Hospitals have long been seen as the purveyor of the latest and greatest that technology and medical advances have to offer. Cutting edge procedures that move medicine forward. The equipment used in these hospitals can dissect the structure of the human body down to cellular and molecular levels, analyze compounds, and spit out critical information on what the patient’s body is lacking or overproducing.
Even today, the modern Western medical approach has been to view the body on this cellular level. Identify the disease, pinpoint its location in the body, and eradicate it. For some diseases, this approach works. Consequently, it is most valuable to disease that is localized and easily separated from the host human. It’s limitations lie in the fact that the entire body is seen as a machine with specific, modular parts. A part may be removed from the body, fixed, and replaced without any effect on the rest of the machine. Disease is based on a scientifically diagnosed set of signs and symptoms and thus, treated similarly for every patient. No distinction is made for different causes of disease, for the disease itself is to be treated, regardless of the source.
In the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approach, the body is an organism working synergistically. All of the many cells, tissues, and organs work together and enhance each other’s function. The impact of a single cell will have ripple effect throughout the entire system, no matter how small. Viewing the body as a whole organism gives the medical professional an idea of how disease is affecting the entire body. Then, through all of the diagnostic signs and symptoms, the root cause of the disease is sought out and the whole person is treated, not just the disease. This important difference is where TCM practitioners believe that the strength of the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Since every patient is unique, similar diseases may be treated using different acupuncture points and herbs, etc. The drawback here is that at times, the body may not recover from the disease without having the diseased part removed, or treated using more aggressive methods.
By combining both Eastern and Western forms of medicine, there is a larger scope of care that can be offered. Medical treatment and healing can work on multiple levels, simultaneously from a microscopic level and a macroscopic level. High technology equipment can study and monitor the effects of a multidimensional blending of pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, acupuncture, herbs, yoga, meditation etc., to further treatment of diseases and enhance overall health. Since there are many U.S. hospitals creating an integrative medical environment, below are a few of just the California hospitals creating a union between Eastern and Western medicine:
Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine – San Diego, CA
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine – San Francisco, CA
Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine – Irvine, CA
Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine – Palo Alto, CA