Rumble box: Chinese vs Western medicine

Rumble box: Chinese vs Western medicine

In this week's Rumble Box, Wong Yat-hei and Joyee Chan are engaged in an argument about Chinese vs Western medicine.

Chinese medicine

Ever seen the ads on how this or that cold medicine can help you clear your nose and stop the fever dead in a short time? You can get well quickly and resume all your activities in your jam-packed schedule without a hitch, the ads promise. But if you ask me, that's a tall order, creating unreasonable expectations in sick people.

Many people think of Western medicine as a storehouse of miracle cures because drugs make symptoms disappear quickly. But does making the symptoms go away mean a person is cured?

Definitely not. Western medicine is an illness suppressor, not a curer. It makes patients believe they have recovered after they no longer have the symptoms. However, the illness continues to linger undetected in their bodies.

Patients who have undergone major surgery or have been on Western medication for a long period may even develop other health problems, such as irregular heart beat or a bad stomach. This is a result of the nature of Western medicine; its aim is to kill all the germs, but in doing so, it also damages the body. With Western medicine, it's always a trade-off: if you want a certain part of your body to get better, you have to risk problems in another part in return.

So if you are serious about your health, you should consider taking Chinese medicine, which helps your body recover fully. Chinese medicine takes a whole-body approach towards healing, and does not isolate only the "infected area", as Western medicine does.

Because Western culture has dominated the world for the past few centuries, Western medicine plays a major role in today's health-care system. But if you take a closer look, you'll find glaring flaws that need to be addressed. After all, Chinese medicine, founded on 5,000 years of wisdom, has not been around for so long for nothing.

Wong Yat-hei


Western medicine

It's not fun to go two weeks without sleep. You can imagine how my health and mood suffer when insomnia strikes me once every two months or so. I mean I do go to bed and close my eyes, but I just can't get to sleep deeply enough. So I wake up every day feeling restless, exhausted and irritated.

My Chinese doctor prescribed me some very strong and bitter herbal powder, which I needed to dissolve in hot water and drink. But it did not help.

So I turned to Western medicine. I took just one pill and I soon collapsed in deep, sweet sleep.

So don't knock the idea of quick remedies. When you're on the verge of serious illness or a nervous breakdown, a quick remedy is most welcome. Herbs just don't work fast enough.

And if my insomnia persists despite the pills, there are hi-tech facilities at hospitals that can analyse my sleep patterns, brain activity and breathing.

The data can help doctors trained in Western medicine pinpoint the problem. That is a lot more scientific and reliable approach than just measuring your pulse. The medication and equipment used in Western medicine are well-tested before they are used for diagnosis and treatment. Doctors don't just operate on a hunch.

Besides, in Western medicine, most doctors specialise in a specific part of the body or a specific type of illness. They know your problem much better than someone who practises general medicine. I trust Western medicine to cure my insomnia, and many others trust it to cure their cancers, heart problems and lung infections.

Joyee Chan

We hope you enjoyed the rumble. If you have an idea for a fun topic, e-mail us at yp@scmp.com with "Rumble Box" in the subject line and we could be wrangling your topic idea next week



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