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History and definition of Chinese Medicine in America and the world

Daniel Shane Sheibani Davidson, MD, MBA


Traditional allopathic medicine coexists with several holistic medicine philosophies in the context of contemporary healthcare, each providing a distinct perspective on health and healing. Holistic modalities like Chinese medicine, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, osteopathic medicine, and chiropractic medicine offer complementary viewpoints and treatment options, even though allopathic medicine, also known as Western or conventional medicine, dominates mainstream healthcare systems. Comprehending the interplay between these heterogeneous modalities might offer valuable perspectives on the possibilities of integrative and holistic methods to improve patient outcomes and foster general well-being.

Definition of Chinese medicine

Traditional allopathic medicine

In the majority of Western nations, including the US, Europe, and Australia, traditional allopathic medicine also referred to as Western medicine or conventional medicine, is the predominant form of healthcare delivery. Pharmaceuticals, surgery, and other procedures targeted at treating certain symptoms or disease processes, allopathic medicine is founded on scientific principles and stresses the diagnosis and treatment of disorders. Using drugs, surgery, and other conventional therapies, traditional allopathic medicine focuses on identifying and treating illnesses. It is grounded in scientific principles and evidence-based practice. It highlights a reductionist strategy that targets particular illness processes or symptoms and uses standardized therapies based on research findings and clinical guidelines.

Key points of traditional allopathic medicine include:

Data-Based Practice:

To inform medical decisions and treatment plans, allopathic medicine draws on rigorous research, clinical trials, and scientific data. The safety, effectiveness, and possible side effects of treatments and interventions are assessed.

Medical Education and Training:

Bachelor’s degree completion, medical school, and residency training in a particular medical specialty are among the many educational and training requirements that allopathic physicians normally face. Anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, and clinical medicine are major subjects studied in medical school.

Disease Diagnosis and Treatment:

The main goals of allopathic medicine are to identify and treat particular illnesses and ailments by combining prescription drugs, surgery, and other forms of intervention. The goals of treatment strategies are frequently to reduce symptoms and deal with the underlying causes of sickness.


Drugs are prescribed to treat a variety of illnesses, and they are an essential part of allopathic treatment. Pharmaceutical businesses create and produce drugs that regulatory bodies have approved for use in clinical practice.

Surgical Interventions:

To diagnose, treat, or lessen symptoms of illness or damage, allopathic medicine employs a broad spectrum of surgical techniques carried out by skilled surgeons. Surgical interventions can range from complex procedures for diseases like cancer or heart disease to minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy.

Specialized Medical Care:

A wide range of medical specialties and subspecialties, including cardiology, oncology, neurology, and psychiatry, are included in allopathic medicine. Depending on their interests and educational background, doctors may decide to specialize in a particular area of medicine.

Preventive medicine:

Although the main goal of allopathic medicine is to treat disease, it also places a strong emphasis on taking preventative steps to advance wellbeing. To lower the risk of disease, this may entail regular tests, immunizations, lifestyle changes, and patient education.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration:

In allopathic medicine, healthcare professionals from many specializations, such as doctors, nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and other allied health professionals, frequently work together.

Comprehensive patient care and the management of complicated medical diseases are made possible by interdisciplinary partnership.

Laboratory Testing:

To evaluate patients’ health, track the course of diseases, and inform treatment choices, laboratory testing is a crucial part of allopathic medicine. Organ function, biochemical markers, genetic predispositions to disease, and other relevant information can be learned by blood tests, urine tests, tissue biopsies, genetic testing, and other specialized studies.

Over the past century, traditional allopathic medicine has achieved great strides in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. It keeps changing as a result of developments in research, medical technology, and evidence-based practice, with an emphasis on enhancing patient outcomes and quality of life.


Chinese medicine:

A comprehensive healthcare system that has been used for thousands of years in China and other East Asian countries. Chinese medicine, which has its roots in ancient philosophy, sees the body as an intricately interwoven system that is impacted by the flow of vital energy, or Qi (pronounced “chee”), through channels known as meridians and the equilibrium of yin and yang forces.

