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Cause of Disease in Traditional Chinese Medicine

When you go and see your doctor it is mostly a very brief process. You tell your story, your symptoms – the doctor then considers all the evidence and creates a mental picture from the patterns that present – maybe a test or two – or more…..
Then the inevitable question: “What to take?”…
Traditional Chinese Medicine has a different approach and I want to tell you about that over the next few newsletters – little by little:

Chinese Medicine has a very particular view of the causation of illness:
Cause #1
There maybe a genetic, “prenatal” cause for disease. The prognosis of cure for such a prenatal cause for disease is cautionary because it is difficult to increase energy beyond the level that was present at the time of birth.
Where does the new energy come from? It is easier to move energy from one organ system to the other or to regulate energy – but create new energy where there is none or little is a harder task. Often Chinese Herbal Medicine is more appropriate or may be offered in conjunction with Acupuncture as the more nourishing
aspect when there is deficiency.

Cause # 2 :
The five emotions that injure the Qi; the life force:
ANGER and frustration make the Qi rise and injure the Liver,
OVER-EXCITABILITY and over joyousness (or excitability) injure the Heart,
WORRYING, Over Thinking and Ruminating injure the Spleen,
SADNESS and grief affect the Lungs
FEAR, panic and anxiety injure the life force and Shock scatters the precious Kidney energy.

All these main YIN organ systems, the LIVER, the HEART, the SPLEEN the LUNGS and the KIDNEY according to TCM (Traditional; Chinese Medicine) have complex, myriad and vital functions.

Cause # 3: External pathogenic factor ; such as extreme Wind, Heat, Dampness, Dryness or Cold
and of course Food and Drink.
Chinese medicine always reminds us of the micro cosmos within the macro cosmos and the absolute inter-connectedness with the world around us; the times of day, month and year and the seasons…even the hour of day or night! See the Chinese Clock:

Gallbladder and Liver 11PM to 3AM
Lung Large Intestine 3AM to 7AM
Stomach and Spleen 7AM to 11AM
Heart and Small Intestine 11AM to 3PM
Urinary Bladder and Kidney 3PM to 7PM
Pericardium and Triple Heater 7PM to 11PM

Did you ever awaken in the night between 1AM and
3AM when things just don’t feel good or right – maybe headache or nausea or that busy mind needing to figure things out? You got it: that is “Liver Time”.
Often that’s when we notice: we are toxic.

Allopathic medicine defines health based on measurements of most chemical components of the body. Numbers, weight, and quantity are the values that define homeostasis, detailed, step by step uncovering of numeric veils translating as a state of Health.
In the Western world surgery has been applied for centuries to alleviate suffering; the dead body has been of fascination and not taboo for dissection as it has been throughout Chinese history. While incineration of the dead has been practiced throughout history in the East, the body of a person who died from disease was sacred to the knife. Dissection became unlawful within the Han Dynasty. (206 B.C.E. -220 C.E.)
In the West, with the invention of the microscope, the conceptual map of Western medicine was laid out. The human body represents a continuum of chemical substances forever regenerating and transforming themselves; the individual person can be more, often than not, appear irrelevant in the full assessment of a disease.
A litany of numeric values describe the state of health and as long as the patient is willing to accept surgery, and have bits and pieces taken from him/her, there will be a scientific, numeric, quantitative, and by that, qualitative diagnosis.
Chinese medicine is rooted in energy: QI, the life force, is at the base of any intervention through needles or herbal medicine.
The concept of health translates into the YIN and YANG being balanced, which means that adequate amounts of energy flow through respective meridians to and from the extremities and to and from the corresponding organs.
Health means no excess and no deficiency but harmony and balance of energy throughout the whole body/mind system.
Acupuncture is the one of the two main branches used in Chinese medicine. Chinese herbal medicine is the other. Two different aspects and practices and one philosophical foundation. Both branches can powerfully shift the direction of the energy that constitutes health. To assess, understand and take our directives as practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine we use our methods of investigation:

1) To Observe
2) To Listen & Smell
3) To Question
4) To Touch
Our major tools are:
Pulse Taking and Tongue Diagnosis

I shall be delighted to explain more in detail next time……..

The World Health Organization has recognized and recommends acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of over 40 types of illness including:

* Internal illness: colds, asthma, bronchitis, hypertension, diabetes, hepatitis, digestive disorders, colitis

* Ear-eye-nose-throat disorders:deafness, tinnitus, poor eyesight, sinus infections, allergies

* Dermatological disorders: eczema, acne, herpes, psoriasis

* Neuro-muscular disorders: arthritis, neuralgias, bursitis, tendonitis, headaches, migraines, cerebral palsy, polio

* Reproductive issues:infertility, impotence, vaginitis, irregular menstruation, morning sickness

* Mental-emotional disorders: anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress

“He who knows the world around him is smart
He who truly knows himself is wise”
Lao Tzu
app. 500 BC

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