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The Difference Between Western and Eastern Medicine

Eastern or Western medicineThere are many terms and phrases in the English language used to identify the difference between Eastern medicine and Western medicine. There is no one way to characterize the difference between the two types of medical practice. They entail different philosophies, ethics, practices and bodies of knowledge. This article explores some of the different terminologies that are applied to both Western medicine and Eastern medicine, and what those terminologies mean.

  • Allopathic vs holistic. A number of homeopathic medical professionals use the term “allopathic” to refer to any type of pharmacological medical agent or practice, meaning Westernized medicine. When the term was coined, it had positive connotations and was used to refer to the more well-respected practice of medicine. “Holistic” is a term that is often employed to describe the practice of medicine using all natural agents. In medicines, the terms refers to organic remedies. In practice, the term refers to treating the whole person in order to eradicate a singular health ailment.
  • Evidence-based vs natural medicine. The term “evidence-based medicine” is becoming colloquial as Eastern medicine is gaining a lot of mainstream credibility. Still, this term is sometimes used to describe Western medicine in a way that deems it the more credible science among medical practices. In contrast, the term “natural medicine” in reference to Eastern medicine paints this type of medical practice in a more universal yet a more unscientific light.
  • Traditional vs alternative medicine. Ironically, the term “traditional medicine” is applied to Westernized medicine, despite Western medicine being the more recent medical practice between the two ideologies. Again, this term awards Western medicine more credibility by titling it as traditional, meaning it has the sturdier foundation of the two. “Alternative medicine” is used to describe Eastern medicine as being a type of fringe science. Clearly, a bias still exists against homeopathic medicine, but time is altering this perception in the minds of the mainstream populous.


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