Theory, Methodology and Structure of Chinese Medicine
Edited By Friedrich G. Wallner, Fengli Lan and Martin J. Jandl
Lan Fengli Globalization of TCM: Cultural Differences between TCM and Western Medicine 24
24 Lan Fengli Globalization of TCM: Cultural Differences between TCM and Western Medicine The thesis discusses cultural differences between traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Western medicine from the linguistic and philosophi- cal aspects, the unique values of TCM, and advances some suggestions in the process of globalization of TCM. Both transmission of TCM to the West and dissemination of Western medicine in China started in the Ming dynasty (16th-17th centuries). Some missionaries taught and spread religion by practicing Western medicine; meanwhile, they introduced TCM curiously, esp. their own experiences in TCM, to the West. Over 300 years passed by. At present, TCM and West- ern medicine actually coexist no matter in China or in the West. TCM is not only a special medical system with distinctive national features of Chi- na, but is also a medical system for the mankind of the whole world. Both TCM and Western medicine are “scientific systems of studying life processes of the human being and prevention and treatment of dis- eases”.1 It is thus clear that they share at least 3 common characters, i.e. the same object – life processes of the human being; the same goal – to prevent and treat diseases; and both are members of “scientific systems”. But, TCM bears strong humane characteristics; while Western medicine, esp. modern Western medicine, has typical features of modern Western science. What are the cultural differences between the two medical sys- tems? How do the differences influence the dissemination of TCM in the West, or even...
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