Medicines: East versus West

The benefits of combining both medical traditions when treating illnesses

Cait Bunkers, sports editor

Eastern and western forms of medicine provide differing methods for accomplishing the same goal.
“It’s a good idea to have a combination of both… they both have their pros and cons, but to me, I think eastern medicine has more pros,” said Ayden Schure, a junior.
According to the National Cancer Institute, western medicine is a “system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals… treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.”
Eastern medicine, the oldest system of medicine in the world, originated in Asia. It focuses on not just the illness, but also the patient’s Qi, or an individualized diagnosis of their whole person. It has five major branches: acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, oriental nutrition therapy, tuina, and tai chi.
Acupuncture is a commonly used form of Eastern medicine. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, it is “practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles” that can be located at any of over 2,000 points in the body believed by traditional Chinese practitioners.
“I did acupuncture to help my shoulder; it stimulates the nervous system. I’ve gotten it, like, two times a week,” said Carly Doty, a sophomore.
It is believed that acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system, releasing chemicals into the brain, spinal cord, and muscles. These chemical changes have the potential to boost the body’s natural healing ability.
Combining Eastern and Western forms of medicine can fulfill the need for both preventative and natural medical care. It can also benefit doctors by making them more well-versed.
Despite the benefits, each type of medicine has its risks.
All medications and treatments pose the risk of side effects, and allergic reactions are always possible. Additionally, Eastern medicine occasionally has adverse outcomes, such as nausea, vomiting, fainting, and increased pain.
“My concern whenever I am talking about Eastern medicine is, ‘Is it going to harm them? Is it going to interfere with the Western medicine route?’,” said Jacque Sidoti, an attending physician at St. Joseph’s.
All in all, combining Eastern and Western medicine has the benefits of treating both a patient’s illness and the whole person, making it a well-rounded approach.