Testing the diagnosis {Health issue}


This article discusses about integrating traditional and scientific medical systems.

The traditional way

  • Indian and Chinese traditional systems and the more recent homeopathy. All of them are together called ‘traditional medicine’.
  • The major doctrine in the Chinese system is that Qi, life’s vital energy, flows via ‘meridians’ that connect all organs and tissues.
  • In homoeopathy, the basic doctrine is that molecules of chemicals that simulate symptoms similar to those in illnesses, given in minute and non-toxic quantities, are the remedies.
  • Ayurveda has theThridosha doctrine. Imbalances between three hypothetical doshas cause illnesses; remedies are herbal concoctions, oils, oil massages, special diets, purgation, deworming, etc.
  • The principlesimilia similibus curentur (likes cure likes) is implied in the name homeopathy, in contrast to allopathy (synonym of scientific medicine), in which antidotes counter the causes of diseases.
  • In traditional systems, doctrines and therapeutics are given and fixed. Students accept them en route to becoming physicians of such systems. Traditional and scientific systems follow contrasting definitions of ‘truth’.

Scientific Medicine

  • Scientific medicine developed and grew in Germany, Austria, France, Britain and the U.S. during the 18th and 19th centuries through an iterative and cumulative process.
  • Natural sciences (physical and biologic, including microbiology, biochemistry and genetics) with their methods of inquiry and emphasis on objective evidence heavily influenced its growth, which continued in the 20th century and is still continuing.
  • Scientific medicine can and must question and revise dogmas, concepts, explanations and therapeutics through research inquiries — that is what science is all about.
  • Scientific system is open to verification, physicians have accountability to make evidence-based diagnosis and formally recommended remedies. Any two independent physicians are required to make the same diagnosis and the same guidelines of therapy.
  • All diseases have been named, numbered and classified into a compendium — the International Classification of Diseases, the 10th edition being in current use and 11th edition in the making.




  • Scientific medicine demands ‘accountability’ on the part of the physician — for ‘correct’ diagnosis and treatment.
  • Since such verifications and detailed classifications are not present in traditional medical systems, a physician diagnoses and treats as best as he/she could, but without verifiability or accountability.
  • Scientific system is far too complex to be mastered by one person; hence the need for specialities and specialisations and diagnostic laboratory services.
  • Therapies in traditional medicines are generally harmless.
  • Hence patients do not face much risk.
  • Traditional system is not too complex


Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) permits integrated practice of AYUSH while MCI is still debating on this issue.

China has bilateral integration of systems of Medicine, both traditional and conventional.

China has substantially reduced the gap and has helped to develop a unique integrative model of health care delivery system and achieving good health and decreasing mortality rate

Traditional medicine in India

India has about 500,000 registered Ayurvedic (Traditional Medicine) practitioners supported with 300 Ayurvedic colleges producing 20,000 Undergraduate and 2500 Postgraduate Ayurvedic doctors every year in India but this system runs parallel in India with medical / modern medicine.

Source: The Hindu

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