A Brief History of Chinese Medicine
Chinese Medicine in considered one of the oldest, complete medical systems still practiced today. It is, in fact, the most practiced form of medicine around the world. The history of this medical practice’s origin, dates back over 7000 years ago. The first physical evidence of Chinese Medicine, dates to the Neolithic period of ancient China, more than 3000 years ago. Stone needles, which were called Bian Shi, have been recovered from this era, and were an early form of acupuncture. It is also widely believed that moxibustion also developed around this time as well.
During the Shang Dynasty, 1600-1100 BCE, the metal age was in process, and bronze acupuncture tools and instruments were developed. By the Han Dynasty, 2nd century BCE, metal acupuncture needles, similar to today’s modern needle design, were manufactured.
Possibly the oldest medical text ever written is known as the Huang Di Nei Jing, which dates back about 5000 years. The Huang Di Nei JIng means, The Inner Canon of Internal Medicine, and was compiled by various authors between 475 and 221 BCE. This classic is still used today! Before this book there wasn’t a formal written language, and Chinese Medicine was an oral tradition. As the culture grew and the ability to convey knowledge through text, the medicine was captured on silk scrolls. They were later discovered, buried at ancient, royal grave sites.
Chinese Medicine has evolved over the years. In 1929 Chinese Medicine was outlawed and was legally abolished by the Communist Party. 70 years later it is streamlined and modernized into Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and became fully institutionalized and fully government supported as part of the Chinese healthcare system. It holds the same legal status as western medicine, and is practiced in hospitals, alongside western biomedicine. Chinese Medicine has spread and flourished all over the globe, and has been adapted by many cultures.
Chinese Medicine has survived thousands of years, different governments and cultures, and has been seen as the beacon of wellness and preventative health care. Its ability to affect a wide variety of illnesses, bodily system functions, and restore one’s health naturally, makes it an invaluable form of medicine.
Restoring Optimal Health Through Acupuncture
The World Health Organization’s definition of health is: “A state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease and infirmity“. Understand this fact: “Symptoms are the end result of the body’s inability to function properly and maintain health“. The western medical model is symptom centered medicine, which leads to less attention on optimal, or even proper function, and results in poor health. Their current health model is to alleviate symptoms, instead of finding the root cause, and restoring function to as close to 100%, maximum medical improvement.
Health is not only a gift, but a personal responsibility. It is a responsibility that you are born with. Health can be achieved and maintained by restoring optimum function and living responsibly, not simply removing symptoms.
Acupuncture is unsurpassed by any other medical system at creating and or restoring optimum function in the body. It treats the body as a whole, from the single cell to the multi-organ system. Our body is designed and very capable of spontaneously healing wounds, regenerating tissue, removing toxins, and destroying cancer cells, but a loss of circulation and function creates diseases and system failure.
Acupuncture reduces inflammation, restores function, restores and improves circulation, restores nervous system function, brings the body back into homeostasis, regulates hormones, improves immune system function and digestion, it has the potential to aid the body in curing disease. This is much different to western medicine; name one blood pressure medication that cures hypertension, rather than suppressing the symptom.
Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture is not toxic. It does not damage the liver, stomach lining, kidneys, heart, or nervous system. 128,000 people die per year to correctly prescribed and using the correct dosage pharmaceutical medications. In 2000, Medical Care was the 3rd leading cause of death in the US, causing 225,000+ deaths in that year alone*.
Primum non nocere: “First do no harm“, is one of the first things taught in medical school, and is our ethical code of conduct. I am 100% committed to the health and well-being of all my patients.
*Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Barbara Starfield: 106,000 deaths due to non-error, adverse effects of medications, 80,000 due to nosocomial infections in hospitals, 20,000 due to hospital errors, 7,000 due to medication error in hospitals, 12,000 due to unnecessary surgery, that were reported. It is believed that the actual number of deaths from Medical Care for the year of 2000 was 284,000.
Organs’ Role In Health
The organs in your body perform multiple functions. One of the most amazing things about the human body is how all of the organs work and function together! When in balance, optimal function and cooperation, creates optimal health. This biological web of interconnectedness and cooperation creates a delicate and dynamic balance. This balance can be thrown off by the over or under function of one organ.
