d

Find the silence
   which contains thought.
       --Hakuin       

    

Striving Toward Wellness

October 2009

What role does your doctor play in your daily life?
Do you see them only when “something is wrong?”
Is it time for a new perspective?

This is an exciting time! With healthcare as a hot topic in the news today, people at all levels of society are asking similar questions. And, thankfully, here in this modern city of Los Angeles, we are blessed with a wide array of health care choices. You can build quite a diverse team of experts who span the full spectrum of disciplines from the East to the West, from clinical to spiritual, to support you and your health. At the root of this freedom of choice comes the primary question to ask yourself: “What role do I want my doctors to play in my health care?” And as an Acupuncturist interested in being part of the larger discussion, I ask myself “What role do I wish to play in the care of my patients?”

Let’s explore the answers to these questions in three progressive stages of health care:

1. Curative

Here, you have something you need treated: a cough, headaches, pain, indigestion, etc. We have all been in this category and will most likely be here again at some point in our lives. And because of this very real-world need, we have been conditioned to regard our doctors as people we see ONLY when we are sick. And-- chicken or the egg?-- Western medicine is well-suited in its tools to be a reactive style of medicine. When a patient’s condition can be clearly identified with a pathogen to fight or a diagnosable condition to treat through medication, surgery or other western therapies, it can be efficient and effective. How far we have come in such a short period of time is staggering to consider. But when there is no definitive diagnosis or no proven course of treatment, if these big guns are used, they are done so at a price. As more and more of you, the patient and healthcare consumer, express dissatisfaction with the side effects of medication or the, at times, extreme response of surgery, you begin to look for other approaches to address your every day health concerns.

Eastern medicine, and Chinese medicine in particular, have proven over the more than 3000 years of medical history that it too can be effective in treating most every health condition that can commonly arise in a population. It is in this place that I see most every patient that walks in my door. They come for a chief complaint, something that they need treated or “fixed.” If the issue is recent and acute in nature, resolution can be found quickly and effectively. If the issue has been chronic or has lingered, then I need to balance treating the condition with treating the underlying internal imbalance that supports the continuation of the condition. This can take a bit longer to address as we begin to explore the reasons why the body has not yet corrected itself. Once we can have such clarity, we can progress to the next stage of treatment.

2. Preventive

It is here that a new type of relationship can be forged with patients. This is where Chinese medicine excels even more. It sees connections and relationships between the various body systems and organs that allow that patient to understand how their lifestyle and food choices, their posture and emotional state of mind, can contribute to the recurrence of their chief complaint. What changes must they make to keep their condition from returning? In answering such a question, the patient learns to fish. The goal here is to see your condition return with less and less frequency and severity coupled with a growing self-awareness around the triggers that invite the condition to return. Perhaps you know, after all your experience tuning into your own body through your acupuncture treatments, when you are in the early stages of imbalance and wish to head things off at the pass. I want to empower you to make better choices in your life, to understand that you are indeed your own best physician. If I need to see you weekly forever, then clearly I am not doing my job. The further away you get from that initial chief complaint, the closer we get to the ultimate stage of treatment.

3. Wellness

By now, your chief complaint is long gone. You have made and embraced those necessary lifestyle changes to ensure that it will not return. The next question I routinely get is: “So why do I need to keep coming? I feel well.” I respond somewhat tongue-in-cheek with “Well, can’t we always feel even better?” The means of diagnosis in Chinese medicine are so subtle that we can pick up even the slightest degree of imbalance. Perhaps you come in once a month or even just seasonally for a “tune-up.” This is about a commitment you make to yourself to see health not just as the absence of disease, but health as a dynamic state of being. One in which you have control. In many ways, this is the pinnacle of all treatment. To achieve Wellness, you have welcomed a new type of relationship with your doctor, they have responded to your desires for greater vitality, and you have worked together to not only successfully address your health concerns but to thrive and live a more optimal and engaged life, recognizing that if you don’t take care of your body, mind and spirit, where will you live.


May you be happy.
May you be healthy.
May you live with ease.
And may you help those in need.




 

 

© Jordan Hoffman, L.Ac., Dipl. OM, 2009. All Rights Reserved.

The information presented here is not medical advice, is not intended as medical advice, and is intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of this information.

 
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This site and any articles on this site are not medical advice and are not intended as medical advice and are intended to provide only general, non-specific information related to Chinese Medicine and acupuncture and are not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. You should consult a licensed health practitioner before using any of the information on this site and any articles.