Seven conceptual differences could be identified between biomedicine (BM), and traditional medicine (TM):
- BM tries to make it better (meliorism), TM accepts with grace;
- BM takes control over nature (dominance), TM tries to strike a balance and bring harmony;
- BM would do something and interfere actively (activism), TM would rather wait and see;
- BM would intervene sooner than later (timeliness), TM would apply cautious deliberation;
- BM would apply aggressive therapies, stronger is better (strong measures), TM would take gentle approaches;
- BM plans ahead, newer is better (future orientation), TM takes life as it comes (time honoured);
- BM treats similar disease the same (standardization), TM recognizes differences (individualized).
n References: Putsch III RW. Cross-cultural communication: The special case of interpreters in health care. JAMA 1985;254(23):3344-48
n Sockalingum adapted from Hayes, Cultural Competence Continuum, 1993 and Terry Cross Cultural Competency Continuum.