TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine
Based on over 3,500 years of accumulated knowledge and skills, traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM as it is often called, is an alternative health system that is used widely all over Asia and especially, of course, in China itself. There are several different disciplines within TCM, which include herbal medicine, massage, exercise regimes, acupuncture, bone-setting, cupping and coining. The origins of the sorts of traditional forms of Chinese medicine we see being practised today go all the way back to the Shang dynasty. Although some western physicians have little time for traditional Chinese medicine, a number of western-style field trials have shown success despite this not being universal by any means. Overall, TCM is continuing to win support and even admiration outside of its traditional heartland in China.
Also known as complementary medicine, alternative medicine covers a wide range of treatments that people use all over the world to deal with their symptoms and to seek cures for their conditions. Although it lies outside the orbit of conventional, western medical science, certain alternative therapies are gaining ground in some hospitals. In places where western medicine is restricted or unavailable, alternative medicine is still the mainstay of healthcare for many people. Although some people are quite happy to accept two different medicinal frameworks, others deride alternative remedies as nothing more than quackery.
The term holistic medicine relates to a wide number of therapies that are designed to treat the whole of a person, both their body and mind. It is often, therefore, seen in contrast to the drug therapies offered by big pharmaceutical companies – and surgery, for that matter – as a means of dealing with all ailments rather than focusing on 'cures' for specific pathogens or treating individual symptoms. Some, therefore, argue that holistic medicine frames conventional Western medicine as one that is narrow in its approach and ultimately unnatural. Holistic medicine is consequently considered an alternative therapy or, more accurately, a combination of alternative therapies. Today, some doctors combine the principals behind holistic therapies with conventional ones. However, this is not yet routine in the West.
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