“Lit, Natural Health Approach” column by Dove Sprout (R.TCM.P) and her husband, Paul Gaucher (R.TCM.P), co-owners of Creston Acupuncture and Natural Health Centre
Some Ancient Advice in a New World
The first thing I was told when I went to school for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was “take everything you know about Western Medicine (WM) and forget it”.
This saying has always stayed with me, and it has always been one of my personal goals to bridge the gap between TCM and WM; I strive to bring the mystery behind the medicine to the forefront for all to understand. But in some ways, it is the mystery of this ancient medicine that is able to explain what still cannot be understood by WM, even with all the new technologies of modern science.
We cannot do without WM in this day and age and it excels in emergency medicine, but maybe there are still some lessons we can take from these ancient modalities.
For instance, there is no direct correlation for the “Immune System” in TCM. Since this medicine is a wholistic medicine, the energy of your whole body must be considered to have a healthy operating immune system.
Generally speaking, the most important aspects to consider are the health of your lungs, spleen, and kidneys, though not the physical organs themselves, but the “energetic system” of these organs, a difficult concept to explain.
TCM also explains many different types of Qi. We understand Qi very basically in the West and it has been loosely translated into “energy”, or simply nervous system.
“Zheng Qi” is one of the types of Qi and is made up of two other kinds of Qi, Wei Qi and Ying Qi. Wei Qi is an external, “defensive” Qi that protects your body from external pathogens, or “Xie Qi”. Ying Qi is an internal, “nutritive” Qi. You can see how complicated this is to explain already and I’ve barely skimmed the surface.
TCM is preventative medicine
TCM has always been the go-to for “preventative medicine.” Preventative medicine means that it has the ability to observe certain patterns of dysfunction and treat them before more serious disease or pain sets in.
It does this by addressing all of the imbalances in the body, promoting healthy circulation, nourishing blood and tissues, and strengthening all these different kinds of “Qi” thereby returning to a balanced, homeostatic state.
Diet and lifestyle, emotional health and spiritual health are all factors that need to be considered for optimal health. In understanding the importance of prevention, we can take measures to prioritize our health and well-being, strengthen the Qi of all of our internal systems, so that we minimize our chances of falling ill when exposed to toxic external pathogens (viruses, bacteria etc.).
TCM is wholistic medicine
When you come for a TCM treatment, there is a lengthy intake process and your whole body is treated, both sides, head to toe.
This is because your body is connected via a network of “meridians” or Qi conduits, therefore, it is not possible to segregate all of your internal body systems. They all play a part of the whole person; body, mind, and spirit and it is only by addressing the whole of a person can true healing be achieved.
In the same way your body, mind, and spirit are all connected, we humans are also connected to the greater whole.
Nothing is separate
We are living in a scary time right now. There are so many things we have going on in the world that we have very little control over. While we may feel powerless and small, we all have the ability to start with even the smallest steps to do what we can for the good of the whole, cumulatively creating a larger positive impact.
We can start by taking responsibility for becoming the best versions of ourselves we can be, which will then extend out into our families, our neighbours, our environment, our community, our country, our continent, and eventually the world, all just by starting a small positive ripple instead of standing back and doing what we have always done.
We all play a part in where the world is today, and we all need to take responsibility, realize that we are powerful creatures, and play our part in our planet’s return to health.
How to strengthen your immune system
Nourish your body, mind and spirit: eat a varied diet of unrefined, whole foods, avoiding toxic influences such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar etc. when possible.
Stay hydrated with good quality water. Stay mobile, even if it’s just from your chair or your bed (Qi Gong or simple movements and stretching can be practiced anywhere).
Practice good sleep hygiene. Practice daily gratitude/prayer. Set and accomplish simple goals. Find practices that nourish your inner self. smile and be kind to yourself and to those you connect with throughout the day.
Let go of toxic people in your life, and address issues of being judgemental or discriminating. If this is difficult, it may be time to address these issues that prevent you from being able to do these activities. We are ultimately responsible for how we behave in the world. Many of these are daily “practices”, which means we are always working at them to improve. Do your best.
Take care of yourselves and each other.