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If you are one who wants to expand your treatment options to natural remedies and traditional medicine for all that ails you, you might want to ask your doctor next time about Chinese medicine in Japan or visit your local drug store for some Kanpouyaku OTC remedies.
When we go to a doctor and receive a prescription it is usually for “Western” drugs – modern treatments developed by one of the major pharmaceutical companies. In Japan, we are often privileged to have access to the unique benefits of both the Western and Eastern sides of the world of medicine. Doctors in Japan often prescribe both modern and traditional medicine to their patients. Natural remedies abound in Japan.
The main philosophical differences between Western and Eastern medicine is how they each tackle the medical problem. Western medicine tends to confront the issue head on and look at the human body in parts with their own unique issues to be treated with specific medications. Eastern or more commonly known as Chinese medicine, called “Kanpouyaku” (漢方薬) in Japanese, looks at the human body as a whole. Eastern medical philosophy views the body as integrated and therefore one needs to tend to the entire person – A systemic approach to bring back balance and heal specific problems. Although most clinics and hospitals have Kanpou prescription options, there are also facilities with doctors that specialize in Eastern medicine and create prescriptions tailored to your needs.
In recent years, the numbers of doctors prescribing Kanpou has increased and there are OTC Kanpou products available at drug stores for different kinds of symptoms as well. Patients, for whom Western drugs don’t work well, can opt for Eastern medicine and vice-versa. I for one don’t like to take medicinal drugs whenever a problem presents itself. If possible, I’d like to make my trips to the doctors a once in a blue moon or a last resort kind of occasion. But nevertheless, every once in while the body goes over the tipping point and I find myself sick. My first action is to fight it off with sleep and home remedies like ginger tea or the all-star, chicken noodle soup. Then, I’ll go for Chinese medicine, a natural form of medicine compared to most Western drugs, usually in powder form. If that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll reach for the stronger drugs, either OTC or those prescribed by a doctor.