It’s Summertime and the living is easy…especially if you are in good health. It’s July, it’s hot, it’s humid. You could go to the beach or the pool and rub sandy elbows with the crowd, or you could find a good book and sit quietly and peacefully under a shade tree (or for me, down at the pond where it is always 5-10 degrees cooler than up on the deck) with a cool glass of iced tea or lemonade. Prop your bare-feet up, relax, wiggle your toes and get comfortable.
Now back to your health: If you are blessed with good health, you probably do not knowingly do things that are detrimental to your health. Hopefully, you take an active part in maintaining your health as well as your family’s health. One of the ways I help maintain my health is using some Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methods which are thousands of years old. Just in case you don’t think TCM is legit, it has been used for preventing illness and healing for thousands of years. I figure if it didn’t work, after two or three thousand years they would have found another health system. TCM is the oldest holistic medical system still in practice in the world.
Tai Chi, Qigong, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Herbs and Healing Foods are all a part of TCM. Now only do I practice and teach Tai Chi (Taiji), Qigong (Chinese Yoga), and meditation, I also encourage my students to explore the world of TCM and healing herbs and foods. For example, we just finished our Friday morning Tai Chi in the Treetops class on my second level deck. I grow lots of herbs in large pots on the deck, and as we finished up our Tai Chi form, I suggested we “browse” a bit. We sampled chocolate mint (for digestion), licorice mint (tastes just like licorice without the sugar and artificial flavorings), wood sorrel (has a tart lemony burst and high in Vitamin C), spicy basil, and pineapple sage. We sat an extra half hour and talked about the many virtues of these plants and food in general necessary for good health and healing. You see, I don’t believe there is any ONE thing that is responsible for good health, so therefore, any class I teach embraces holistic aspects. Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation are great for health, but even if I practice these arts faithfully every day and then eat junk food, sodas, and other foods bathed in chemical fertilizers and pesticide sprays, I am going to have more nasty symptoms than if I eat clean, wholesome, organic fruits and veggies. If I eat junk food, I am probably only getting 50% of the benefits of healthy living.
But there is another 50/50 that many do not practice and that relates to you being 50% responsible for your health and your health care professional/practitioner/doctor (HCP) responsible for the other 50%. Too many of us give the HCP 100% responsibility for our health. Who is more vested in your health, you or your HCP? Let’s go a little deeper into the 50/50 rule.
Allopathic (Western Medicine) treats symptoms and is great in emergencies, but poor in prevention and chronic disease. TCM (Eastern Medicine) emphasizes prevention, and if an illness occurs, the outcome is only 50% the responsibility of your practitioner. The other 50% of healing is up to the patient. Do you accept 50% responsibility of your health and healing? If not, according to TCM, you will never achieve complete healing and, in fact, you may be responsible for more serious diseases developing which may cause a complete health crash. Those who suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, and other illnesses did not anticipate these problems when they were younger. They were young and healthy and never gave staying well into old age a second thought. They just assumed they were healthy then and they would be health later in life. Fast food, a beer keg party and junk food didn’t seem to hurt their health any, so why bother with healthful foods and drinks. That’s for the food nerds! By the time they start having symptoms, it may be too late to regain 100% of their health, because the problem with some illnesses is that they are not reversible, so medicine can only relieve the symptoms.
For example, if your Health Professional (HP) recommended you change your diet and increase your exercise because your blood sugar levels were elevated and may foretell the beginning of Type II Diabetes, did you do your research and figure out which foods would continue to raise your blood sugar and eliminate them from your table, your cupboard and your fridge? Did you choose to eat only food and take supplements that would support your systems and keep your blood sugar at a healthful level? Remember, your HCP is only 50% responsible for your health. Or did you ignore the advice and resign yourself to taking meds to control your blood sugar. Now, you are giving the HP 100% responsibility and taking absolutely no responsibility for your health. At least you can blame the HP for your escalating health problems, unless, of course, you run across someone like me who will tell you to put your big boy/girl pants on and get to work!
Go to your Doc, get your check-up, have the tests run and then research and discuss your options for healing. In my opinion and in the opinion of many others, Western medicine is excellent at testing/diagnostics but lousy at preventing or curing chronic conditions. TCM, on the other hand, is excellent at preventing and curing chronic diseases, or as Dr. Aihan Kuhn says–who is trained in both Western and Eastern healing methods–“Chinese medicine is effective at preventing disease and Western medicine is effective in dealing with medical crises…The goal of TCM is to create wholeness and harmony, restore the balance within a person, break any blockage in the body’s energy channels, and promote energy and blood circulation. This not only initiates the natural healing process, but also speeds up the natural healing process. Having studied both Western and Eastern medicine, I believe that Chinese medicine is much more difficult to learn, more complex, and has more potential in human healing. TCM provides us with so much to explore. Chinese medicine is a vast treasury of knowledge. It is the product of several millennia of practical experience in dealing with sickness. Chinese medicine can help relieve or heal all kinds of ailments with over 90 percent effectiveness treating non-traumatic ailments. It is a well-respected ancient healing art, a time-honored medicine that is now just beginning to be understood and recognized throughout the world for the tremendous benefits it can bring. Chinese medicine is practiced side by side and has equal value with Western medicine in China’s hospitals, medical centers, and clinics. In China, people have the choice of both Western and Chinese medicine.”
If you like what Dr Aihan Kuhn has to say, you may want to pick up her book, Simple Chinese Medicine, A Beginner’s Guide to Natural Healing and Well-Being. I have many books on TCM but this is one of the easiest to understand that I have ever read. Wish this book had been available when I first became interested in TCM, because I would have understood so much more so much sooner! And it introduced me to the 50/50 rule. Dr. Kuhn’s book, a shade tree in a peaceful setting, and a cool glass of ice tea…who could ask for more?
Important Note! The information in Wholistically Speaking is for educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose and/or treat diseases. If you have a health problem, I highly recommend you consult a competent health practitioner and educate yourself before embarking on any course of treatment.