Oriental Medicine, or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is as diverse in its practice as western medicine. It is employed in both acute and chronic illnesses, and it includes internal and external pharmacological therapy. Chinese herbal medicine includes the use of plant, animal and mineral substances. Preparations are administered, similar to western medicine, via a number of routes:
- oral consumption (such as pills, teas and powders)
- nasogastric administration
- topical applications
- vaginal and rectal preparations
- ear and eye preparations
- intravenous, intramuscular,
- subcutaneous injections
- acupuncture, including traditional manual needle stimulation
- modern usage of laser and electrical stimulation
- embedding needles
- Chinese massage
- dietary and lifestyle advice
- specific techniques including moxibustion, cupping, scraping, point injection therapy, breathing, movement and meditation
TCM is based on an understanding of health and illness which differs substantially from that in western medicine. Clinical phenomena are interpreted by reference to theories of bodily operation which are alien to the western-trained scientific eye. A brief overview of the key differences between Oriental and Western medicine can be provided.
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