poor health. Qi is imbalanced from alteration in the opposite and complementary forces that make up Qi called yin and yang. Ancient Chinese lore states that humans are microcosms of the larger universe that they are a part of and are interconnected with nature making humans subject to its forces.
Balance is the key between health and disease with Traditional Chinese Medicine seeking to restore balance through treatment specific to each individual. To regain balance, or homeostasis, you must achieve balance internally among your organs and the external elements of earth, fire, water, wood and metal. Maybe balance is what is needed when choosing Eastern or Western medicine.
What is Western Medicine
Western Medicine is a system of medical doctors and healthcare professionals including nurses, pharmacists and therapists who work together to treat symptoms and disease utilizing a regimen of pharmaceutical chemical drugs, radiation therapy or surgery. It is also known as conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, or orthodox medicine.
The majority of those in the United States receive healthcare from doctors (MDs or DOs), nurses (RN), physician’s assistants (PAs) or other medical provider professionals that practice in a medical setting such as a hospital, clinic or general practice office.
Western Medicine focuses on the areas of testing and diagnostics based on the analysis of the test results. The goal of western medicine is to diagnose, stop progression, relive symptoms, prevent the spread, provide a cure if possible and improve quality of life.
They don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Holistic Medicine is alternative or complementary medicine that evaluates the entire person including the physical body as well as the non-physical mental mind elements. The goal is similar to other beliefs with a focus on healing imbalances that exist between the two.
Holistic Medicine believes that the body is a complex system affected by both internal and external factors. It places an emphasis on the body’s ability to naturally heal itself as well as promoting healthy lifestyle changes like using CBD to improve your fitness routine and natural occurring remedies like meditation or herbal products like CBD rather than synthetic produced compounds.
This theory is not reductionist in nature meaning it can be an ideal counterpart to modern medicine. A common example of this would be acupuncture. The practice has been found to be successful in pain management so it is often used alongside conventional surgery to treat pain.
Eastern or Western Medicine, why stick to one side when you could cherry pick from the best of both worlds? The physical example of this, of course, is CBD.
Hemp as a whole plant is natural medicine that has been used in ancient Eastern practices for thousands of years. And though its use has been stigmatized in the past century within Western culture (in large part thanks to government propaganda), it’s now finally back on the scene in the mainstream. What’s more, is that this plant presents itself for an infinite number of clinical studies and applications, bridging the gap between these two worlds of wellness.
CBD also provides a bridge between mind and body, bringing the (very important) idea that it’s all one thing — yes, your body and mind are all part of one unit working together — to today’s conversations. Knowing that CBD works on physical receptors within the body to trigger both a psychological and physiological response is allowing all of us to question how much Western culture has traditionally separated “mental” health and “physical” health. The truth of it? It’s just health. CBD doesn’t separate the brain and the rest of the body; perhaps that’s a lesson for all of us?
So yes, you can take CBD, regardless of CBD tinctures or CBD capsules and still have a psychiatrist and therapist (trust me on this one). You can fill your home with healing crystals and sage, and still get your flu shot. You can read PubMed to check out the latest biomedical data, and still catch up on the recent developments in energy healing on Goop. Go to your cardio bootcamp and your yoga class. Even lather up those cannabis beauty products.
Eastern and Western medicine and wellness practices aren’t divided; they’re on the same side of the fence, and it’s up to you to embrace all there is on offer for your health. Stop thinking of it as “either or” and start asking for “more and more” of both. The same can go for CBD products, the addition of other natural ingredients as show by brands like Receptra can yield powerful results.