I still get surprised when the medicine works... even now, even after all these years and witnessing it and experiencing it countless times. The effects of natural medicine always put me into a state of awe. I hope I never lose that.
I've had the blessing to experience different types of natural and indigenous medicines, and grew up with Ayurvedic remedies always at my disposal. But I had the privilege to study East Asian Medicine and Chinese Medicine, and I've found a home within this system.
Chinese Medicine has roots that date back about 3000 years, with first written record about 2200 BC.
Starting at around 220 AD the system of Chinese Medicine really began to develop with major advances recorded in herbs, physiology, pathology, acupuncture, and treatment techniques and therapies. It eventually started to encompassed all aspects of life, living and longevity.
With that many years of trial, error and eventually success...no wonder this medicine is so effective.
What makes it effective...?
A little bit of magic, and a lot of looking at the bigger picture and seeing and balancing all the relationships within the body, and our relationship with our environment.
Basically, we're a complex system and we rely on everything functioning well and in harmony in order for us to feel good and live long. If something in our bodies becomes stressed, the rest of the body begins to compensate in different ways, eventually creating physical symptoms that we react and maybe, hopefully, respond to.
Chinese Medicine highlights how we can prevent stress on the body, and offers options on how to live a balanced life. But also has a gentler, more holistic approach to bringing balance back to the overall system.
The first point of balance is seen in the yin / yang symbol shown in the photo above. Remember all the chokers and t-shirts from the 90's? Well, I know you've been waiting for this so I'm going to tell you what your (or your parents') tattoo finally means.
It represents duality. The natural duality that exists within nature. Light and Dark, Hot and Cold, Above and Below...Actually, all the concepts in Chinese medicine were originally concepts that were observed in nature, and then attributed to our physical and emotional bodies.
One of the major correspondences that developed in addition to the concept of yin and yang, was 5 element theory. This theory is based on the cycle through the five seasons, and the elements and bodily organs that correspond based on their shared characteristics. These concepts provide the basis of Taoism and also Chinese Medicine.
In Taoism, the world is a holistic entity, and no living thing can be seen outside of it's relationship to the surrounding environment. This concept is also how Chinese Medicine explains health and wellness. Through observing the interdependence of nature and how imbalance can form, a whole system of medicine was developed.
Now, when I have the privilege of bringing people back to balance, I think about how we can bring more of the natural world and those cycles back to our daily lives. I see more and more aspects of our lives moving away from nature, and seeing the imbalance that it can cause. Bottom line, our health is based on our relationship to the surrounding environment. Lets not stray to far from our natural selves...