Much like a grand orchestra, if all the musicians were performing correctly, the sound would be joyous and harmonious. If the horn section was too loud and the drummers were too slow, the whole orchestra would be off and the whole musical composition would be irritating and lousy.
Keeping this in mind, if the kidneys were not functioning correctly, it could lead to blood pressure issues, which affect the heart. If the Liver was not functioning correctly, it could lead to digestive issues, which would affect the pancreas and stomach.
The organs have reflexive zones on the body. They are known as meridians in Chinese medicine. Meridians are used therapeutically as well as diagnostically. A well trained practitioner of Chinese medicine will be able to identify imbalances of the organs, which are directly related to areas of pain and tenderness along the meridians.
Through the use of acupuncture, a practitioner can restore the function of an organ, and also promote the flow of nutrient, oxygen rich blood to the dysfunctioning organ as well.
By restoring all organ imbalances and functions, and by promoting the free flow of oxygen (qi) and blood, optimal health is restored.
Optimal Health = Optimal Function
Cells make tissue, tissue make organs, organs make organ systems, and organ systems create and control all of the body’s function. Health is only possible when all the cells of the body are functioning optimally. A loss of health can therefore only take place as a result as a loss of function.
If the stomach is not functioning properly, one can develop symptoms: bloating, indigestion, ulcers, or even cancer. If the intestines are functioning optimally, one can develop the symptoms of constipation, diarrhea, and numerous other ailments or diseases. One can see from the above examples that without optimal function one loses health. Once optimal function is restored, we can truly say someone has completely regained his or her health.
It is important to understand the fact that when function is partially lost, symptoms may not develop for days, weeks, months, or years after the loss of function. If the heart lost 25% of its ability to function, it may not be years before the first chest pain or signs of high blood pressure occur. If the heart gradually lost its function over time, the first symptom could actually be a fatal heart attack.
Illnesses, a loss of function, fall into 1 of 3 categories: Traumatic, Infection, Functional.
Trauma can be caused by physical, chemical, or environmental factors. Physical trauma results in breaks, cuts, hemorrhaging, and results in a loss of function. Chemical trauma, will occur when your body comes in contact by ingesting, breathing, or touching a substance that can alter normal function. This includes cosmetics, and hygiene products. Environmental trauma can be a depletion of nutrients due to lifestyle, stress levels, lack of movement, or where one lives, such as close to powerlines. One will experience all of these in a lifetime.
Infections occur if the body is receptive, and in certain cases due to lifestyle choices. The body is exposed to infectious agents constantly, and is constantly removing them from the body. In most cases, one will only get sick if he or she’s resistance is down. One loses his or her resistance and loses the body’s function to fight off or remove infectious agents, leading to colds, flus, bronchitis, pneumonia, etc. By having a properly functioning body, we prevent infections. Restoring optimal function is a major factor in getting rid of infections and disease.
Functional illness is the most prevalent category. It is the direct loss of function to an organ or a tissue, resulting not from infection, but rather simply functional loss. Functional loss is usually caused by lifestyle, diet, and lack of proper breathing. A partial list of functional ailments include: diabetes, arthritis, sleep disorders, colitis, anxiety disorders, etc. These conditions are considered incurable by some physicians and, but many have respond favorably to treatment designed to restore optimal function.
Acupuncture is highly effective at restoring optimal function.
What is Qi?
The term Qi, pronounced chee, literally means vital breath, or air. It is frequently translated as life force, for it is necessary for life of any living being. In Chinese medicine, Qi moves blood, warms the body, and defends the body of pathogens, transforms and transports everything within the body, and is ultimately another word for function.
It can be considered oxygen, electromagnetic energy, nutrients, or cellular energy (ATP), in western physiology. Every one of our cells requires oxygen, nutrients, electromagnetic energy, and ATP to survive, perform their life processes, and stay healthy. The life processes of our cells creates us. The healthier the cell the healthier we are.
