Western doctors have long been baffled about the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine. Although Chinese medicine practices have been used for millennia, Western doctors have placed little value on them until recently. However, with more attention being paid to the importance of the mind-body connection, Chinese medicine is now gaining the attention of many Western practitioners.
Unlike Western medicine, traditional Chinese medicine is founded in the idea that mind, body and spirit are all interconnected. In an analysis published in the latest issue of Pastoral Psychology, researchers evaluated the key components of Chinese medicine when compared to Western medicine. They found that Chinese medicine practitioners believe that the mind and body are inseparable. The goal of practices such as acupuncture and herbal medicine are to bring balance to both the mind and body of the patient. This approach is in dramatic contrast to Western medicine, which distinctly separates mind and body and in which many doctors are only concerned with treating and resolving physical symptoms.
Ultimately, traditional Chinese medicine has the goal of preventing illness and encouraging longevity and happiness. Through learning how to be happy and in balance in the mind and spirit, the body will follow and physical illness diminishes and disappears.
Recently, many medical programs around the United States have integrated mind-body medicine in the treatment of serious health conditions, such as cancer and chronic pain. Massachusetts General Hospital, Georgetown University and Cancer Treatment Centers of America all have mind-body medicine programs. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health provides continuing education units in mind-body medicine through the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.
Traditional Chinese medicine has been effectively used in Asian cultures for thousands of years. Through integrating treatment of the mind, body and spirit, it is possible to address illness on all levels. Recent research has found this approach to treating illness is extremely valid and often results in long lasting healing for patients.
What types of alternative medicine approaches have you used? What has worked most effectively for you?
– The Alternative Daily