Since young, I've only visited doctors trained in modern western medicine. Usually the pills and liquids prescribed to me worked, or so I would think as I recover days later. However as I grew up and learnt biology, we were taught one important fact – because we have our immune system therefore we are still alive now. Here even without any drug interventions, we would have recovered from our sickness all by ourselves, as long as our immune system was in good working conditions. However as humans, we're always impatient and want to feel well again as soon as possible or there are times when our immune systems just are not at their peak conditions and our bodies can not cure itself. This is where medicine comes in.
Modern Western medicine auditors illness as being triggered by something that causes a series of wrong chemical relays resulting in bodily malfunctions, and sets out to correct this by destroying that something or intercepting somewhere in this signal relay and hence stop the spread of the illness or even get rid of it. On the other hand, Traditional Chinese Medicine tackles this issue of falling ill by strengthening the immune system, while at the same time expunging the disease causative agent if necessary. Precisely because of the way they work, Modern Western medicine typically exhibit a faster recovery rate, whereas Traditional Chinese medicine makes an individual more able to fight of pathogens and less likely to fall ill in the long run.
Another issue between these two kinds of medicine that comes under fire is that Modern Western medicine is backed by solid scientific research, whereas there is insufficient scientific research that can support the use of Traditional Chinese medicine. I am definitely not arguing against the strong evidence that modern western medicine has from research, but western medicine is termed as 'modern' simply because it revolutionized about 200 years ago, whereas Traditional Chinese medicine has a history of more than 2000 years. The long history of Traditional Chinese medicine indicates that since its crude origins, it has been tested on many other humans, been put through the test of natural selection, and still has managed to evolve and survive to this very day. This certainly has to be a proof for its efficiency.
After all the research and history behind both these fields of medicine, they too have their share of failures. Modern Western medicine's research is based on clinical trials that require a certain statistical percentage of successfully treated cases before it can be used. However, there are those on the other side of the percentage – the unsuccessfully treated ones. Likewise Traditional Chinese Medicine history has been dotted with unsuccessful treatments that triggered in deaths. However without these failures, both kinds of medicine would not have been able to progress to where they both stand today.
Therefore, it can not be simply concluded which field of medicine is better. Both Traditional Chinese medicine and Modern Western medicine have different treatment principles and methods, results and failures. As long as they both continue to benefit mankind, I believe we should acknowledge that both Traditional Chinese medicine and Modern Western medicine have a place in our society, and our society can do with both.