At The Cutting Edge Of The Future Of Healthcare

Have you ever considered how health care evolves over time? The health care practiced today is very different from health care of the past.  Asking what health care means brings many responses. Health care as a term encompasses many kinds of health “interventions”. Acupuncture, as part of traditional Chinese medicine, is certainly an important part of today’s health care. Check out the link below to see what’s happening on other fronts:

What Kind Of Tree Are You?

Elm Tree by kevinkpc - (Catching Up)
Elm Tree, a photo by kevinkpc – (Catching Up) on Flickr.

When patients are trying to figure out traditional Chinese medicine’s angle on human health I often end up explaining by using an analogy of a person being a tree.

You can be whatever kind of tree you want to be. Your chief concern(s) are like a limb (or limbs if you have more than one issue). If we are considering only the limb in question, it looks like the limb is an independent thing. Likewise, multiple limbs look independent of each other. Everyone knows however, that the limb isn’t the whole tree. In fact, the limb doesn’t exist without the rest of the tree. All limbs originate from the same trunk and root system. An acupuncturist is always considering the limb(s) but also the entire tree. When we are formulating a treatment plan we can treat just the limb(s) in question, just the roots of the issue or a combination of both. When treating the “root’ causes of an issue, often not only does the limb of concern improve but the entire tree begins to thrive.

What kind of tree are you?

Going-Someplace Shoes

Remember: just owning a pair of walking, running, yoga or water shoes doesn’t make you active any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Ha! Isn’t This Fun To Think About…

Last week I, yet again, had the opportunity for a great discussion with one of my patients. I have to steal a question she posed because it’s too wonderful not to share it. It’s not immediately practical in nature like many of the this blog’s posts but I can’t resist!

Thanks PR!

“What would a stereo look like if it were built using Taoist principles?”

I would LOVE no, ADORE hearing any responses to this question! Leave them in the comments section!

Making The Most Of Things With Mindfulness

Have you ever gone fishing, caught a beautiful fish, cleaned that fish and then wrapped that fish in packaging to keep it until you cooked it in just the way you like it? Have you ever bought fish sticks out of the freezer at your local supermarket? VERY different experiences. Granted, with the way we have all agreed that daily reality should go, most of us don’t have the time to fish on a regular basis but anytime you can connect/be involved with any of your food from it’s beginning to end is incredibly healthful. Just think about all the potential encoding that goes along with each step of our fish experience. To catch that fish maybe you were on a boat or shoreline in a beautiful location with friends or loved ones. At some point you would’ve had to learn how to clean and package fish; learning something new is wonderful for the brain. And then the cooking part- how satisfying is it to cook something delicious (dare we say nutritious?)  for yourself or others?

Just recently I had the opportunity to help friends with their coffee crop. We picked the beans, separated the beans from their skin (sorry- the correct terminology has escaped me so far!) and then helped package the roasted beans. The picture on the label is original artwork by the coffee grower. All this happened amongst friends on beautiful days in a spectacular location. Is it fair to say that this is the best coffee on planet Earth? Why yes, I would have to say it is.

What full-process food stories do have to share? Tell us about them in the comments section. Thanks!

The East And West Of Things

Recently, I was reminiscing about my teacher Dr. Cao. There are many reasons to love and admire him but one day he said something that made me admire him just a smidge more. He told a group of us that America was perfectly situated halfway between the East and the West (Asia and Europe) and therefore received (and made use of) the ideas of both. I LOVED this observation for all sorts of reasons! One result of this phenomenon that most often sticks in my mind is how it positively impacts Americans and the variety of health care they can choose.

As acupuncturists we are selling a service: the traditional Asian medicine idea and way of health care/ good health maintenance. Where does this idea/way come from? And why does it often differ from what Western, allopathic medicine “sells”?

Both medicines are the on-going results of two very different “thinking systems”. It is often said that Western medicine’s thinking system is based upon the philosophy of Rene Descartes. In this system the body is viewed mechanically: a human is like a car. Just as there are different parts in a car, there are different parts to the human body therefore different kinds of doctors treat the different systems. For example, a psychologist addresses the mind part of a person, an oncologist is concerned if there is cancer in the body and so on. Divide, specify and specialize are the wonderful tools of Western medicine. In contrast, Eastern medicine, in this case traditional Asian medicine, takes on the endless fascinating puzzle of the human condition from the opposite direction: all things in the body are connected and so all are treated when one thing is treated. Traditional Asian medicine’s thinking system is based upon Taoism. Taoism sees the body more as a garden where each organism’s good health is dependent upon all the other garden dwellers’ good health. Confusing right? Well, a very practical way of explaining this often comes up in discussions with patients. When something happens to a patient (whatever their chief concern is: a car accident or depression or GI issues to name a few) it can happen to (start in) the physical body or it can be something emotional or both. Once something starts however, it often grows to include other areas.The thinking system of traditional Asian medicine organizes things in such a way that when acupuncturists treat, the treatment addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of a chief concern.

Ultimately, what does this mean for the person purchasing healthcare? Choice! And the best of both worlds! There are times when one or the other type of medicine is a no-brainer choice: if you have a big, bleeding wound don’t see your acupuncturist first. See them after you are stitched up and need help with healing. Conversely, if you have lower back pain consider acupuncture before surgery when appropriate.

Isn’t choice good?

True Help…

If you have been as moved as I about the tragedy still unfolding in Japan please consider helping in a non-monetary way. I have had the extreme pleasure and honor to have lived in Japan for two years. Not only did my experiences there teach me about the wonders of acupuncture, I also learned, in so many ways, just how wonderful Japan is.  Throughout my time in their country I was always treated with kindness, and came to know just how generous and earnest the Japanese are.  Many have claimed that as a first nation Japan does not need our monetary assistance. That may be true but human hardship has its own costs. If you would like to give in ways other than money please consider getting involved via the link below.

Many thanks!