Oriental, Western and Alternative medicine – What are the differences?

History of Oriental medicine
“Oriental medicine is the sum of knowledge used in the maintenance of one’s health by using accessible components of nature as the remedies to meet one’s primary health care needs whether normal or abnormal condition that leads to illness. The knowledge was developed by each individual and diverse community.”

History of Western medicine
“Subsequently, the remedies using herbs, medicine, varieties of practices, approaches including advancements of medicine and science that identify and treat specific conditions had blossomed into Western medicine.”

History of Alternative medicine
The rapid and devastating spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, has impacted all aspects of society across the world. However, it has filled the gap between Oriental medicine and Western medicine resulting in integrated practices. In other words, Alternative medicine may no longer be considered as an outdated modality but, in fact, it draws strengths of both sciences, i.e. advanced sciences, perception and use of local medicinal herbs, mental health treatment, etc.

Formerly, Oriental medicine is more of a mind healing art and thereafter treat the whole person while Western medicine use “organ systems-based” approach to treat illness prior to mindset.

Currently, the integrative medicine is gaining increasing acceptance because of its efficacies on healthcare approach as well as symptom alleviation.

Conclusion: advance and possibility in current treatment
“Currently, the use of Oriental medicine in combination with Western medicine has provided more effective results in helping patients to live healthier and more balanced lives. This approach heals both body and mind simultaneously, neither one of them.

In the past, mind healing was believed to be superstitious behavior which was ignored by people for a period of time. Later on, both medicine systems were realized of their promising capabilities. I recalled Tripitaka, the Buddhist Scriptures, described that the body is formed by a combination of the six great elements—earth, water, fire, air, space and spirit. So, to integrate Oriental medicine with Western medicine will contribute effective treatment.  Nowadays, more Western hospitals, especially suburban, are likely to incorporate Oriental medicine in their healthcare services i.e. Yao and Baci Su Kwan ceremonies which help patient to keep positive mindset then the body can heal quicker.”

By Dr. Usa Klinhom (President of the Folk Medicine and Thai Health Network Association, Academic advisor of Amazing Grace Health Products Limited Partnership)

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