In ancient China, a village was fortunate to have a wise, experienced physician caring for its residents. These physicians were called "sages." The sage took great pride when all the village residents were healthy. He was paid chickens, goats, and other goods, as long as the residents remained free from disease. When someone from the village fell ill, payments to the physician ceased until that patient recovered. This preventative care model remained alive and active in Taiwan into the 20th century. The sage's job was to teach villagers the "tao" or " the ways of nature" to maintain wellness and avoid illness. As a result, residents of the village lived in balance thanks to the sage's advice.
Fast forward to our modern-day era, and illness runs rampant. The common philosophy in the United States is to avoid doctors. We want to enjoy our lives and do as we please, often ignoring the potential adverse health consequences of our lifestyles. We're a symptom-driven society. The common misconception in society is that "if you don't have any symptoms, you must be healthy!" There is a pill to mask every symptom; therefore, true health and balance are never achieved, and nothing is ever really "fixed." Our society hasn't made health the priority. So what does this have to do with not paying for Acupuncture visits?
In Chinese culture, most seniors know they are responsible for keeping their bodies healthy. That's because most don't have access to medical insurance, state-of-the-art surgeries, or the money to pay for modern drug therapy. They also are suspicious of Western medicine that appears "magical" and focus more on home-based treatments before seeing a doctor. They do the work to try and get well - before seeing a physician. You don't even have to compensate me with gifts of chickens, goats, cows, or rice for my advice. I will take pride in knowing we can change the broken medical paradigm and heal ourselves and our society.
Here's what you can do to increase your wellness at home and avoid paying for more treatments.
Eat meals on a scheduled basis. Don't skip meals or eat late.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Eat plenty of fresh, one-ingredient, whole foods. Avoid sugar, processed foods, and bad fats.
Exercise. You aren't plowing fields with oxen and plows anymore, but you can walk, dance, play sports, swim, or anything else that keeps your body moving. Being sedentary has now been found to be worse than smoking cigarettes. Movement helps the digestive system, bones, and muscles, releases feel-good and stress-relieving hormones, circulates the blood and improves the mood.
Stretch. Learn Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qi Gong to calm the mind, improve strength or ease tension in the body. If these options are not appealing, seek professionals to teach you how to stretch your body to improve blood flow and joint flexibility.
Calm the mind. Our brains are overstimulated between the fast-paced demands of society and the constant screen time. Mind-body interventions like meditation, prayer, or biofeedback mechanisms can help us reboot our minds and find that calm again.
Be persistent. The Great Wall wasn't built in a day. Stone by stone, and mile by mile, this mighty fortress evolved. Likewise, true health takes time and persistence. Remember that health is not a destination; it's a continual journey.
Keep a positive mental attitude. Be cautious of the negative energy promulgated by our media and environment. Healing hormones and chemicals are released when you are happy and calm. Conversely, degenerative and inflammatory hormones and chemicals are released when you are negative, stressed, or angry. The choice of which attitude you start each day will determine your long-term health status.
Get enough rest. Medical research suggests we should strive to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. A body's resistance to disease is challenged when it doesn't rest. In addition, the body uses rest to perform detoxification and repair activities at night.
Develop healthy habits. Hang out with others who practice natural wellness strategies. Hydrate the body routinely throughout the day. Maintain good hygiene and use only natural products on your body or while cleaning your home.
Connect spiritually. The Bible instructs Christians to connect to God through prayer and give up their worries asking for healing. All disease stems from a loss of spiritual connection, then emotional disconnect, and ends up as physical symptoms if not addressed. Chinese philosophy states that all disease starts with a loss of connection to the Tao or the natural way of the universe. The ancient people remained balanced and healthy because they adhered to the ways of nature. Ignoring these principles has led to disease.
In good health,
Dr. Stuart Shipe
DAOM, RPh, Dipl. OM (NCCAOM)
Board Certified Acupuncture & Herbology, Pharmacist, Founder & Lead Physician at Women's Traditional Chinese Healing