International Collegeof Oriental Medicine UK LtdBSc (Hons) Acupuncture Course: OMED1260 CM1 ProjectTitle: Briefly Discuss thetraditional East Asian View of the body reflecting on its similarities anddifferences with the Western Description Student Number: 001007580 Dateof Submission: 8th January 2018 WordCount: 2002 Word Limit: 2000 IntroductionWestern Medicine has its rootsin Europe with texts dating back to 500 BC whilst Eastern Medicine has itsroots in Asia and is traditionally seen as dating back to -2000 BC, withMedicine of some description probably being performed before these dates. The two disciplines share bothdifferences and similarities, though the eastern approach is to look at thebody as a whole system as opposed to the western method of finding and treatinga specific issue within the body in isolation. The East adapt to theirenvironment and acclimatise to fit In with the natural cycles of the seasons, taking note of the effects that each has on the system. The west looks tochange the environment to suit the needs of the patient. In this essay I will cover thebasics of the diagnosis process to highlight the East Asian view of the bodycompared to the Western view. The differing diagnosisComparing the diagnosticprocess of both Eastern and Western Medicine.
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Western MedicineThe diagnostic process startswith the consultation between practitioner and patient, this is the same nomatter what discipline you practice. In western Medicine various models fordiagnostics have been suggested for clinical practice, Sackett describes fourmain strategies (Sackett, et al., 1991)· Pattern Recognitiono Instant recognition of a disease· Hypothetical-deductive strategyo Undertake tests to check a hypothesis· Algorithm Strategyo Using a preformatted decision tree· Complete Strategyo Using questioning of patient’s history of theproblem. Questions should relate to ‘ OLD CARTS’: Onset, Location/radiation, Duration, Character, Aggravatingfactors, Reliving factors, Timing and Severity (Baerheim, 2001)A patient will present with asymptom. The presentation will solely rely on the patient’s ability tounderstand his symptoms, to read them correctly and to be able to verbalisethem efficiently to the consultant.
The medical practitioner will thenascertain which of the strategies listed above to use. Further tests anddiagnostics are run, other means of diagnosing involve blood tests, radiology, ultrasound, nuclear scintigraphy, MRI or CT Scans and a medical diagnosis isformed by elimination of hypothesise. The whole process is streamlined andfocused on the symptom that you presented with.
As an example, consider thespleens role in Western medicine and the approach for diagnosing and treating a’struggling’ spleen. The spleen is found under theribcage, ribs 9-12, in the upper left part of the abdomen, in the epigastricregion. It varies in size dependent on factors such as weight, height etc. Itaverages about 10-12 cm and weighs around 200g.
It works to protect the body aspart of the lymphatic system by clearing out red blood cells and other foreignbodies from the blood helping to fight off infection. (Yamini Durani, 2015) Thespleen is split into two compartments, the red pulp and the white pulp and issurrounded by a fibrous coating. TheSpleen has a superficial role in western medicine.
(Keown, 2014) States ‘ thespleen has little to do with digestion,’, this is despite it drawing its bloodfrom the same root as the digestive tract, growing out of the gastrointestinaltract and it being the only organ not involved in digestion to drain into theliver. The spleen carries out a number of important roles though. It Filtersand purifies blood as part of the immune system, it removes microbes andrecycles worn out or damaged red blood cells and it produces and storesplatelets and white blood cells that fight infections. Despite this, WesternMedicine believes the body can function without this organ, although yourimmune system will be compromised. Aninfected or enlarged spleen can be palpated (a healthy spleen should not beable to be palpated). Once the initial diagnosis of splenomegaly is made(unhealthy spleen), further tests are carried out on the blood to ascertain theseriousness. Treatment in the form of antibiotics will be given and the spleenmonitored (Thomas, 2017). In severe cases and case of trauma to the spleen, thespleen can be removed.
Eastern MedicineThe spleen and stomach are inthe Middle Jiao. The approach from eastern practitioners is very different totheir western counterparts – the eastern practitioner reads the body through, well, practically everything! The complexion, the face, tongue, colour, smells, sounds, mental state demeanour and through the pulses. Through thismultifaceted approach, the practitioner gets an overall view of how each organis working and the knock-on effects it has to the other organs in the body. Ina way, talking about a specific symptom contradicts the whole Chinese spirit ofdiagnosis. (Maciocia 1989) To understand this a little better, you must have abasic understanding of Yin and Yang, a world inside a world, an eco-systemliving inside an ecosystem and the 5 elements. The concept of Yin and Yang isprobably the most important to understand in Chinese medicine. The earliestreference to it is in the I Ching (book of changes) in approx. 700bc.
All medical diagnosis, pathology andtreatment can be boiled down to Yin and Yang. Each organ in Chinese medicinelends itself to Yin or Yang. The Yang organs transform, digest and excrete’impure’ waste of food and drink.
The Yin organs store the ‘ pure’ essences. There are four aspects to Yin and Yang.(Maciocia 1989)· The opposition of Yin and Yang o Opposing ends of a cycle. I. e. day and night… · The interdependence of Yin and Yango Yin is not possible without Yang and vice versa(i.
e. day cannot happen without night nor night happen without day)· Mutual consumption of Yin and Yango Think of a spirit level. Where the bubble is, liquid is not and vice versa. Or consider that the dawn is the beginning ofYang’s growth in Yin.· Inter-transformation of Yin and Yango Yin and Yang transform into each other, dayinto night, summer into winter etc. To simplify the use of Yin andYang in medicine is to say everything can be boiled down to its Yin or Yangproperty. So, the 4 major treatment plans are:· Tonify Yin (raise the Yin) · Tonify Yang (raise the Yang)· Eliminate excess Yin· Eliminate excess YangOfcourse, it’s not quite as simple as that.