In order to restore balance and harmony within the body and promote health and prevent disease, Chinese medicine comprises a wide range of treatments, including acupuncture, herbal medicine, food therapy, massage (Tui Na), therapeutic exercise (Qi Gong), and mind-body practices (Tai Chi).

Interaction of Traditional allopathic medicine with Chinese medicine:

Chinese and traditional allopathic medicine interact in a number of ways, which reflects the growing understanding of the advantages of incorporating complementary therapies into traditional medical care. Several of the crucial exchanges consist of:


One of the most well-known applications of Chinese medicine is acupuncture, which involves inserting tiny needles into certain body sites in order to activate Qi (life force) and aid in healing. Acupuncture is utilized in conjunction with traditional treatments in many Western countries, especially for pain and nausea relief.

Herbal medicine:

Chinese herbal therapy employs a range of herbs and botanicals to treat particular health issues. Chinese herbal treatments are being investigated for possible therapeutic benefits; in integrative care settings, they may be utilized in addition to conventional drugs.

Dietary Therapy:

Chinese medicine places a strong emphasis on the role nutrition plays in both preventing disease and curing it. Certain concepts of Chinese medicine’s dietary therapy, such the value of whole foods and moderation, are consistent with contemporary nutritional recommendations, even though they may not match Western dietary requirements in every way.

Mind-Body Techniques:

Essential to Chinese medicine, techniques like Tai Chi and Qigong are becoming more and more well-known in the West for their ability to ease stress, encourage relaxation, and enhance flexibility and balance. These procedures are frequently advised in addition to traditional therapy as complementary therapies.

Integration into Healthcare Settings:

Chinese medicine modalities are provided alongside conventional therapies in certain healthcare settings, such as hospitals and integrative medicine clinics. Patients may receive better overall results and have access to a greater variety of medicines thanks to this integrative approach.

Research and Evidence:

Using Western scientific methodologies, there is a rising interest in studying the efficacy of Chinese medicine modalities, including herbal medicine and acupuncture. When combined with traditional treatments, these modalities may be beneficial for some illnesses, according to some research.

All things considered, the relationship between conventional allopathic medicine and Chinese medicine is indicative of a larger movement in healthcare toward integrative and holistic methods. By merging the advantages of both systems, patients might get access to more thorough and individualized treatment choices.

Naturopathic medicine

Naturopathic medicine is a comprehensive approach to health treatment that places an emphasis on the body’s inherent capacity for self-healing and aims to treat illness’s underlying causes as opposed to its symptoms. To advance health and wellness, naturopathic physicians (NDs) combine conventional medical expertise with natural therapies and healing traditions.

Interaction between naturopathic and traditional allopathic medicine:

Numerous interactions exist between naturopathic and traditional allopathic medicine, frequently in the setting of integrative or complementary treatment. The following are some salient features of their exchange:

Philosophical Differences:

Traditional allopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine vary philosophically in how they view health and healing at its core:

Disease Approach:

Allopathic medicine frequently concentrates on employing drugs or surgery to treat the outward signs of illness. Generally, it sees illness as a biological function deviance that needs to be corrected or managed.

In contrast, naturopathic medicine places a strong emphasis on addressing the underlying causes of illness and promoting the body’s inherent healing abilities. It looks for and treats the underlying cause of sickness, viewing symptoms as the body’s attempt to repair itself.

Perspective of the Body:

The body is often seen in allopathic medicine as a machine with distinct sections that are treatable separately. Although this reductionist approach may ignore the interdependence of physiological systems, it does enable accurate diagnosis and focused therapy.

According to naturopathic medicine, the body is an intricately designed system of interconnected and mutually reinforcing elements. The significance of treating the full person—accounting for mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects—is emphasized.

Usage of Medications:

Allopathic medicine treats illnesses mostly using pharmaceutical drugs. These drugs are frequently strong and useful for controlling the course of the disease and symptom management.

