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Western vs Chinese Medicine in Fertility

Both systems have strengths and weaknesses, but are often used together to address the same issues.

Photo by Elina Fairytale from Pexels
Chinese Herbs - Photo by Elina Fairytale from Pexels

Chinese Medicine can work effectively alongside western medicine to support a journey to pregnancy and beyond. Both medical systems have different strengths and weaknesses but are often used to address the same illness or problems.

There is a lovely story, retold by fertility expert Jane Lyttleton, in which the two systems - Western and Chinese medicine are compared.

"Imagine the patient is a round table, which in its diseased state has grown sharp corners. It now looks like a square table - oh dear! The table goes to see a specialist in corners. 'No problem at all, my dear table. We'll have you round again in no time at all.'

Well, right he was, more or less. The operation was performed the very next day. The surgeon, wielding a saw, quickly removed the table's corners. The procedure was quite painful but over and done with rapidly and efficiently. Unfortunately, he cut a little too close on the forth corner and the table lost part of one of its legs. The top however, whilst not entirely round and smooth no longer had sharp corners.

But imagine if the table had come to see the old Chinese professor himself. 'Tut, tut, how did this corner business come about?' he would have enquired and then carefully and thoroughly felt the wood of the table's corners, top and legs. 'Yes' he might say quietly after some time, 'I can help you be a round table again.' Then he would pull out a small file, apply it to one corner and begin to file. He would file and file. And even though it might be tedious and require a lot of patience on the part of the table and the doctor, and it might take up to one year before the table would be truly its old round self again, eventually it would be beautiful smooth and strong and perfectly round again.

The side effects of western medicine - the rough contours and the damaged legs - are sometimes a high price to pay for immediate effective treatment. But this promise of a fast and effective result is what makes us choose this type of treatment, so often, despite its risks. Of course, if having 'corners' is a life threatening situation, then fast and effective is what we want. But where corners are not so critical, but are more of a threat to the quality of our life, then the slower and more subtle approach has its advantages."

Jane Lyttleton, Treatment of Infertility with Chinese Medicine, 2e, 30 May 2013, pp4-5.

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