Category Archives: Chinese Medicine

Going to the Doctor 2

In the last post I distinguished between two approaches to going to the doctor:

1) I go to the doctor when something is wrong.

2) I go to the doctor to improve my health and well being.

Let me tell you about a patient I’ve been seeing.  She started off in the first category, but has wonderfully shifted into the second category with great results.

She’s in her late 20’s and came in for TMJ Syndrome, which is clicking and pain of the TM joint while you chew or yawn.

Besides treating her TMJ Syndrome, we have treated her other disharmonies according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.  We have also given her general support and care.  What has resulted is improvement in her TMJ, but also major shifts in her personal life.

She started keeping a food journal, and is now shifting her diet completely.  Her mood and energy are improving, and she is contemplating positive life changes for herself (leaving her boyfriend, changing her job, moving somewhere else — all of which are unfulfilling for her right now.)

Yes, she came in to handle her joint pain.  But she has successfully worked with us in improving her overall health and well being.  Which, in Chinese Medicine, is the only true treatment her TMJ can receive.

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Going to the Doctor

Here’s a distinction:

People go to their doctor for A) check ups  and B) when something is wrong.
People go to Chinese Medicine for the same reasons, but they often walk out with more resolution than just the “Chief Complaint.”

People have two main approaches to their health.

1) I go to the doctor when something is wrong.

2) I go to the doctor to improve my health and well being.

If you care for having a well functioning body and mind so that you can live the life you want to live, you better get yourself moving into the second of those two categories.

If you go to the doctor (whether Chinese or Western) to improve your health and well being, you must understand that everything that is a part of you and your life is relevant to diagnosing your current state of health.  Although, it is Chinese Medicine that tends to seek out the following information, not Western Medicine.

How do you cope with stress?  Are you in law school?  Are you engaged?  Do you take public or private transportation?  Do you eat big or small dinners?  What are your hobbies?  What is your profession?  Are you married?  Do you have kids?  What do your bowel movements look like?  How is your sleep?  Do you sweat profusely?  How is your appetite?  Do you have bad breath?  How is your emotional level?  etc.

If you fall into the firs category, your mind will have a different focus as you prepare to see the doctor.  You’ll prepare a list of what’s bothering you as relates to that one single issue.  So if you have an ingrown toenail you’ll tell the doc all about the toenail and how you tried to handle it on your own, and it’s red, and painful, and you can’t wear shoes.

What a world of difference on so many levels.

Evolution or Yin Yang Imbalance?

In Chinese Medicine, a person with a weak Yin but strong Yang constitution will be thin in body form but jumpy, alert, and high energy. I will explain why this is below.

Lacking this perspective, scientists use the theory of evolution to explain their new observation:

“Scrawny people tend to think approaching sounds are closer than do strong people,” a new study found. See the original article from LiveScience.com In essence, the study finds that skinny people respond faster to approaching sounds.

The scientists postulate that the fraction of a second quicker response time on the part of scrawny people must be a result of evolution.

That fraction of a second must have allowed the scrawny, weaker people to escape dangers they could not hope to fight off – unlike stronger people who could afford to react a fraction of a second slower, to say, a saber tooth tiger attack.

A more physiological answer is found in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine describes all physiological phenomena and substances as either “yin” or “yang.” The different yin and yang substances and phenomena in the body are polar opposites that balance one another.

Yin and Yang are opposites that balance one another.

Generally speaking, yin
grounds a person,
keeps them calm,
allows them to fall asleep at night,
cools them when they get hot,
and more.

Yang, on the other hand,
allows a person to expand their thoughts,
feeds excited emotions,
provides the mental and physical energy to work all day,
heats up the body when it is cold,
and more.

When a person has a thin body such as the one described in this study, they are usually yin deficient with vigorous yang.

As one Chinese Medicine text says, “Thin people have more fire; obese people have more phlegm.” (‘phlegm’ represents slowness, sluggish physiology, etc.)

Chinese Medicine explains this phenomena not on evolution, but on physiological harmonies of the various body systems in a given person.