A range of natural therapies, including botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, and lifestyle counseling, are employed in naturopathic medicine to assist the body’s natural healing processes. While these treatments may take longer to show results than medications, they are frequently kinder and have fewer adverse effects.

Treatment vs. Prevention:

Allopathic medicine typically places greater emphasis on curing current illnesses than on averting new ones. To find and treat disease in its early stages, it frequently makes use of screening tests and early detection techniques.

Preventive treatment is highly valued in naturopathic medicine, with the goal of identifying and addressing risk factors prior to their manifestation into disease. It supports general health and well-being by encouraging good lifestyle practices like stress management, exercise, and food.

Patient-Centered Care:

While patient-centered care is valued in all approaches, there may be differences in how these approaches are implemented. Naturopathic medicine places a strong emphasis on customized therapy that is catered to each patient’s particular needs and circumstances, whereas allopathic medicine frequently depends on standardized treatment protocols based on clinical criteria.

Complementary Therapies:

A variety of treatments, including hydrotherapy, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, and physical medicine, are provided by naturopathic medicine. These therapies can be used in conjunction with traditional treatments to support general health and target particular health issues.


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice in which tiny needles are inserted into certain body sites to encourage the passage of qi and aid in healing. It is frequently used to address a variety of medical issues, including pain and stress.

Herbal Medicine:

Using plants and plant extracts to treat a range of illnesses is known as herbal medicine. Herbal treatments can be used to treat a variety of illnesses, from mild aches and pains to chronic disorders, and are frequently utilized to assist the body’s natural healing processes.

Massage treatment:

In order to increase relaxation, lessen muscle tension, and improve circulation, massage treatment manipulates the soft tissues of the body. It is frequently used to lessen pain, enhance sleep, and decrease tension.

Mind-Body Methods:

Mind-body methods, which emphasize the relationship between the mind and body, include yoga, tai chi, and meditation. These methods have the potential to lessen stress, elevate wellbeing generally, and increase mood.

Nutritional counseling entails collaborating with a medical professional to create a customized eating plan that satisfies your dietary requirements and advances your overall health objectives. Numerous health problems, such as chronic diseases, digestive difficulties, and weight control, can be treated with it.

Energy Therapies:

The theory behind energy therapies, including therapeutic touch and Reiki, is that energy flows through the body and may be altered to aid in healing. These treatments are frequently used to lower stress, encourage calmness, and enhance general health.

Patient-Centered Care:

Both strategies place a strong emphasis on a patient-centered, holistic approach to healthcare that considers an individual’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Respect for Patients’ Values and Preferences:

Medical professionals ought to spend time getting to know their patients’ values, preferences, and health-related objectives. This entails asking patients about their priorities, paying attention to what they have to say, and involving them in choices regarding their treatment.

Coordination and Integration of Care:

To guarantee that patients receive smooth, integrated care, patient-centered care calls for cooperation and coordination between healthcare professionals. To guarantee continuity of care, this may entail communication across various healthcare facilities and providers.

Physical Comfort:

Pain management and other strategies to make patients feel comfortable and at ease during their care are part of patient-centered care, which takes into account their physical comfort.

Continuity and Transition:

A key component of patient-centered care is making sure that patients are taken care of even when they switch between various medical facilities or providers. This involves making certain that data is disseminated properly and that patients receive assistance as their care transfers.

Collaborative Care:

In order to give patients complete and well-coordinated care, healthcare experts from many disciplines collaborate in a practice known as collaborative care. When it comes to treating patients’ health requirements, medical doctors (MDs) and naturopathic doctors (NDs) collaborate in the setting of traditional allopathic and naturopathic medicine.


Shared Care Planning:

Medical doctors and naturopaths work together to create a shared care plan that incorporates both traditional and naturopathic therapies for patients. This guarantees that the treatment is planned and in line with the patient’s overall health objectives.

Information Sharing:

In order to make sure that all healthcare practitioners are knowledgeable and capable of making decisions regarding patient care, both MDs and NDs exchange pertinent patient data, such as medical histories, lab findings, and treatment plans.


