I’ve had several experiences that showed me how very different Eastern and Western medicine can be, which then inspired me to study to become a practitioner of Asian medicine.
My first experience was after suffering a minor, lingering, sports injury to my shoulder. An orthopedic surgeon thought that I may have torn my rotator cuff. He offered to do an exploratory laparoscopic procedure to see what the issue might be, and to fix any issues that he saw. About that same time, a friend asked if I had ever tried acupunture, which I had not, so I set an appointment with his Asian medical practitioner. Two weeks, a hundred dollars, two treatments, and a bottle of herbs later, my shoulder was completely recovered. I haven’t had any further issues or limitations with my shoulder in the 25 years since. The acupuncture and herbal treatments were much less invasive and far less expensive than laparoscopic surgery.
Another experience involved a family member who contracted a chest cold that developed into bronchitis. She was coughing up sticky yellow-green phlegm, had a fever, sore ribs, no sleep, low energy, was quite miserable, and getting worse. A visit to her primary care MD resulted in a 7-minute conversation (she timed it), and a prescription for Mucinex to help loosen the phlegm, cough syrup with codeine to help reduce the cough and help with sleep, and an xray to rule out pneumonia. None of these helped her to feel better or alleviate symptoms over the next 24 hours.
On my suggestion, she scheduled a same-day visit to an Asian medical practitioner. Her visit was over 90 minutes of hands-on treatment, which included extensive acupuncture, cupping, and a bottle of herbs to go. As she walked out of the clinic, she said, “I’m feeling better, as if this has turned a corner!” She was able to sleep that night, and the next morning reported more energy, no fever, and was starting to clear out the sticky phlegm.
I’ve learned that when people are sick and looking for medical help, these types of experiences matter. When many patients, over many years and across many practitioners, receive the help they need… well, there is something of immense value that needs to be readily available. Many people who have had frustrating medical experiences have found the breadth, depth, and pacing of Asian medicine helpful.
Both Eastern and Western medicine have important roles in our society’s medical services structure. They excel in different aspects of medicine largely because they see medical issues from different perspectives. Western medicine excels at acute emergency care and severe physical traumas that require surgery and lifesaving drugs. Asian medicine tends to be better at treating chronic conditions, issues for which Western medicine cannot determine a cause, and complex health issues. Additionally, Asian medicine can elevate overall “whole-person” health with a complete perspective, preventative care, and lifestyle support. Western medical practitioners tend to be so specialized that they cannot see and treat from this larger context.
Note that these are not my original ideas. I heard them first from medical professionals that practice both Western and Eastern medicine, and I’ve found these ideas to ring true in both my experience, and with others.
Are you interested in collaboratively addressing medical issues, elevating your level of health, and proactively preventing illness? Send me a message or just schedule an appointment – I’d love to work with you!
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