Understanding Eastern Medicine 

Understanding the value of Traditional Oriental Medicine when using acupuncture and herbology as a healing modality.

The World's Oldest Healing Modality:

What might surprise you is that it's the world's oldest, most widely used, medical model; used on billions of people, created over five centuries. Across the Asian Pacific Rim it's common to have acupuncture and herbology integrated into western hospitals – at every level, even emergency medicine. It's also common to have hospitals dedicated solely to acupuncture and herbology. This is because it's effective, safe, and powerful medicine.

How does Acupuncture Work?

A simplified, eastern, explanation is that our body circulates symmetrical streams of energetic qi in meridians. Qi is the essence of life that animates all life around and within us, connecting us to all living beings. Meridians can be imagined as veins of a leaf, designed to nourish the leaf. When our meridians circulate poorly, we are in pain, or it indicates core aspects of our health are weakened. Key points along the channel of the meridian have great influence over the meridian and body, these are acupuncture points. Stimulation of acupuncture points through acupressure or fine needles initiate a cascading healing response through the body.

What are the key differences between Eastern & Western Medicine?

The key differences are it's philosophical foundation - being the seed that creates the big tree; the focus and mode of study, time of creation, and use today.

The philosophical foundation of the Eastern medical model is that it's both holistic and preventative. In a holistic approach we observe and treat your body as a whole. Another dynamic of a holistic approach is to see you as a unique person with your own story, spirit, and ancestry - all of which impact your health. In a preventative medical paradigm a practitioner works with a client to avoid catastrophic health states by addressing health concerns, such as chronic fatigue. The goal is to return an individual to a full sense of healthy vitality. We do this by treating the root as well as the branch of the disease, not just a palliative or symptoms based approach. The focus of study in Eastern medicine is the subtle energy of the body, the subtle qualities of vibrant health. The time of creation was over 5,000 years. The mode of study, was this philosophy, meditation and learning through the practice of using acupuncture and herbs.

The Western medical model derived from 500 years of study on reversing catastrophic, traumatic, health states and is based on a Descartian, reductive, philosophy. The focus of study was taking people who had reached catastrophic health states, such as cancer, heart attacks, stroke and reversing it for their immediate survival. The focus was not quality of life, it was survival. The reductionist philosophy, created intensive study into individual parts of the body. The Descartian philosophy separated the mind from the body – and thus was born psychology, psychiatry as separate from internal medicine.

Mind-Body Connection

Another significant achievement of Traditional Oriental Medicine in contrast to Western Medicine, Psychology, and Psychiatry, is it's ability to understand what's called 'the mind-body connection' or how emotions effect the body. Due to it's holistic philosophy, in it's lens of study, it never separated the mind from the body. Traditional Oriental Medicine is far advanced of these western schools in understanding how depression, anxiety, and all emotional-spiritual concerns effect the body.

Research has shown Oriental Medicine as effective as all major anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medication, without the side effects. Often people who have these types of experiences feel a devastating sense of exhaustion. Acupuncture and herbology strengthen, nourish, and rejuvenate the body. Our medicine is extraordinarily adept at resolving all of these concerns, root and branch.

Today in China, eastern and western medicine have been easily and often completely integrated. In the United States, there has been no full scale integration of eastern and western medicine.

It's Effective, Efficient and Inexpensive

Traditional Oriental Medicine can positively effect and, or, resolve nearly any medical concern. The other incredible benefit is every time you come in, even your introductory treatment, you leave feeling better because the somatic work is done immediately in the session. Another benefit, is that we can treat multiple medical concerns during a treatment, often resolving fairly complex situations in just a few treatments. Yet another benefit is cost, it's very inexpensive in comparison to western medicine.

A clinical example of how this medicine is effective, efficient and inexpensive is a patient who came in for migraines and infertility. My acupuncture colleague, Ann-Marie Radecki, L.Ac., treated this client with acupuncture and herbs for these imbalances. In just six treatments the clients migraines were resolved and she became pregnant. That's a miracle. It cost the client just a few hundred dollars. Had she gone the western route with a fertility clinic, tests, migraine medications – that's thousands of dollars. Further, the western medical approach would likely have only addressed the symptoms, not the root of her imbalance.

Defining health between Eastern & Western Medicine

Is western medicine better than eastern? Most people from the western world would never even ask this as a question, because it's an assumed truth. It's important to understand that our world view is ethnocentric. Around the world, we all have a definition of health and well being, and we culturally interpret the medicine which brings us to this place.

In my practice, and in eastern medicine, health is a state in which you are pain free, have superb and stable energy throughout the day, able to overcome most illness, and feel deeply loved and at peace with the world.

When examining different cultural interpretations of medicine, we can see Indian cultures created the Chakra system, Yoga and Ayurveda; Asian cultures created the Meridian system, Acupuncture and it's unique Herbal Pharmacopeia; and Western medicine has their model. All over the world, different cultures, have different models for medicine. There is much we can all learn from other cultural healing modalities, other cultural pharmacopeia of plant medicine. It may even be, our health and survival depends upon it.

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