The term “Western medicine” does not refer to a specific area of medicine but rather a broad spectrum of medicine that is commonly polarized from Eastern medicine. Of all the divisions in the medical world, this one is the most well known. In theory, Eastern and Western medicine are umbrella terms that all other forms of medicine fall under. They do not refer to the regions they came from as much as they refer to the philosophies that inspired them. Western medicine is more recent and focuses on the pharmacological treatment of illness while Eastern medicine is older, more natural and treats the whole person rather than merely their symptoms.
Western medicine rose to practice in the 18th century when the burgeoning scientific method was applied to the medical industry. Previous to this era, the philosophies of Eastern medicine has championed the medical industry. Eastern medicine uses natural, organic remedies such as herbal treatments and plant medicinals, but it also is associated with treating the ethereal qualities a person possesses. Western medicine did away with notions of treating the whole person, physical and metaphysical, and focused strictly on treating specific symptoms with chemical remedies. This approach to medicine was championed in the 18th century and has carried into the present time as the most credible way of treating disease. Only in the last several decades has Eastern medicine been contesting Western medicine’s position as the dominant view of medicine.
Western medicine promotes the use of pharmacological agents and remedies as ways of treating specific symptoms. Western medicine does less looking at the person’s way of life and state of mind and more at focusing intently on a specific symptom and remedying it singularly with synthetic chemical medicines. Western medicine is controversial in how it operates as many are beginning to ask how effective a medical practice is that does not explore preventative, natural medicine.