For naturopathic treatments not usually available in traditional medical settings, such as herbal medicine or acupuncture, MDs may refer patients to NDs. In a similar vein, NDs may recommend MDs to their patients for advanced medical care or therapies that go outside the purview of ND practice.

Mutual respect for one another’s knowledge and an understanding of the benefits of both conventional and naturopathic treatments in promoting health and well-being are the cornerstones of collaborative care.

Integrative Medicine Clinics:

Clinics that practice integrative medicine provide a range of supplementary and conventional medical treatments. Through the integration of the finest techniques from traditional and alternative medicine, these clinics hope to provide patients a holistic approach to health and wellness. Key features of integrative medicine clinics include the following:

Differing medical systems with differing approaches to health and healing are homeopathy and traditional allopathic medicine. Personalized conditions, as well as the preferences of the patient and healthcare professional, can all influence how the two interact. Traditional allopathic medicine and homeopathy frequently interact in the following ways.

The foundation of allopathic medicine, sometimes referred to as Western medicine, is evidence-based practice, in which clinical trials and scientific research are usually the basis for treatment decisions. It focuses on using drugs, procedures, and other traditional therapy to diagnose and cure particular diseases and symptoms.

Homeopathic medicines:

Conversely, Samuel Hahnemann created the alternative medical approach of homeopathy in the late 1700s. The foundation of homeopathy is the idea of “like cures like,” which states that a drug that produces symptoms in a healthy individual may be used to treat that same condition in a sick person. Highly diluted ingredients are used in homeopathic medicines with the belief that they will encourage the body’s natural healing processes.

Interaction between Homeopathic medicines

And traditional allopathic medicine:

The way that homeopathy and conventional allopathic medicine interact can vary depending on these differences:


Healthcare professionals occasionally combine conventional therapies with homeopathic remedies in a patient’s treatment regimen. Complementary medicine is the term for this integrated method that is used to treat a variety of medical conditions.

Utilize in Parallel:

Some people decide to utilize homeopathy in addition to conventional allopathic therapies without consulting their doctors directly. This concurrent application of therapy is determined by individual opinions and preferences.

Limited Interaction:

Traditional allopathic medicine and homeopathy may not always interact directly because of their divergent philosophies and methods. In these situations, patients could select one strategy over another in accordance with their needs and preferences for medical care.

Within the medical community, homeopathy is a contentious practice because its tenets are not backed by empirical data. Because of this, some medical professionals can doubt homeopathy’s effectiveness and suggest against utilizing it.

Philosophical Disparities:

Based on scientific principles and evidence-based practice, traditional allopathic medicine focuses on diagnosing and treating illnesses with pharmaceuticals, surgeries, and other conventional therapies. It highlights a reductionist strategy that focuses on particular illness processes or symptoms.

Homeopathy relies on the idea of “like cures like,” employing diluted chemicals to encourage the body’s natural healing processes. The selection of homeopathic medicines is based on the individual’s particular constitutional profile and symptoms in order to target energy imbalances.

Methods of Diagnosis:

To evaluate patients’ health and find underlying medical issues, allopathic medicine employs a broad range of diagnostic methods and instruments, such as imaging investigations, physical examinations, laboratory testing, and medical histories.

To choose the right homeopathic medicine, a thorough evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, feelings, and general constitution is necessary in homeopathy. Homeopaths match the patient’s symptoms to the best medicine by using sophisticated interview techniques and repertorization tools.

Practices Based on Evidence:

Evidence-based practice—treatments and interventions backed by empirical data, clinical trials, and scientific research—is highly valued in allopathic medicine. Thorough testing and validation are used to assess the safety and efficacy of treatments.

Homeopathy lacks reliable clinical studies and repeatable scientific evidence to demonstrate its efficacy, making it difficult for it to fulfill the standards of evidence-based practice. While some research point to beneficial effects of homeopathic treatments, others cast doubt on its efficacy as much more than a placebo.

