Chinese Acupuncture vs. Western Medicine

Chinese Acupuncture

Chinese acupuncture

Chinese acupuncture is not a treatment, it’s a part of Chinese philosophy that explains how diseases develop in each particular individuum and what kind of actions are necessary to fix the problem. Because food and medicine are interwoven, medicine can be traced back to the beginning of time. Other foods, such as spices used in cuisine around the world, can be used for therapeutic purposes, and some foods having medicinal properties are also utilized as everyday foods. Herbal medicine is a perfect example of this. When we are healthy, these therapeutic foods can be consumed without restriction, as in everyday dining; however, when we are sick, these medicinal foods or edible materials are restricted and utilized as a drug in the traditional sense, with the quantity used or consumed regulated.

5 elements in Chinese Acupuncture Philosophy

Modern Western medicine became the dominant medical practice as we progressed toward industrialization, with penicillin as a crucial breakthrough in disease treatment and exploration. Herbal therapy has increasingly lost its dominance in disease treatment since then. More and more molecules have been produced for treating many known diseases as a result of this great breakthrough in treating infectious diseases. Since then, life expectancy has risen dramatically, and newer, more targeted treatments have allowed us to combat infectious and chronic diseases. We are facing new diseases associated with aging as a result of this increasing life expectancy, and scientists have discovered that single-molecule medications are no longer effective in treating more intricate problems. Understanding the contrasts between herbal therapy and Western medicine will help us address this rising dilemma. A new way of dealing with age-related health issues is urgently needed.

We are faced with the decision of whether to use traditional or contemporary medicine. Surgery, moxibustion, hot cupping, acupuncture, massage, herbal medicine, and nutraceutical medicine are all examples of traditional medicine, sometimes known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Surgery and, most typically, single-molecule medications are part of modern medicine, also known as Western medicine. Here, we’d like to share our thoughts on these two approaches with readers in order to help them choose the best strategy for treating an illness they’re interested in.

The main distinctions between western medicine and Chinese acupuncture

Western medicine seeks to solve an issue that already exists. A. Chinese acupuncture practitioner examines a patient’s symptoms and appearances (eye, skin, and tongue color, as well as pulse), and then aims to heal the total systemic condition while avoiding any potential negative consequences.

  1. Western medicine treats symptoms and the target or target organ as if it were a separate entity from the rest of the body, rather than as one integrated system. Western medicine employs lab tests to diagnose patients and concentrates on treating symptoms rather than addressing the body’s negative impacts.
  2. Chinese acupuncture emphasizes the body’s holistic response to therapy and views it as one integrated biosystem. Treatment improves the overall health of the body, including the immune system, while also addressing the specific disease at hand.

Treatments start working at a certain point.

  1. Because Western medicine has quick or rapid effects, it is very beneficial for life-threatening disorders including infectious infections. However, despite being a life-saving surgery or method, the biggest difficulty with these medications is the potential harm they may do to other sections of the body. Some modern medications have the potential to harm other portions of the body permanently. Antibiotic treatment with tetracycline, for example, might have side effects such as persistent tooth discoloration.
  2. Chinese acupuncture and Chinese medicine is intended to treat ailments as well as prevent them. When compared to Western medicine, the onset of pharmacological efficacy takes longer, but it is safer to employ because it considers probable side effects. It can also help to prevent the side effects of medicines employed in Western medicine.

Duration of the benefit of Chinese acupuncture

  1. Because Chinese acupuncture can affect or transform the immune system as a whole, it can help avoid future problems or recurrences of illnesses that Western medicine can’t treat. As a result, Chinese medicine targets the disease’s fundamental cause, whereas Western medicine can sometimes merely treat the symptoms.
  2. Western medication has an instant effect but loses its function fast due to rapid metabolism, therefore it has no long-term benefits but may have long-term negative consequences.

The distinctions in mechanism

  1. Western medicine focuses predominantly on the use of single molecular medications, making it easier in research to identify targeted molecules and related signal pathways. As a result, chemical synthesis is used in the development of the majority of medications.
  2. Rather than employing single chemicals on single targets, Chinese acupuncture attempts to address the biosystem as a whole. The goal is to alter the body’s bio-environment (total immune system) in order to create long-term benefits. Components in Chinese acupuncture usually act as a single recipe, therefore they’re.

Western medicine and Chinese acupuncture have similar purposes.

  1. Both Chinese acupuncture and Western medicine strive to treat the disease’s fundamental cause. However, there are numerous discrepancies in their techniques.
  2. In order to heal diseases, Chinese acupuncture and Western medicine may target the same molecule or pathways. As a result, they may have similar therapeutic benefits in the treatment of some disorders.

Combining western and Chinese acupuncture provides the best treatment results.

