know thyselfWestern healthcare focuses on the illness; I guess you could call it “sick-care”.  Medicating symptoms or removing problem areas of your body are the general approach.

The holistic approach to healthcare focuses on what is good in your body – your health, your function.  You’re more than just a collection of problems:  the true, inner self has radiant health.  We help you remove what’s getting in the way of that health.  Your body is not ever “broken” or “wrong,” just in need of occasional help.

The best way to help a body heal is assisting in the brain-body connection.  Problems arise when there is a disconnect between the two.  In other words, the brain is so focused on anything else but not paying attention to what is happening in the body and how the body is responding to conditions.

Of course, there are lots of ways to connect with that aspect of self:  acupuncture, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, time in nature, eating good, unprocessed food and sometimes even hallucinogenic drugs can help.*

The Nan Jing is a thousands of years old book that discusses the root of many types of illness being from blocked consciousness.  When we close our minds to new experiences, we can block up our eyes, ears, or nose.  When we hold onto “crap” and fear letting go of something or someone, we get intestinal blockages.  Any of these can have dire consequences on our health.

When your mind becomes focused on an irritant, your qi becomes blocked.  For example, you don’t like the way your body feels / looks; or you fear the sensation of hunger because you may gain weight; or you obsess over what you should buy / cook / eat, and how much to buy / cook / eat, and maybe you obsess over what other people look like or what other people buy / cook / eat.  Weight loss will never happen if you approach it from the “outside – in.”  Weight gain is simply a sign of disconnect between the mind and what is happening in the body.  How your body feels after eating certain foods is one way of paying attention.  Also pay attention to when your body is craving exercise.  When does your body need more rest and deep breath?  What is your body doing right?

You may obsess over how much you hate your job or someone at your job.  You might fear loss of someone or something.  You may over-think relationships.  Toxic, repetitive thoughts actually cause your blood and qi to stop moving into certain areas of your body.  People say “I carry my stress in my shoulders,” is exactly this happening.  It usually has a physical manifestation.

Mental obsessions can work in the opposite way, too, and be just as unhealthy.  For example, you may have a great job, tons of cash, and people all around you who adore you.  This by itself is not a problem, but if your mental focus becomes too much on grasping and wanting, or lack of appreciation for what you have, illness can set in.

Your consciousness has lost touch with your body’s essence, or what we call your jing qi.  If this goes on for long, you may need assistance to get back to wholeness.  You can get used to feeling a certain way and actually forget what it feels like to have balance.  

Jing qi is your blood, but much more than that.  It’s also how your blood circulates.  It’s the sensation you get when you go into a deep relaxation or meditation.  Or in an acupuncture treatment.  It’s a feeling of being connected to what is happening on the inside of your body.  It’s the ability to feel how your breath and mind can influence your heart beat.  When your body is truly connected with your mind, your qi will circulate properly and your body will repel illness.  If you become ill, you will recover quickly if you can connect to your body and truly feel what is happening in the physical realm.

There are certain acupuncture points that help facilitate this connection.  We call them Luo (or “connection”) points.  In Chinese medicine, there are 12 main organ systems and meridians.  They are broken into 6 pairs.  One is yin and the other is yang.  When the emotional focus veers away from what is true and current, the yin becomes weak.  Then the yang becomes stagnant.  Then you have pain and problems.

For example, one of the most common yin-yang imbalances I see is with the Liver and Gall Bladder meridians.  The Liver corresponds with the emotion anger (or repressed anger).  If too much focus goes into this emotion, the gall bladder meridian shows signs of problem:  temporal headaches, ear pain, tension at the top of the shoulder, hip pain, piriformis syndrome, or tendon problems.  Tension here also makes it very hard to relax and sleep.  The Liver connection point is about 5 inches up from your ankle, on the inside of the shin bone.  It’s usually sore to the touch.  The Gall Bladder connection point is about 6 inches down from the knee, in between the tibia and fibula.

During an acupuncture treatment, we can use connection points to help your mind remember how and where to connect to what is happening inside your self.  That’s why acupuncture is kind of hard to explain to someone who has never had it before, as far as how it feels great and amazing and refreshing…with needles!  The needles stimulate the areas that help you reconnect with your inner knowing.  Then, what you choose to do with that information is up to you.  

*NOTE:  I am not recommending you to try hallucinogenic drugs, especially if this is not something you are familiar with.  It actually helps to be in touch with self before doing hallucinogens, rather than the other way around.  These drugs are illegal and results definitely vary.