Osteopathic medicine:

Osteopathic medicine and traditional allopathic medicine work together and share training. Osteopathic (DO) and allopathic (MD) doctors frequently collaborate, with DOs offering a hands-on, holistic approach (OMT). For OMT, MDs may refer patients to DOs; both specializations and collaborations in medical settings are possible for these types of physicians. Patients gain from their contact because they receive complete care.

Interaction with Osteopathic medicine and traditional allopathic medicine:

Shared Medical Education:

Medical school and residency programs are part of the demanding medical education that allopathic and osteopathic physicians must complete. Although the two types of physicians have different techniques and ideologies, they are both trained to diagnose and treat medical diseases.

Collaborative Care:

In multidisciplinary healthcare settings, osteopathic and allopathic practitioners frequently collaborate. In order to give patients comprehensive care, especially in difficult medical cases that benefit from a team-based approach, they may confer with one another.

Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT) is a manual therapy approach utilized by osteopathic practitioners for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of musculoskeletal conditions. When appropriate, some allopathic practitioners may refer patients to osteopathic physicians for OMT, even though they do not usually use this method.

Interaction with Osteopathic medicine and traditional allopathic medicine:

Shared Medical Education:

Medical school and residency programs are part of the demanding medical education that allopathic and osteopathic physicians must complete. Although the two types of physicians have different techniques and ideologies, they are both trained to diagnose and treat medical diseases.

Collaborative Care:

In multidisciplinary healthcare settings, osteopathic and allopathic practitioners frequently collaborate. In order to give patients comprehensive care, especially in difficult medical cases that benefit from a team-based approach, they may confer with one another.

Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy (OMT) is a manual therapy approach utilized by osteopathic practitioners for the purposes of diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of musculoskeletal conditions. When appropriate, some allopathic practitioners may refer patients to osteopathic physicians for OMT, even though they do not usually use this method.

Specialty Care:

Like their allopathic counterparts, osteopathic doctors are able to specialize in a number of medical fields. They can pursue specializations in internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, and other fields, and they frequently collaborate with allopathic doctors in medical settings.

Integrated Healthcare Systems: Seeing the benefits of both osteopathic and allopathic patient care, several healthcare systems incorporate both types of doctors into their clinics. Patients now have access to a greater variety of healthcare services and knowledge because to this integration.

Collaboration and Continuing Education:

To enhance patient care and results, both kinds of doctors participate in professional development and continuing education. They also frequently work together on best practices and research projects.

In general, osteopathic and conventional allopathic medicine engage with one another with mutual respect and cooperation, utilizing both philosophies to give patients complete, all-encompassing care.



Chiropractic care focuses on using manual adjustments and manipulations to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, especially spinal misalignments (subluxations). In order to improve nervous system function, relieve pain, and restore normal spinal alignment, chiropractors use manual procedures.

The potential of integrated care approaches, which entail the collaboration of chiropractors and allopathic physicians, to improve patient outcomes for ailments like headaches, neck pain, and low back pain is becoming more widely acknowledged.

Interaction with Chiropractic and traditional allopathic medicine:

There are numerous ways that chiropractic and traditional allopathic treatment interact, frequently based on the patient’s preferences and the particular health issue being treated. The following are some typical ways that these two healthcare philosophies interact:

Collaboration and Referrals:

For specific musculoskeletal problems, especially those involving the spine, allopathic doctors occasionally send their patients to chiropractors. This can happen for conditions like back pain or specific kinds of headaches where a patient may benefit from receiving chiropractic care. Chiropractic and allopathic medical professionals working together can guarantee that patients receive thorough care that meets their needs.

Treatment Complementary:

As a complementary therapy, allopathic medicine and chiropractic adjustments can be combined. In order to enhance spinal alignment and function, a patient with persistent back pain may, for instance, get pain management drugs from their allopathic doctor in addition to receiving chiropractic adjustments. The symptoms and underlying causes of the pain can both be addressed with this integrated method.

