Integration/Awareness of Traditional Chinese Medical Treatments/Beliefs

Many Chinese still believe in traditional Chinese medical treatments. Therefore, a physician’s disregard or lack of respect for these beliefs may lead to distrust. Open discussion and flexibility may go a long way in treating the elder Chinese-American patient (Lassiter, 1995).

Examples of Traditional Treatments


Meridians are pathways of energy, or “chi”, which lead to various organs. Acupuncture is the common professional practice of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the U.S. since many states require a license to practice.


Using heated bamboo cups to reduce stress, congestion, colds. This is a practice that may be interpreted as abusive since it can leave bruises on the skin.


Use of plant or animal parts in the treatment of illness and deficiencies and to stimulate the body’s “chi”. This is the most important and common method of TCM. Many Chinese-Americans use herbs to treat the side effects of modern medicine, especially cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

One of its key concepts is to treat according to deficiencies or excesses of “chi.” But some patients may extrapolate this concept to other treatments which may not be medically effective. A common example is that a liver cancer patient has ascites due to low production of albumin (a deficiency in albumin), and demands that albumin be replaced, even though there is no medical evidence of its effectiveness.

Yin/Yang Concept

Elders may avoid the cold, and may avoid certain foods considered to be “cold” foods.


Often used to help alleviate stress.