“The sages of antiquity did not treat those who were already sick; they instructed those who were not yet sick…To treat disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty, and of those who begin to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late?”
Prevention as a concept to take care of oneself on a daily basis and not only during a crisis is a growing phenomenon in North America as we discover the shortcomings of other systems and models. While many individuals do not seek out acupuncture until they are sick – as we are accustomed to, due to our western medical model, historically and methodically acupuncture and Oriental medicine have their roots in the importance of prevention. It is not uncommon to hear the response after inquiry about my profession that “I don’t need acupuncture right now because nothing is wrong.”
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine has gained in popularity over the last twenty years, however, of the millions of people that have experienced it, only a small percentage understand it as a preventative medicine as well as an effective primary health care model.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine are effective to treat diseases, but their strength and complexity lies in prevention. The beauty of this medical model is to use it as maintenance of health rather than a quick fix, addressing the root cause of ailments. The disease process has layers of progression to it. Years before a physical manifestation can be detected on either an MRI or due to pain, energetic imbalances exist within the body. The symptoms may be as subtle as a mild headache and not until the disease has manifested at deeper levels will an individual seek treatment. These minor signals that your body expresses are not ones important to western medicine but are all taken into consideration by a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine to diagnose and treat the imbalances present.
Oriental medicine works through more avenues than just acupuncture (the insertion of very thin needles at specific locations), incorporating nutrition for each individual constitution, exercises, and herbal medicine when necessary. Through this wholesome approach your body maintains harmony and has the ability to regain its full potential. Patients often discover that although they come in for specific conditions like low back pain other previous conditions also improve, they may experience fewer colds and if they do experience a cold that their recovery rate is greatly improved. With regular treatments (which are personalized and vary from person to person in terms of length and frequency) the state of health of the body is balanced. What this balance establishes is a strong immune system, more energy, life stressors and emotions are easier to handle and process, and your overall efficiency in daily tasks is increased.
Prevention is the most crucial factor in my practice. Traditional doctors of Oriental medicine were punished for letting their patients get sick and rewarded for keeping their patients healthy. As a practitioner of this 4,000 year old medicine, I honor these doctors through practicing prevention and staying in tune with my patients and their individual needs as we move from season to season and the interdependence of each entity in relation to the outside world.
As a society, as humans, we want to be healthy and to achieve our full potential. Practical solutions with simple steps that are offered through Oriental medicine will be a part in the solution to a wholesome healthcare system that will keep people healthy and in balance. Call an acupuncturist in your area to see how Oriental medicine can help you stay healthy and in tune with your body.