Each organ, as well as having a Yinor Yang characteristic, also has a corresponding ‘ element’. Aswe did in Western medicine we will look at the spleen (which in Chinesemedicine includes the Pancreas) and its Biao Li, the stomach (Yin Yangpairing). The spleen is a Yin organ because it is an internal organ and itsfunction is to store the essences (although the spleen does also have a Yangfunction). The Spleen shares a place on the viscera hierarchy with the stomach(Yang), the 6th position, the central position as is the spleen andstomachs element, the Earth. (Vallee 1990) Thestomach and the spleen are both the main organs of digestion (in TCM). Thespleen is a Yin organ but also has a Yang aspect (because nothing is completelyYin or Yang).
It transforms and transports Gu QI (food Qi) which goes to makeblood, which is Yin in nature (and the structure of the organ itself).(Maciocia 1989)The Spleen in Chinese medicinealso takes on functions that it doesn’t have in western medicine. These are: TheSpleen is in charge of Ascending and DescendingTransportation of qi, fluidsand nourishment to the body is done through the spleen and stomach. The Spleen Governs transformation andtransportationThisis the spleens role in separating the usable from the unusable. Clear fluids goto the lung to be distributed and the unclear goes down toward the intestinesto be further separated.
Food and drink enter the system, the spleen extractsthe Gu Qi (food qi) and sends it to the lungs to combine with Dah Qi (Air Qi)to form Zong Qi and onto the heart to form blood. (Maciocia 1989)The Spleen Presides over blood ‘ The spleen is in charge of holding theblood together’ (Flaws 1999). It is the spleen’s job to keep the blood in theblood vessels. Therefore, if the spleen is healthy then the blood will flow. The spleen controls the muscles and thefour limbs As thespleen extracts GU QI from the food that is ingested, the refined qi istransported through the body to the muscles. The Spleen opens into the mouth andmanifests in the lips Thestate of the spleen is show in the lips.
The colour and moisture of them willgive you part of the prognosis. The Spleen houses thought The spleen houses the Yi, one of the 5Shen. Yi is intention, ideas, thoughts and intellect. A person with a poordigestive system usually has problems thinking clearly. Also, if a personworries too much, this can lead to digestive issues. Ifthe spleen is under-functioning or the stomach is over-functioning then the earthelement becomes imbalanced. Ifthe spleen cannot absorb, transform and transport then the patient will exhibitsigns of vomiting, aversion to food and drink, frequent belching, loose stools, diarrhoea, undigested food, fatigue and internal dampness which can causephlegm. If the stomach cannot descend the unclear to the small intestines therewill be signs of distension, vomiting and hiccupping.
If the spleen cannotraise the clear there will be signs of diarrhoea, stomach prolapse, uterusprolapse or other prolapse. If the spleen is injured and cannot get qi to themuscles the patient will have weak muscles and in worse case scenarios muscleatrophy. If the spleen is unable to manifest in the mouth and lips the signswill be chronic gum bleeding, sever dryness in the mouth, tooth aches, poorappetite and no taste.
Diagnosing the Eastern way. As well as having the symptomsfrom the effected organ there is the myriad of other diagnostic tools that aChinese medical practitioner will use.(Jing-Nuan, 1993) “ I haveheard that to see the patients colour is to know his illness. It is called agift of vision.
Taking the patients pulse is to know his disease. It is calleda gift of spirit. Questioning the patient about his disease is to know itslocation. It is called a gift of technique” Diagnosis in Chinese medicineis complicated yet very telling.
We can find out about the health and diseaseof organs. There are several forms of information gathering. They involve theface and its topography, colour, shine etc.
, the individual organs of the facehold clues, like the ears, nose and mouth, and of course the pulses which caninform us of not only which organs aren’t performing but also which elements. The tongue is a very reliablediagnostic tool, areas of the tongue relate to organs. There are 4 main aspectsto diagnosing a tongue: Body colour, Body shape, Coating, Moisture. The pulse can give verydetailed information about the state of the organs, the state of yin and yangand the state of qi. It can be palpated on the radial artery as per the’classic of difficulties’ or at the nine different arteries. 3 on the head, 3on the hands, 3 on the legs. ‘ Simple questions’ ch20(Maciocia, 1989)ConclusionIn looking at the diagnosticprocess for both eastern medicine and western medicine it appears that bothdisciplines aim for the same outcome, a healthier and disease-free patient. Thewestern approach is streamlined to find a specific issue within the body thatcan be isolated and treated accordingly with medicines or even surgery.
Theeastern approach is to look at the body as a whole system of working parts thatonly function well in conjunction with all the other parts. To ascertain whichorgans are overworking and which are underworking a full and thorough investigationof the system as a whole is carried out, the premise of the treatment is thenbased on boosting or sedating the element/organs that are causingthe instability helping the body’s system to return to its natural rhythm. References Baerheim, A., 2001.
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