Chinese Health Care System Chapter

Length: 6 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Healthcare Type: Chapter Paper: #6317288 Related Topics: Bioethics, Massage Therapy, Ethics In Healthcare, Hepatitis B
Excerpt from Chapter :

Global Health Care and Culture

Traditional Health Care Concepts

Modern Health Care in China and its Affordability

The public health system in China has been able to make progress in many aspects owing to the economic growth of the country. Problems like child mortality and life expectancy have shown considerable improvements over the last 20 years in conjunction with the rising economy. With significantly more hospital beds in the country compared to about 10 years ago, China has made all efforts to embrace the modern medical system and formulated policies to make modern health care affordable to every Chinese citizen (Mehlhorn, Wu & Ye, n.d.).

However give the above context, it is still a fact that Chinese system of health care is still governed and guided by the cultural values and traditions of ancient Chinese health care. This is in conformation to the ways the Chinese value their centuries old tradition and even after embracing the modern lifestyle in most aspects.

Keeping these values in mind, the Chinese government has taken a number of measures that essentially echo the traditional values of China and has tried to establish a basic and universal health care system to enable provision of safe, effective, convenient and low- cost health services to the 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Chinese Values

With the stupendous development in the Chinese economy, the Chinese have adopted the modern style of living. Modern amenities are abundant in china as in any of the developed countries. This also includes the health care amenities.

However even after the adoption of modern amenities and facilities, Chinese people still hold and maintain the diverse traditional beliefs and values. Such values that are still cherished by the Chinese relate to aspects like Confucian-based values such as harmony in interpersonal relationships, the emphasis of family over the individual, respect for elders and high value for formal education and literacy (Wang & Chan, 2010).

The Chinese culture also values the concept of "face," or dignity, prestige and status in the eyes of others. This relates to the manner in which the Chinese, as individuals and groups, conduct their actions and behavior and they consider that the wrongdoing of one individual can result in an entire group's loss of face. All these values are reflected in the way the Chinese formulate and conduct their health care system and medical decision making is often influenced by the stigma associated with illness and the concept that a stigma of one is a stigma for a family of group, influences their health behaviors.

Traditional Health Care Concepts

Chinese traditional values and approach to health care and illness stresses on the balance between the body, the mind and the spirit. This is commonly expressed as yin and yang. These concepts of balance between the internal and external, hot and cold or emptiness and excess symbolize the principle that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The Chinese values and culture believe that any of the balances cannot exist without the other, any imbalance in the above factors can lead to illness. This is the traditional concept of illness which often drives the way the Chinese approach health care in society, even modern health care systems (Cheung & Chen, 2010).

Traditional Chinese beliefs state that physical illness stems from an imbalance of yin and yang. Mental illness, on the other hand, is caused by an imbalance of emotional harmony. The consumption of specific foods or medicines is also believed in the Chinese tradition to be the cause of illness.

Therefore the Chinese values the maintenance of balance in life that encompasses the life, mind body and soul. The Chinese also value the importance of appropriately balanced diet that include the five traditional flavors of sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salt, for good health and prevention of illness. Hence the Chinese belief of a health through proper diet flows from the Chinese tradition and traditional values (Xu & Yang, 2009).

The concept of yang or hot and yin or cold is traditionally believed to be present in the


The primary health care concept, according to Chinese traditional values by to restoring balance between yang and yin - a yang illness is usually treated with yin foods and vice versa (Wang & Chan, 2010).

Therefore even while adopting the modern medical science and using allopathic medicines for treatment, the Chinese still hold the traditional ways of treatment and illness prevention important. And often inculcate these principles in treatment of common diseases. It is reflected in the way the Chinese attach importance to what they should or should not eat as part of treatment.

Another aspect of the influence of tradition in the health care system and the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease us the focus on the relationship between the body and environmental, social, and geographical factors and hence stress the importance of finding out and determining the root cause of a disease once it develops.

