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Chinese Medicine History Essay

1249 words - 5 pages

Chinese MedicineTraditional medicine of China has a long historical and culturalbackground dating back about 2500 years. The ancient Chinese people were ableto reach a level of social stability that included the ability to treat diseaseof emotional, physical, and spiritual origins. Although a belief in spirits asthe cause of disease has remained in China even to the present day, the viewthat the body obeyed a natural order struck a chord in the intellectual elite ofancient China. It was this elite class that refined and developed these ideasover many centuries.(1)The ideas that the ancient Chinese had about the organs of the body, andtheir functions, as well as the causes and development of disease, show largedifferences when compared with Western medicine.(2)The Chinese do not think of theory, as we do in the West, as needing tobe proven to reach the highest degree of truth. A Chinese doctor can look atthe kidney as a machine and think of it as a reflection of universe.(2) He canapply two different disease classification systems, cold damage or warm damagewhere he feels it is appropriate, without being deterred by contradictionsbetween the two.(3)One (Western) method of gaining knowledge is analysis. It is the methodof breaking things into component parts to understand the whole. This methodhas been applied in China, but not to the same level as in the West. Analysisis 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 ispart of the Western mindset.(4)Analysis is not as important to Chinese medicine as in the West. Theancient Chinese did use analysis in their investigation of the human body, butto a lesser degree. Analysis provided some important insights into the workingsof the human body. The ancient Chinese knew, for example, that the stomach andintestines were organs of digestion, and that the lung drew air from theenvironment.(5)The origins of China's medical knowledge is not certain. They observedphenomenon, and identified relationships and patterns. They compared wholephenomena in the body, and watched how they related to each other.(6)This is shown by "qi,'' an entity that Westerners find hard toconceptualize, since it does not fit any known scientific category.(7) Qi isthought to be the universal energy that runs everything, right down to thesmallest molecule. Pain is often thought of as blocked Qi.(8) An example of qiwould be that the ancient Chinese could see that when we are healthy, food iscarried down the alimentary canal. They also saw that throwing up involves arising movement that ejects food from the stomach along with heaving.(9) Theysaw this activity in terms of two movements: a normal descending force and anabnormal ascending force. What we call a movement, the Chinese call qi.(10)Stomach qi goes down, carrying food in the digestive tract to the smallintestine. The concept of stomach qi was inferred directly from visible...

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