The debate on Traditional Chinese Medicine  (TCM) versus Western Medicine has been going on for decades. It has pushed the healthcare professionals and scientists to experiment and analyze both of these, depending on their theoretical and practical approaches. It has been noticed that each of their plans for physiology and healing is quite different from the other. 

TCM has been in use for more than 3,500 years, whereas western medicine is comparatively young. If you are looking for an alternative treatment or want to know more about both approaches, keep reading.


Theoretical Perspective

Chinese Medicine uses the theory of 5 elements, based on Yin and Yang. A relation between the five components comprising of wood, metal, water, fire, and earth and the human body’s organs is drawn. When everything is in balance, optimal health is achieved. Immunity is provided to the human body to prevent the entry of microorganisms instead of directly attacking the organisms. 

Western Medicine is a comparatively young approach that uses modern physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and microbiology in studying human diseases. It proceeds from the macrostructures to the microstructures in the human body. It attacks the microorganisms that enter the body.


Treatment and Diagnosis

Chinese Medicine uses a more holistic approach. It views the organs as an interrelated and interdependent system of networks. Spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional aspects of an individual are taken into account. It focuses on ‘chi’ also known as “life-force energy” that flows through the meridians (interconnected channels throughout the body). When the flow is blocked, it results in several complications. TCM therapies like Acupuncture and Acupressure are applied to eliminate these blockages.

The western doctor observes the weight, height, body mass, and so on and relates them to the physiological theory to diagnose. They separate the various organs and systems to be precise in their diagnosis and treatment. They make use of instruments (X-rays and ultrasound) in their diagnosis. Until and unless they get every evidence, they cannot reach a decision. The treatment directly targets the pathogens and have long-term effects.




The main difference between Western Medicine and TCM is that the former is an event-based and specified treatment. The latter provides holistic therapies like physiotherapy, diet therapy, massage, and herbal medicine so that the individual is disease-free in the long term. TCM takes a comparatively longer time to battle a disease. However, it is always advisable to choose a combination of both of these as they have different scientific backgrounds and ideas.