Traditional treatment methods like acupuncture, acupressure, massage and the use of compounds of herbs and metals is a part of the modern treatment in China. The above mentioned traditional forms of treatment stem from the belief of restore balance between lifestyle and relationships. Traditionally the Chinese believe that the body's life force and energy is connects to the various parts of the body as the energy travels through the body. These organs can thus be accessible through meridians at specific points on the body. Traditional treatment methods in China thus address the symptoms of diseases by a therapy that treats the points to access the body's balance. Treatment, other than modern medical treatment, in China is done by accessing multiple points in the body that can be used in conjunction as part of treatment for acute and chronic ailments.

The Chinese believes that this type of treatment helps in the nearly immediate relief of acute conditions and a lengthy period of time for treatment of chronic conditions in order to restore balance.

Extremely fine needles are inserted just below the skin on the body points in the acupuncture method treatment. Acupressure is a milder treatment method that uses the same points and the points are massaged singularly or together.

Modern Health Care in China and its Affordability

Even as the economy of the China continues to grow and is slated to become the largest global economy in the very near future, it is also a fact that the goodies of a vibrant economy has not managed to percolate the grass roots of the society. There are still sections of the society that do not have complete access to modern health care amenities.

It has been a common fact that people in China may delay seeking health care due to the lack of affordable care. This is a truth even today even though the rate has come down. This has been possible by a drive by the Chinese government in the last two decades to reform the urban health insurance system in order to create a single, standardized system that would increase the coverage.

One of the many dilemmas that Chinese people face in the initiation of treatment is the choosing from many resources and forms of treatment or deciding on a combination of the treatment methods.

In China, equal status is given to the methods of treatment of Chinese and Western medicine and people have a choice to choose between the two treatment methods and practice or a combination of both (, 2015).

The traditional Chinese health care system in China though primarily focuses on Chinese medicine adequate training is also imparted in Western medicine. Hence both the systems and methods can be used by traditional Chinese practitioners in the treatment and cure of patients.

Keeping in mind the importance that the Chinese attach to the traditional societal values that get reflected in their choice of treatment processes and methods, a section of them tend to rely on a combination of traditional and Western practices (Chin, 2005). For others, the only source of health care may be the reliance upon family and may make health decisions on the basis of what is best for the family instead of what is good of themselves. This is a clear reflection that Chinese tradition attaches to the family relations.

It is a well-known fact that often the Chinese may use traditional home remedies for minor illnesses such as colds while they choose proper professional advice and care of medical providers for more serious diseases like heart diseases, cancer, hepatitis and TB.

The traditional medical belief and value among a seci0ton of the Chinese that attach importance to the root cause of a disease rather than the symptoms and treatment of the root cause instead of the symptoms is reflected in the way they choose their modes and methods of treatment. Even while choosing a combined Chinese and western health care system for treatment of ailments, a large section of the Chinese opts to choose…

Sources Used in Documents:


Cheung, K., & Chen, H. (2010). Semantic Web for data harmonization in Chinese medicine. Chinese Medicine, 5(1), 2. doi:10.1186/1749-8546-5-2

Mehlhorn, H., Wu, Z., & Ye, B. Treatment of human parasitosis in traditional Chinese medicine.

PARKER, M. (2011). OVERSTATING VALUES: MEDICAL FACTS, DIVERSE VALUES, BIOETHICS AND VALUES-BASED MEDICINE. Bioethics, 27(2), 97-104. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8519.2011.01902.x

Social Values and Ethics for Communicating the Corporate Identity. (2012). Chinese Business Review, 11(07). doi:10.17265/1537-1506/2012.07.006,. (2015). Overview of Chinese Culture. Retrieved 20 July 2015, from

Cite this Document:

"Chinese Health Care System" (2015, July 21) Retrieved December 7, 2022, from

"Chinese Health Care System" 21 July 2015. Web.7 December. 2022. <>

"Chinese Health Care System", 21 July 2015, Accessed.7 December. 2022,

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