To the Ideology of East–West Dialogue: The Reconciliation of Zhen Jiu Theory and Western science

Original article

Alexey M. Vasilenko,                            

Chief Scientific Researcher, National Medical Research Centre of Rehabilitation and Balneology of Ministry of Health of Russian Federation, Russia

Address: 32 Novy Arbat, Moscow 121099, Russia


Article ID: 020410402

Published online: 21 December 2018




Quoting (Chicago style): Vasilenko, Alexey M. 2018. “To the ideology of East–West dialogue: The reconciliation of Zhen Jiu theory and Western science.” Beacon J Stud Ideol Ment Dimens 1, 020410402.

Language: Chinese

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The theoretical foundations of the ideology of reconciliation of Eastern and Western paradigms in science, are considered with the use of examples of Chinese Zhen Jiu approach and Western medicine. It is demonstrated that the discrimination between Eastern and Western science has purely ideological nature and may be overcome to achieve the integrity of scientific thought.

Key words: Eastern science, Western science, ideological split, medicine, Zhen Jiu

Extended summary in English


Since the post-positivism time of elaborating major criteria of science in the West in 1960s, the ideology of discriminating between Eastern and Western types of knowledge, emerged. According to this “scientific” ideology, the East science closely linked to ancient Chinese, Indian and South-East Asian philosophic traditions, lacks the basic principles of functional systemacy and rationality. We devote our article to prove that this ideologic assumption may be too rash and sometimes even wrong. To support our view, we chose modern East and West medicine, particularly complementary medicine, as the main example of demonstrating the similarities between East and West approaches in the modern science. Our aim is to show that the ideology of discriminating between the two geographical types of science, should be gradually overcome, since there is an urgent necessity in achieving the integrity of our knowledge.


We are considering Zhen Jiu scientific and medical methodology based upon the ancient Chinese concepts of Yin–Yang, Wu Xing, Qi, and genetically related to the medical practices of Zang Fu, Jing Luo and Xue widespread in the Far East and South-East China. The history of using Zhen Jiu techniques summarised in Zhen Jiu Da Cheng, the medical composition of the Ming dynasty time, counts at least three thousand years in East, South and South-East Asia. In the Western medicine, the Zhen Jiu principles begot complementary treatment approaches, including reflexology and acupuncture. These approaches have been attested as appropriate for the application by physicians in a great many of countries where the Western type of science is recognised, e.g. UK, EU countries, USA, Canada, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. Despite several researchers argue that the reflexology technology and its core theoretical principles are quite modern and not connected with ancient Asian scientific and philosophical knowledge, we discovered that there are many cognitive parallels and historical bonds between Zhen Jiu theory and modern complementary medicine in the West.


The analysis performed allows us to conclude that the general methodology of Zhen Jiu as an Eastern precursor of Western reflexology and acupuncture, corresponds to all major criteria of scientific method of cognition developed in 1960s in the post-positivism programme. It also answers the principles of rationality on which scientific knowledge is based in the Western world. The etiological, pathogenetic, diagnostic, and therapeutic aspects of Zhen Jiu meet all the criteria of consistency: agreement with the requirement of constant inherent structure presence; interdependence with the environment; presence of hierarchy of notions; multiplicity of description; intersubjective controllability. Not only the Zhen Jiu scientific propositions comply with the basic principles and possibility of purposeful medical treatment of human functional systems at various levels. We demonstrate that Zhen Jiu theoretical core is in no way different than the renowned philosophical systems of the West that gave rise to the emergence of “science criteria,” namely Hegelianism, positivism, atomism, natural philosophy.


The only section of the Zhen Jiu methodology that has not yet received an adequate interpretation from the viewpoint of modern Western science, is the syndrome description principle. As long as traditional mythological phrases common in the East are used, and similar descriptions of pathological conditions and names of syndromes are applied, those who use them will not reach a satisfactory consensus with representatives of the Western conventional medicine.


We have a need in reconsidering the existing ideological barriers to further integration of Eastern and Western science in Russia, the United States and Europe. For this integration, adequate semantic dictionaries should be elaborated that can interlink the concepts of traditional Eastern science and philosophy, and the positivist requirements of the modern Western science.

© 2018 Alexey M. Vasilenko.
Licensee The Beacon: Journal for Studying Ideologies and Mental Dimensions.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( that permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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