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"Ask not what the office can do for you; instead, ask what you can do for yourself."

I decided to put a little spin on a very familiar quote that was designed to get Americans motivated to act. We have been misled by the advice of those who practice modern medicine into thinking that just a pill, surgery, or biomedical therapy is all we need to bring back our health. This myth only perpetuates our belief that our body's healing depends on external intervention and releases any responsibility individually for recovery. If you are one of the lucky ones whose inner being is yearning for some control over your health, feeling somewhat helpless and reliant on the practitioner or therapy, you have just come into the light of truth and out of the darkness.

The philosophy of Traditional Chinese medicine has always been that the physician is a teacher. Although the modern name "Yisheng" means "doctor" or "physician," ancient Chinese physicians were called "Luo shi," meaning "to attend to or care for patients, to look after, to wait upon, to serve." In ancient days, the Chinese physician was responsible for the health of an entire village. His responsibility was to educate the people under his care on maintaining healthy habits, including stretching, exercise, nutrition, awareness of their environment, emotions, attitude, rest, and natural cycles of the seasons. He was compensated with things of value as a retainer for his knowledge. If any of the villagers became sick, the payment to the physician stopped until he successfully assisted the patient in bringing their health back. It is a wonderful concept to consider for practicing medicine in our modern age seeking to maintain health rather than only treating symptoms and perpetually prolonging disease.

So what can be done to assist our recovery, saving ourselves money treating the root cause of disease and time? The first step is acknowledging that you may not function at 100% optimal health capacity. If you rely on the absence of symptoms as a standard of being "healthy," you're already at risk for disease. Many heart attack and stroke victims only had one symptom. It was their first symptom and their last. If you think you are "healthy" despite having to take even one prescription medicine, they still have you in the dark.

After being honest with yourself that there may be an opportunity to improve your health, even drop a few pounds, or have more energy, consider trying these ten suggestions before seeing your physician as a last resort for acute or relief care. They all start with verbs meaning you must act. For example, Chinese physicians used herbal medicines and acupuncture only after the patient had personally tried natural healing interventions.

  1. Acquire a positive mental attitude. Love and serve others. There is no higher calling.

  2. Move your body. The body was designed to move and ambulate (walk). Recent studies have demonstrated that being sedentary for more than 6 hours daily is worse for your health than smoking a pack of cigarettes daily.

  3. Rest and prioritize good sleep. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

  4. Hydrate. Drink in ounces at least half your body weight in pounds. For example, a 140-pound person would drink 70 ounces (9 cups) of water daily.

  5. Mediate and pray daily to calm the mind and focus on breathing.

  6. Stretch. Stiff and "cold" muscles cause poor circulation. Stretching improves the flow of energy and blood.

  7. Practice Qigong or Tai Chi. Learn this ancient form of healing, and you'll fulfill suggestions #1, #4, and #5.

  8. Massage. Apply self-massage and routine pressure on certain body points (acupuncture points).

  9. Eat proper nutrition for your constitution. Eat to live rather than live to eat. Avoid foods that rob you of your health.

  10. Get checked routinely. Have a Chinese doctor check your pulse and tongue to ensure a healthy internal environment exists.

Why wait to dig a well when you are already thirsty? Why wait to forge your weapons after the battle is already begun? These ancient Chinese phrases were analogies to remind us to prevent disease before it causes problems. Correction of health conditions is always easiest if treated early. So what are you doing personally to ensure your health?

Call my office at 772.398.4550, email us at info@traditionalchinesehealing, or click here to book a consultation to learn what simple measures can be taken at home to speed your recovery and avoid crisis care.

Best of Health,

Dr. Stuart Shipe

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