When you are sick or injured, you just want the pain to stop.
Traditional Chinese Medicine can do that. There are 56 ailments for which TCM is approved worldwide, and pain relief is probably the number one reason people seek treatment. But TCM is much more than a “quick fix” for discomfort—it’s a way of life that embraces the interconnectedness of all things as its philosophy. It’s about the energy that connects us with others, our environment, and the universe. Our internal systems function in relationship to our external environment much like a mobile: change in one part affects the harmony of the whole. What usually upsets the balance is not primarily an injury or a microbe, but the stress we feel when something in our environment—or something in ourselves—upsets us. A wise man once said that “behind all disease lie our fears, anxieties, greed, likes and dislikes.” In our rapidly changing world, this resistance—otherwise known as stress—is the number one cause of dis-ease in many Western cultures.
Health is Happiness and Happiness is Health
Homeostasis—balance—is the body’s paradise, and our complex, many-faceted systems are always seeking this state of happy,harmonious simplicity. When we place too many forces on the body unnecessarily—through drugs, sleep deprivation, excessive or not enough exercise, too much food and drink, or inconsistent schedules—we break homeostasis with stress. Stress disrupts the flow of our qi (pronounced “chee’), or life- force. Pain can be seen as stuck energy: it has been over-stimulated, blocked or stagnated by stress, causing “dis-ease” in our body, mind and spirit.
Traditional medicine tends to treat by manipulating symptoms, rather than addressing the root cause of illness. The danger of this is that while we may get a temporary release from pain, the underlying cause may only be driven deeper, lying in wait to recur in a less tractable form. This is why TCM is often more successful than traditional medicine in addressing chronic illnesses. TCM also treats the individual, not her disease. We are each unique in our experiences and perceptions, our genetic makeup, and how we move through the world. Thus, a “headache” is treated differently in a quiet pale, tired person who is studying too much than for a large, loud, red-faced person who is often irritable. Pain may be stuck energy, but how and where it’s stuck is quite individual.