Patient Education:

Chiropractors and allopathic doctors may collaborate to inform patients about their conditions and available treatments. This can assist patients in understanding the advantages of combining both treatments into their treatment plan and in making well-informed decisions regarding their care.

Treatment of Particular problems:

Spinal manipulation and other manual therapies can be helpful for treating back pain, neck discomfort, and headaches. For these and other problems, chiropractic therapy is frequently sought after. In order to make sure that patients receive the right therapy for these conditions, including diagnostic testing, imaging studies, and additional therapies as needed, allopathic physicians and chiropractors may collaborate.

Respect for Patient Choice:

The patient’s preferences and beliefs ultimately determine how allopathic medicine and chiropractic therapy interact. Certain patients might like a comprehensive strategy that include chiropractic adjustments, whereas others might favor more traditional forms of care. Respecting patient choice and collaborating with patients to create treatment programs that suit their objectives and preferences is a common trait of allopathic doctors.

The way that chiropractic care and conventional allopathic medicine interact might change based on the unique needs and circumstances of each patient. Practitioners of both approaches can provide comprehensive care that promotes optimal health and wellness by addressing the full person when they collaborate.

Collaborative care and interactions:

The ways in which traditional allopathic medicine and holistic healthcare modalities interact are complex and can change based on practitioner experience, patient preferences, and the particular healthcare environment. Patients who use collaborative care models, like integrative medicine clinics and multidisciplinary healthcare teams, have access to a variety of individualized treatment alternatives.

Maximizing patient-centered care and promoting effective collaboration need open communication, respect for various therapeutic modalities, and shared decision-making.
traditional allopathic medicine interact with other methodologies of holistic medicine:

Conventional allopathic medicine engages in a variety of interactions with alternative holistic medical approaches, from cooperation and integration to distrust and prudence. These are a few typical exchanges:

Collaboration and Integration:

To deliver all-encompassing care, allopathic physicians occasionally work in tandem with practitioners of holistic medicine. This may entail coordinated patient care, integrated treatment regimens, and practitioner referrals. Programs in integrative medicine, which blend traditional and alternative therapies, are becoming more widespread in medical environments.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies:

In addition to traditional medical care, many patients employ holistic therapies like acupuncture, herbal medicine, and mind-body techniques. When it is suitable, some allopathic doctors are willing to include alternative therapies in the treatment of their patients, particularly for ailments where holistic methods have shown beneficial.

Education and Awareness:

Over time, allopathic medicine has grown more knowledgeable of and conscious of holistic methods. In order to better understand their patients’ preferences and available treatments, medical professionals may look for extra training in holistic modalities and take advantage of integrative medicine courses offered by medical schools.

Evidence-Based Practice:

Interventions having substantial scientific backing for safety and efficacy are typically given priority in allopathic medicine. Certain holistic treatments may have weak scientific evidence, but others may have an expanding body of research recommending them. While further research is being done, allopathic doctors may proceed cautiously when using these therapies.

Patient-Centered Care:

A holistic approach that takes into account a patient’s mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness is preferred by many patients. By honoring patients’ choices for holistic therapies and taking such preferences into account when creating treatment regimens, allopathic physicians can aim to deliver patient-centered care.

Caution and Skepticism:

Although holistic therapies are becoming more widely accepted, some allopathic practitioners are still wary of those that lack scientific support or have contradicting data. They could suggest to patients to continue cautiously and look for illnesses that have evidence-based therapies.

Regulatory and Legal Considerations:

There are many different regulations governing holistic therapies, and certain methods might not even be standardized or regulated. To assure quality and safety, allopathic practitioners could counsel patients to look for practitioners who are certified, licensed, or part of respectable professional associations.


In conclusion, a possible route towards a more thorough and patient-centered approach to health and healing is the merging of traditional allopathic medicine with holistic healthcare approaches. Healthcare professionals can create individualized treatment regimens that address the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of health by embracing the strengths of various therapeutic traditions. Collaboration, research, and teaching will be crucial in leveraging the synergies between allopathic and holistic therapies to promote maximum wellness for both individuals and communities as integrative medicine develops.