Friday, March 15, 2013

Chinese vs. Western Medicine: the Treatment Plan

Pretend for a minute that you are experiencing chills and fever, a cough that sounds phlegmy and triggers a dry-heave, a slight headache, a slight runny nose that seems more stuffy at this moment, a red tongue and a pulse of about 85 beats per minute. 
Traditional Chinese Medicine is acupuncture, herbs, Gua Shi, and cupping, to name just a few modalities.  A practitioner of Chinese Medicine will aim at releasing your body of external and internal pathogenic factors, boost deficiencies that made you susceptible in the first place, relieve stagnations and other excesses, and help support conditions of the lungs.  He or she will also discuss lifestyle choices, diet, and your constitution, all to help you be aware of the whole picture related to your ailment.  With you on board as a team player, perhaps future miseries can be avoided.
A practitioner of Western Medicine will listen to your lungs with a stethoscope and let you know if you do or do not have pneumonia, look up your nose, in your mouth, and in your ears, determining that you are red.  Without further word on what you do have, except that you have come into contact with a stubborn bug and should wash your hands more, he or she will type a prescription into the computer and an order will be waiting for you at your favorite, local pharmacy.

In contrast, a practitioner of Chinese Medicine will communicate with you in order to know which treatment plan best suits your personality, financial situation, and the time you are willing to devote to your healing.  Most likely, you will be fine with an acupuncture treatment, but Gua Shi and cupping are always explained if they are to be part of the treatment plan and certainly if a client is new to the concepts.  Herbs, pills, plasters, powders, and raw herbal formulas may all be discussed.  The practitioner may write a prescription for a Chinese herbal pharmacy, or dispense the herbs themselves.  Treats like half an Asian pear, with a special herb powder prepared in it to moisten the lung may be suggested.  Four bags of two raw herbal formulas mixed together with the goal of releasing the external pathogenic factor, which most notably to you manifests as moving aches and pains, as well as transforming the phlegm and releasing the internal lung heat may be sold to you.  You will be instructed to avoid foods such as pasteurized dairy products and store bought juices due to their dampening qualities and pressure to your normally functioning internal works.  And you will be encouraged to put yourself first and to truly get lots of rest.
Over at the pharmacy, your Western Medicine practitioner will have waiting for you a bag of medicines that the pharmacist will review with you.   “This,” he will say reaching for the Promethazine – DM cough syrup, “may cause dizziness and drowsiness, so be careful about when you take it.”  “This,” he will say reaching for some tablets, “is 30 milligrams of pseudoephedrine in each pill, so take two at a time to help your stuffy nose.  It may make your heart race.”  Gosh, I never told my doctor my heart tends toward palpitations, you belatedly think.  “What’s this?” you ask raising the container of pills you are guessing must be antibiotics.  “That’s Naproxen/Naprosyn for inflammation,” and you remember how the doctor mentioned how he would get you something for the body aches associated with the illness.
Chinese Medicinal formulas may sometimes have an adverse reaction such as you will notice looser stools.  Chances are though, that your practitioner has taken your digestive abilities into consideration and the only downside to this medicine is perhaps the time and money that you have to invest.  At least this medicine does not push a pathogenic factor deeper into your system, thus making latent pathogenic heat that can surface at a later date in a more serious form.  The herbs will clean house and rid your body of the ailments.  Your next visit will be with a body that is very different in presentation from the week before and your new herbal formula will most likely be focusing on rebuilding your system, repairing any damages the pathogenic factor may have done.
According to eHow Health, the ingredients of the cough syrup is as follows, “One teaspoon of promethazine-DM contains the active ingredients of 15 mg of dextromorphan hydrobromide, 6.25 mg of promethazine hydrochloride and 7 percent alcohol. The inactive ingredients are ascorbic acid, citric acid, D&C yellow #10, FD&C yellow #6, menthol, methylparaben, orange pineapple flavor, propylene glycol, propylparaben, purified water, saccharin sodium, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate and sucrose.”  Sugar and food dyes are alarming enough because your body is ill and being asked to process non-life giving ingredients, and then you notice the propylene glycol and sodium benzoate and are shocked.  According to The Good Human, propylene glycol “alters the structure of the skin by allowing chemicals to penetrate deep beneath it while increasing their ability to reach the blood stream.”  They add a very good point when they say, “So even if propylene glycol was good for you, it’s main job is to help other chemicals you come in contact with reach your blood stream.”  According to Spa From Scratch, “Sodium benzoate is not found in foods unless it is added as a preservative.”  This website states that this additive is “transported to the liver where it is filtered out and expelled as urine.”  Sounds like an added burden on the liver and probably the kidneys.  Professor Peter Piper of Sheffield University concludes that since mitochondrial DNA of yeast cells is damaged by sodium benzoate, it may do the same to human DNA.  Your doctor may be giving you something that damages your DNA!
According to, pseudoephedrine may be involved in a variety of dangerous drug interactions.  The author instructs, “Take this medicine with a full glass of water.”  This website also warns not to take this drug for more than seven days and to avoid it if you are on diet or caffeine pills.  There is a long list of side effects that could certainly make you forget about the miseries of your present illness!
Over at the RxList: The Internet Drug Index, simply warns that your doctor must have decided that the benefits of Naprosyn far outweigh the side effects.  This website lists upset stomach, heartburn, and headache just to name a few.  The Western doctor must have decided that new problems are far better than roaming aches and pains which accompany acute illness.  In Chinese thought, the aches and pains are from an external source that has penetrated your protective qi and must be expelled.  You will hopefully sweat to get it out. 
It seems that Western Medicine has decided the phlegm associated with external attacks is associated with a histamine reaction that can be stopped by cough syrups such as the one mentioned.  In Chinese thought, there is a weakness with the Middle Jaio, meaning your transportation and transformation functions of your digestion, but particularly your qi(chi) mechanism is off possibly due to poor diet choices, poor eating habits in general, or stress as a start.  It is interesting the two completely different thoughts on illness and how to get better.  Which works for you?



No comments:

Post a Comment