This is also another Chinese medical concept. It is known as the macrocosm and microcosm. They are a reflection of one another. If our cells lose health, or function, it will cause the reflection of us losing health and function. Think of a watch with a battery “cell”. Once the cell starts to lose energy, the function of the watch becomes impaired, it is no longer able to tell the time correctly. Once the cell dies, the watch “dies”. However, restore a new battery “cell” that is full of energy, and the watch’s function is restored.
The ancient Chinese didn’t have the same terminology as us, for they didn’t have the same technology. However, our technology is proving their health theories to be right. Qi is vital for cellular health, and cellular health is vital for our optimal health. Our current medical system does not honor the cellular level; it suppresses cellular function and hides symptoms via pharmaceutical drugs, and or by surgery.
The natural approach of nourishing the cells and promoting proper flow of qi (oxygen, electromagnetic energy, cellular ATP,) and nutrient, rich blood to every cell allows the body to heal.
What is Qi Stagnation?
Like a wilted flower that has not received enough sun (Qi), water (blood), good soil (nutrients), or has been damaged by bugs (infection), our bodies, too, experience this. When our body’s energy is not being replenished, or is unstable, we have a tendency to stagnate. This is called Qi stagnation in Chinese medicine.
The term Qi stagnation sounds alien to us, so let’s use an example to get a better understanding. We know exercise is good for us, it makes us healthy, circulates the blood, gives us more “energy”, and cleans our body of waste. However, how many days a week do you do it? Most people don’t have an exercise routine, you become stagnant! You may even feel toxic, fatigued, get headaches, experience mental fogginess, soreness, etc., when you move more than usual; sometimes your body feels sore for days. These are examples of stagnation. The circulation is poor, the cells energy (ATP) is functioning minimally, your electromagnetic field is weak. It can even be assumed that there is stagnation in the arteries due to lack of movement.
Qi Stagnation is the body’s function, and circulation diminished.
Understanding Corrective Care
Restoring health by treating the root condition.
A few things must be understood by everyone who comes to this office. My objective is to treat the underlying condition that has caused your symptoms, your dis-ease. There are a few factors that create the best possible outcome: your understanding of the medicine and how I practice, your compliance and willingness to get better, and receiving treatment according to the corrective care plan that I have laid out.
Somethings must be understood about the healing process. Time heals all wounds, as long as there aren’t any blockages, or obstructions to the healing process.
This also leads to another point: your body has a wound healing time frame that works when you’re healthy and depends on the severity of the condition or conditions. For example, depending on the severity of a cut on your finger, it should scab over within 24 hours. If you break a bone, it should heal within 3-6 weeks. Organ damage is more complicated and takes a minimum of 6 months, and the nervous system takes a minimum of 1 year. Please understand that one cannot break a bone and expect it to be healed overnight.
As a practitioner of Chinese medicine, it is my moral obligation to give you the highest quality treatment that I can. Everything I do, is in your best interest. It is your moral obligation to follow the course and change the lifestyle that has created the illness to begin with. I will not continue to treat patients who are not serious about getting better.
The goal of corrective care is the removal of the cause of dis-ease. A corrective care strategy has three main steps: relief, correction and maintenance. Each step is monitored through re-exams and a progress graph. My patients take comfort in knowing that their health is vigilantly attended.
With corrective care, symptom relief is one of the first things experienced. Symptoms are the last thing to present in an illness, but are usually the first to go. This does not mean that correction has been made, and in order to fully heal and restore optimal health, it is very important to follow the corrective care plan.
Not everyone can reach complete correction. Some cases have reached a point that complete correction is impossible. With this in mind, a plan would be presented to bring the patient’s health to maximum medical improvement, or even to its greatest level of potential.
The corrective care plan is personally designed by your response to treatment, reporting after treatment, by the severity of your condition, and by what you are currently doing for your condition.
There are 3 obstacles people have in receiving treatment. 1.) Time. 2.) Travel. 3.) Money. Out of all 3, there is only 1 that I can help you with. As stated many times: my mission is simple. I want to help as people as possible, achieve optimal health and live with the highest quality of life possible, naturally, through the use of acupuncture and Chinese functional medicine. Whatever it takes to get you better, I will do all that I can.