What does “health” mean to you? Does your idea of being healthy include taking a dozen medications or more?
But it seems that the modern medical community has convinced the mass majority of people to consider health to be the “suppression of symptoms of disease.”
Call me crazy, but that’s NOT health! That’s simply Band-Aid’ing the problem!
The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines health as the condition of being sound in body, mind, and spirit and especially (yes, it uses the word especially) the freedom from physical disease or pain. Ok NOW we’re talkin’!
True health, from my point of view, means having a body that actually functions as it has been designed to. It has the ability to repair, restore and renew itself when problems arise, and it generally functions from a state of perfect balance within itself and is in harmony with your mind and emotions. It includes the absence of disease and dysfunction and the current state of mental, physical and emotional wellness!
In other words, you love your body, your body loves you and the two of you get to enjoy this life to it’s fullest potential together, as a team. Cool hu’?!
Even the World Health Organization defined health, in the constitution of 1948 as “a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity…it is a resource for everyday life, not the object of living.”
If you choose make drugs, surgeries and other expensive, invasive, and side-effect-inducing methods a last-resort option instead of a first, you will have taken a major step in the right direction towards the possibility of true health and wellness, and the only way to get there is by addressing the root causes of any health problems you may be having—not covering them up with a drugs, etc, and by choosing a diet, lifestyle and healthcare system which includes a focus on the prevention of health problems in the future.
The only “difficulty” with this mindset, is that the medical and pharmaceutical industries can’t make any money through this strategy. If you were to heal or correct the underlying cause of a disease, you effectively cure it and all accompanying and related symptoms go away. If you have no symptoms, there’s no reason to take medications to suppress those symptoms. The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t like that very much.
I know, I know, this may sound obvious to you, but believe me, most people still don’t “get” it. Instead, they take drugs in the misguided belief that they’re doing something beneficial for their health when in fact there are shockingly FEW drugs on the market that are honestly designed to cure anything. The only thing the vast majority of drugs can do is address a particular symptom or set of symptoms. Unfortunately, it seems the target of most modern medical drug therapy is the maintenance of disease, not the root-cause cure of it.
Here’s the deal: If you don’t address the root cause, the real source of your problems never goes away! I mean that in regards to physical, emotional and mental issues (for example, the act of taking anti-depressants without doing some introspection into the self-limiting belief patterns, conscious and subconscious, that are creating the depression). With meer symptom control, the imbalance might change, transform, or manifest itself differently, but either way, it’s still there in some fashion, ready to rear it’s ugly head again down the road.
This is where the greatest gift of Traditional Chinese Medicine comes in. In this ancient system of medicine, the mind and entire body are considered an integrated whole. This is is stark contrast to the Western view of medicine, for example, in which the mind and the body are viewed and treated as a series of separate parts and pieces. Hellooooo? You are not a mind encapsulated in a walking meat suit! You are a person and everything about who you are and how you feel contributes to and integrates with everything else about who you are and how you feel.
TCM practitioners consider all of the signs and symptoms you are presenting with as clues to identifying an underlying pattern of disharmony in your body and/or your emotions and mental state. Seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions, when looked at holistically, will point to an underlying “root condition,” the correction of which will ultimately be the target of your Acupuncture treatments.
To clarify, if you think of your body as a tree, with all of the different, apparently unrelated symptoms that you’re experiencing as the branches of that tree, in many cases, western medical practitioners would look at the branches of that tree as if they were different plants- each getting a different diagnosis, medication, or treatment to address them.
Acupuncturists, on the other hand, would take into consideration all the different branches and ask, “OK, what kind of tree is this?” And then go all the way down to the roots and treat your pattern from there. Additionally, by taking your core, constitutional condition into consideration, they are able to identify and correct what would become a health problem in the future before it manifests- preventative medicine at it’s best.
So what if, rather than taking a pill for this, a tablet for that, surgery for this, painkillers for that…all of which will eventually lead to the continued degradation of your heath as time goes on…what if you could receive a natural, holistic, side-effect-free treatment for all of it simultaneously? In most cases, it’s not an overnight fix, but hopefully by now it’s becoming clear to you why it’s a far better option. (And sometimes it IS an overnight fix- bonus!)
It’s important to remember that, with everything previously mentioned, there is certainly a time and a place for the modern medical practices. If I get into a car accident and break my leg, please don’t rush me to an Acupuncturist’s office! I will likely require surgery, and would probably appreciate some serious pain medication for a short time. After which, though, I’d begin visiting an Acupuncturist or other holistic healthcare provider to help my body heal faster and more correctly so that I can avoid any future complications from the injury. That’s just one example.
One final thought: Keep in mind that health encompasses much more than just the optimal physical functioning of your body. It also involves being willing to acknowledge the sensory decadence of life. Pleasure is a key to health! Without huge amounts of joy, love and fun, we don’t often feel radiantly healthy, right? From my point of view, if we’re not having fun, loving our life, and sharing that joy with the world, what’s the point?!?! We’re here to enjoy this gift we call life to the fullest. Choosing to acknowledge the center-stage role our bodies have in allowing us to smell the flowers, enjoy the sunshine on our skin, feel the breeze, experience the joy of movement and nature and the taste of fine, dark, German chocolate mousse should be reason enough to have such gratitude for our bodies, that we would do anything to give them the greatest care and support we can.
Everybody together now: “Thaaaaaank you bodyyyyyyyyy!”
More FAQs about how Acupuncture can help you achieve that state of joy in your body and your life.
This information brought to you by your friendly neighborhood Austin Acupuncturist, Melanie Irvine, L.Ac., MAOM, owner Turning Point Wellness. For more info about how Acupuncture, Oriental Medicine, and natural nutrition can help you achieve vibrant health and well-being. Feel free to visit my website, www.TurningPointAcupuncture.net for more details and direct contact information.