Thanks Dale for your earlier reply, I hadn't considered that the herb that I mentioned earlier used in ST ulcer may have been mentioned by the practitioner as a point of interest - a consideration which probably nullifies what I had said.
To return to the main topic, I think the holism of TCM comes through the world view it creates. All things can be explained in terms of Yin, Yang, Qi, five phase etc, so that as practitioners we can take into account all things that are presented to us. With this world view it is even possible to explain non-TCM things in TCM terms; eg antiinflammatory medicines can be considered "cold" in nature, using TCM herb language (not that you would include asprin in a formula). So when it comes to treatment, even taking into account the genetic / geographical differences, these differences should present as factors we could rationalise with TCM (you might theorise that eskimos have more Yang constitutions to cope with the cold for example). Holism in TCM is in the connections we are able to observe and explain within the individual and between the individaul and everything else. Which is why we have clear explinations for things that western Drs wouldn't, eg why being out in the wind would cause a headache or stiff neck. So TCM is holistic because it links everything together. Thats how I see it anyway. I feel like I'm back in first year.
The problem with my description of holism though is that it is exclusive to TCM. So although other modalities would be considered holistic (like naturopathy), it would be a distinct system, incompatible in its practice, to TCM. Any thoughts?
Another Question: Are Western herbs as incompatible with TCM as antibiotics? TCM has a world view which decribes all things as Yin Yang, Five Phase ,etc. So does using western herbs fit into this system if western herbs are based on western science? Is Naturopathic holism distinct from TCM holism?