Both TCM and Naturopathic practitioners seek to optimize the health of patients by recommending natural, herbal and physical therapies.
The main difference is that TCM practitioners rely on diagnosis based on the differentiation of syndromes (Bian Zheng) while Naturopaths often base their diagnosis on lab test results and other “modern medical” measures.
Can you give me an example?
Sure. Let’s imagine a 48 year old woman who is complaining of hot flashes and insomnia. Most naturopaths and MD’s would agree that this is due to an imbalance of hormones, and prescribe natural or synthetic hormones as a supplement. A TCM doctor would ask many questions to determine a pattern or syndrome, then prepare a herbal formula to help strengthen the relevant organ systems so that the woman’s body regains the strength to regulate the nighttime hot flashes and insomnia.
Many TCM doctors are of the opinion that the use of hormones, whether “natural” or synthetic disrupt the body’s natural systems. As my professor Dr. Liu Fang used to say, taking hormones is like cashing out your RRSP’s. It may feel great at the time, but later in life, you might regret it.
Either way, whether you choose to see a Doctor of Naturopathic or Traditional Chinese Medicine, you are making a great decision towards improving your health in a natural way.