Modern Medicine (Allopathic Medicine) uses a system to categorize chronic disease. Most often, diseases are categorized by the organ system that they affect. As an example, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart attack can all be placed under the heading of Cardiovascular Disease. The same diseases in TCM can be classified in both similar categories but also in different categories at the same time. In an acute situation you can see the similarities in the symptoms that a patient is experiencing in both Modern Medicine and TCM. Outside of an acute situation, TCM could have patterns that are different than Modern Medicine. Using the example of a heart attack, we can look at the symptom of chest pain. Modern Medicine may find damage to the heart muscle indicating a heart attack. TCM would see what is called “chest bi” which indicates a blockage of blood flow or qi movement. This is the similarity. Outside of the acute phase, modern medicine might look at lifestyle factors as a part of cause and the treatment. TCM would be looking for associated patterns to address as part of the cause and of the treatment. TCM sees all chronic disease as a pattern of disharmony that affects the body. This is an important concept for people to be aware of because it confirms that regardless of the illness that you are suffering from, we can help.
Quality of Life
When dealing with chronic disease, the most beneficial thing that TCM can offer is better quality of life. Quality of life is inherently a TCM concept although it is not actively discussed in this manner. One reason for this is because quality of life is actively a part of the treatment process. The theory of nurturing the spleen in TCM is reflected in the parts of treatment that strengthen the qi. Having the ability to continuously increase a person’s qi throughout their life will benefit overall health.