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As an acupuncture clinic in Bethesda, we acknowledge that traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine are vastly different. Chinese medicine, such as acupuncture, is a health care system that was developed thousands of years ago and is based on techniques originated from the Yin and the Yang. Its focus is on the entire body and the flow of qi. Optimal health occurs when there is a balanced flow of qi. Western medicine, on the other hand, is more recent and is solely based on scientific technology. Chinese medicine is a great way to heal the body naturally and over the last decade, more and more Westerners have been gravitating toward traditional Chinese methods to alleviate sicknesses and boost the health of body and mind.

 Currently, both Chinese medicine and Western medicine are supported by the World Health Organization, yet they remain quite distinct. Let us look at the most prominent differences between Chinese medicine and Western medicine.

 Differences in diagnostic practices

The diagnosis process of Western medicine differs significantly from that of Chinese medicine. Doctors practicing Western medicine will examine the body fluids and tissues and will also use modern scientific instruments (blood or urine test, X-ray, ultrasound) to determine the problem. When making a diagnosis in Chinese medicine, the practitioner uses the “Wang Wen Wen Qie” method. This means that the practitioner will be looking, listening and smelling, asking, and touching to determine the problem.


The practitioner will pay close attention to the patient’s appearance, tongue, ears, and eyes and also observe the patient’s movements, mannerisms, and speech patterns.


The practitioner will listen closely to the sound and tenor of the patient’s voice to determine if it is loud, or sounds like a shout, sing, weeping, or a groan.

Touching or palpation:

The practitioner will use his/her hands to try to distinguish the patient’s pulse at different points on the patient’s body.


The practitioner will inquire about the symptoms, and the patient’s history and concerns.


Usually, practitioners of western medicine provide drugs and syrups to alleviate pain and sicknesses. In contrast, Chinese medicine will work to correct imbalances in the flow of qi to restore the natural flow and balance. Some of the treatment methods of Chinese medicine are acupuncture, massage, herbal remedies, diet therapy, and Chinese exercise.

Although both have their advantages, they can also complement each other when used concurrently. As we provide acupuncture in Bethesda we understand the healing power of Chinese medicine and how it can correct energy imbalances to heal the entire body.