Oriental medicine is a call to live life more gracefully, more gently and with greater spiritual integrity. Oriental medicine is about healing, letting go, and living with more awareness. Oriental medicine offers guidance rather than intervention, measures progress rather than compliance, and encourages empowerment rather than dependence. The benefits are good health, resilience and inner peace.
Oriental medicine is comprised of five branches: acupuncture, medical massage (tuina), herbs, dietary therapy, and meditative or martial arts exercises including qigong and taichi. The best practitioners of Oriental healing arts will include all or several of the above modalities in their treatments.
My approach is always holistic. Mind and body are not separate: emotions often manifest through the body, while physical maladies can affect our mental outlook. In order to maximize wellness, I work with three basic principles of balance, circulation and conservation.
Balance is the key to harmony and peace. We can manifest it in our lives for example by balancing work and play, rest and exercise, responsibility and freedom. In our health, we need to balance our food and fluid intake with what our bodies need, adjust our clothing to the weather, and so on. Both acupuncture and herbs are helpful in restoring balance.
The principle of circulation refers primarily to qi (living energy) circulation. Qi is what keeps blood, fluids, and even thoughts moving well. When it stagnates many things can go wrong: symptoms of stagnation can include pain, swelling or retention. Common causes of stagnation include physical or emotional trauma, stress, worry or other strong emotions. Acupuncture is especially effective for dissipating stagnation. As qi circulation improves, the result is a wonderful sense of ease and comfort in the body and mind. Taichi is also recommended as a daily practice in relaxation – the basis of good circulation.
The principle of conservation asks us to consider our life energies as a limited resource. Much like a bank account, our resources can be gathered and spent wisely or foolishly. For example, if we engage frequently in late nights due to either restless worry or intemperate pleasure-seeking, we will use up energy. When we are young we may not feel the effects, but as we get older, it all starts to take a toll. On the other hand, if we are careful with our resources, considering our energy input and output as if we were making financial decisions, we can invest and grow our resources in order to live fully and in good health to the end. The best taichi and meditation teachers are inspiring examples of the benefits of a life of mindful conservation. We can immediately feel improvements in our own health using this principle, especially if we integrate lifestyle changes.
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