  1. Using one way or the other to cure sickness is neither intrinsically good nor bad. Combining Western medicine and Chinese acupuncture is a good idea. The optimal method is a combination therapy that uses Western medicine to relieve current symptoms while also using Chinese medicine to address the disease’s fundamental cause and avoid recurrence. The Chinese acupuncture approach works as an assistant addresser and messenger in this strategy, which incorporates Western medicine as a significant component.
  2. Traditional Chinese acupuncture has a principle named “Jun-Chen-Zuo-Shi” that encompasses four functions:
    • Denominator or key element: A medicine or chemical that directly combats or targets a disease’s pathogenic cause (ie. interferon or anti-viral drug that can kill tumor cells or viruses).
    • An assistant or enhancer is a medicine or chemical that can help a drug perform better (ie. An adjuvant that can enhance the function of an antigen).
    • A medicine or chemical that can avoid harmful effects associated with the denominator or enhancer in order to restrict inappropriate reactions is known as a corrector or addresser of adverse effects (limiting factor).
    • A messenger is a medication or chemical that can transport the denominator’s function to the target region.

Precision medicine and personalized medicine are examples of target effects.

  1. While Western medicine has an immediate effect, it can have trouble reaching the target or target organ. Chinese medicine is a highly individualized and precise form of medicine. Western medicine, on the other hand, is a single-target medicine. They should be integrated as a result of this. Chinese medicine is unique in that it uses a Western medicine approach.
  2. TCM in general and Chinese acupuncture particularly are highly individualized and precise systems of treatment. First, the treatment formula must be customized to the patient’s response and needs, which are determined by an assessment of the patient’s symptoms (such as tongue and skin color). Second, Chinese medicine customizes the treatment by adding or removing certain substances based on the patient’s response to the treatment. Furthermore, depending on the patient’s symptoms, Chinese acupuncture might have several formulas for the same condition, making it a precision medicine. Western medicine, on the other hand, is usually in fixed doses of certain pharmaceuticals, such as pills or capsules, and so is not built for personalized or precision treatment.

The relationship between Chinese acupuncture and Western medicine

  1. Our immune system has been employed as a diagnostic tool in Western medicine, including immunotyping and tracking immunological responses (adopted immunity or acquired immunity, Th1 or Th2, autoimmune response, or immunotolerance). To measure bodily responses to treatment, Chinese medicine considers “Yin and Yang” or “Kidney deficit or spleen deficiency” as essential aspects.
  2. The immune system is a common link between Western and Chinese medicine. Western medicine can harness the immune system to treat cancer patients in a tailored and precise manner. We can uncover the misconnection between Chinese medicine and western medicine, and then find the optimal treatment technique for an illness, by quantifying Kidney and Spleen deficits.

What’s the difference between traditional Chinese acupuncture and western acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese acupuncture is founded on the notion that it may restore the flow of Qi, a life force that runs through the body, but western medical acupuncture is evidence-based and only given after a thorough diagnosis.

The distinction between western and eastern acupuncture is plainly defined. The western model is based on anatomy, physiology, and contemporary medical theories, whereas the eastern model, is based on philosophy, with a focus on yin, yang, and Qi.

Yin and yang, as well as Qi, are two key ideas in Chinese medicine. Qi (pronounced chi) is a term that refers to the vital energy that is believed to move along channels that connect human organs and functions.

Eastern acupuncture for diagnostic purposes generally looks at the tongue (in Chinese medicine, the tongue is thought to indicate the degree of health or imbalance of the body), pulse diagnostic, and the form of your ears, whereas western medicine, is more traditional.

Is western acupuncture considered to be safer than Chinese acupuncture?

When performed by a skilled practitioner, acupuncture is usually regarded as a safe treatment, with major consequences such as infections or tissue damage being exceedingly rare.

Acupuncture is currently recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for migraine, tension headaches, and lower back pain since it works and has an evidence base.

Chinese Acupuncture

It can also help with muscle spasms and tightness, so it’s good for people who have ‘put their back out’ or have tennis or golfers’ elbows.

A practitioner may needle across the chest for chest pain in eastern medicine, but I wouldn’t do it since it’s way too dangerous for a collapsed lung or needling the heart.

Leave a comment below or contact me on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn if you want to learn more about the distinctions between western and traditional acupuncture.


We feel that the ideal treatment technique for treating human sickness is to mix Chinese traditional medicine’s “Jun-Chen-Zhou-Shi” concept with Western medicine (Jun) and all other parts in the formula to avoid side effects.

Chinese acupuncture at Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic

Doctor Tsan, the medical director of the Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic has 40+ years of academic and clinical experience in Chinese acupuncture. His first acupuncture instructor in 1978 was a Chinese-born acupuncture practitioner Lin Tzin-Ie, who gave him the most treasured knowledge in 5 elements of philosophy, the meridian system, and authentic secret protocols for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Later in 1997, Dr. Tsan graduated with honor from the Beijing Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences for foreign physicians.

In May of 2022 Victor Tsan, MD appointed Chinese medical professional, Hú Dà Wèi, L.Ac aka David Wu, LAc to the position of Chief of Acupuncture Department of the Philadelphia Holistic Clinic. Dr. Wu Da-Wei works under the strict supervision of Dr. Tsan and treats various diseases and pain syndromes.

Hu Da-Wei, LAc

To schedule an appointment for an initial acupuncture visit, contact Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic at 267-314-7575 or use our online scheduling application.