Shortcomings of Chinese medicine
Click here to see the table of contents

Western medicine, in its high regard for progress is intrinsically humble. By recognizing that there is more to discover, it acknowledges that the current approach is incomplete. The Chinese approach, a closed system, is unreceptive to revision from new understanding (Kaptchuck, 1983). There is a rigidity in the practise of this system of medicine and a reliance on traditional wisdom which may obstruct advancement (Hammer, 1990; Ho, 1998), In its contact with the West, Chinese medicine has begun to change for the first time in centuries, in a direction that addresses idiographic concerns rather than exclusively nomothetic psychological ideals (Hammer, 1990). This is new territory for Chinese culture, where proscription against individualism has been a cornerstone of Chinese society since Confucian times. In the West patients are often observers in a struggle for dominance between physician and disease. Conversely, Chinese medicine fosters the opportunity for self discovery (Hammer, 1990), however this opportunity was probably rarely encouraged in the culture in which the system developed, due to ideals fostered by the dominant social and political systems. Although the ideology inherent in the classical Chinese medical approach to psychopathology advocates equal emphasis on soma and psyche,blatant transgression of mental health norms carries extreme stigma.

next page

please click to return to the table of contents 

Copyright 1998 Ilanit Tof, All Rights Reserved.