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A comparison between traditional medicine and western medicine

Updated: Feb 20


Singapore is a dwelling to many individuals coming from different cultures. People with different social backgrounds possess a perspective on medical treatments and overall medicine inherent to their original culture. While some will prefer traditional medicinal methods, others will rather choose modern medicine and its quick-result treatments.


When evoking traditional patterns of health treatments, some practices instantly come to mind such as acupuncture, herbal concoctions, and Tui Na massages, which are gaining more popularity ever since the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Practitioners Act has active since 2000.


People, seeking a direct approach for acute care will follow modern medicine first and consider TCM as an alternative. The former is popular as mainstream treatment methods are taught in medical institutions. It involves basic medical science and is also known as conventional medicine. The latter follows a holistic approach and focuses on strengthening the body. Pain is then managed by strengthening the body and following a series of treatments.


As Singapore is made up of people coming from different backgrounds, the city’s medicine combines Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western Medicine and values them equally.


One can go for any of the two treatment processes as they find suitable; the main aim is to recover from the medical situation. Apart from going through such medical procedures, a patient wants to avoid any kind of side-effects, discomfort, and pain. All they need is an experienced specialist who offers treatment at a reasonable price while giving them the best results.


As traditional methods take a complementary position to modern medicine, it remains a non-mainstream practice, making it unavailable in many hospitals.


Here’s a chart comparing traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine treatment followed for an ankle injury:


Western Medicine

  1. Immobilizing the affected area.

  2. Painkillers are given to reduce pain

  3. Physiotherapist recommendation for muscle strengthening and working on ligament mobility.

  4. Follow up with the physiotherapist regarding the treatment.

  5. The course of treatment continues for weeks/months as required.


Traditional Chinese Medicine

  1. The injury and its opposite end are treated with acupuncture.

  2. Massage followed for better circulation of blood and relaxing the muscles followed by herbal compressors to relieve pain.

  3. Herbal medication is prescribed for a few weeks.

  4. Follow up with the medicinal assessment.

  5. The course of treatment follows for weeks/months as required.


With the comparison above, we can conclude that both methods follow their own approach and it entirely relies on a patient’s choice as to what they prefer.


Singapore possesses various locally trained TCM practitioners, who are only allowed to practice medical treatment if they are certified. As most people observed numerous benefits with this approach, the number of TCM practitioners grew exponentially between 1990 and 1998.


The most popular forms of TCM are as follows:


· Acupuncture

With acupuncture treatment, specific areas of the skin (acupoints) are penetrated with the help of thin metallic needles, which are used manually or by electrical stimulation. It has proven clear results in treating chronic pain, headaches, chemotherapy-associated nausea, postoperative dental pain, lower back pain and asthma.


· Herbal Medicine

Medicines that are made from mixing different combinations of plant parts such as flowers, leaves, or roots. Each part of the plant has a unique and potent medicinal quality, which qualifies them to be used for the treatment of various digestive issues, skin problems such as psoriasis or eczema, arthritis, high blood pressure, migraines, etc.


· Moxibustion

This treatment uses a burning moxa cone or sticks made of ground mugwort leaves which are placed on or near your body’s affected area and acupuncture points. The heat stimulates these points and improves the flow of Qi (energy) in your body. According to traditional Chinese medicine practices, this increased Qi circulation can help with a range of health issues, from chronic pain to digestive issues.


· Tui Na

Tui Na is a therapeutic form of massage. Practitioners use their finger, hand, elbow, knee or foot to apply pressure to a specific body location. By applying pressure to meridians, acupoints, and groups of muscles and nerves, Tui Na removes blockages and deeply works with the positive energy of the body.


· Cupping Treatment

It involves placing cups at certain points on a person's skin. A practitioner creates suction in the cups, which pulls against a person's skin. People frequently cite cupping therapy as a form of pain relief.


· Gua Sha

It’s a treatment that involves scraping a flat jade or rose quartz stone over the skin with upward strokes to relax stiff muscles and promote tissue drainage.


The attitude to be adopted by modern-day doctors


There is no point denying that many people consider using traditional methods of treatment along with western ones. The reason being that a patient is expecting fast recovery and is promised few to no side-effects with the use of TCM. However, the interaction of drugs with herbal supplements may have side-effects. Only if doctors show their openness to discuss the ideas, a patient can fully admit that they are TCM aficionados as well. This will help in assessing medical situations better and observing whether the combination of both is more effective.


While most people visit TCM practitioners, they must not hide from their doctors about complementary therapies they are using. It will help them undergo a carefully analysed treatment that is effective and safe for the patient. Moreover, as TCM is widely used by people in this region of the globe, it is crucial to find reliable health insurance in Singapore for TCM.


As TCM is mostly prepared by patients or families at home, the quantitative and qualitative factors in such medicine are lacking. As a patient visits the doctor and elaborates how they have been consuming herbal medicines, the doctor will observe the mechanism followed and will offer a comprehensive solution.


This is only possible when doctors take an interest in gaining knowledge about commonly used TCM. This will not only ensure effective doctor-patient communication but can also benefit the patient with prompt health results. Alongside the patient can also look for health insurance in Singapore when going through a medical treatment.


BLACAZ is highly recommended for a tailored health policy program that will cover all the aspects of medical treatment to suit your requirements. Contact us today.