One of the top questions I am asked is: “Why?” Why does my knee hurt? Why do I get these headaches? Why do I feel dizzy and nauseous? Why am I so tired all of the time? Why does my stomach hurt? Patients are often curious to find out why they are experiencing different symptoms in their body and they want to know if Oriental Medicine (acupuncture and herbs) can really help. You may be surprised to find out that the root causes of all illness and disease can be summarized in a list less than ten items long. You may also be surprised to find out that the root causes of illness and disease are the same for every form of health care.
Now before I let you in on the secret of what those root causes are, I want to take a moment to talk about how different forms of medicine approach health care. If the causes of illness and disease are the same for every type of health care, then why are the treatments they employ so different? All medicine is based on a fundamental world view that shapes how the human body is perceived and this perception drives the decisions of how the body will be cared for. The philosophical world view behind Western Biomedicine is rooted in mechanistic dualism (made popular by Rene Descartes) and Darwinian Evolution. What this means is that the body is viewed as a machine that is separate from the mind. Oriental Medicine is primarily founded on Taoist philosophy of the unity of all things and the interaction of all things based on the principals of Yin and Yang. Oriental medicine views the body like a garden or a forest where everything is interconnected. This one fundamental philosophical difference (the body and mind are connected and each part is connected to each other part VS the body and mind are separate and each part of the body is separate) determine all the other choices one makes regarding health care. If the body is one with the mind and it is formed perfectly with the intelligence to heal itself, then it makes sense to stimulate that innate healing ability and allow the brilliance of the body to bring itself back to a place of balance and wellness.
So, now comes the list that you have all been waiting for, the root causes of illness and disease: external invasion by bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are stronger than your personal immune system, Trauma ( injuries, accidents, repetitive motion, abuse (physical, sexual, mental/emotional), Emotions (thoughts and feelings that haven’t been processed tend to get “stuck” in the system), Constitution (genetics combined with family environment), Diet (type, quality, and quantity of food being eaten), Sexual Activity (this can include sexually transmitted diseases and too much or too little can cause energetic imbalances), Toxicity (exposure to poisonous substances and or poor elimination processes in the body that cause toxic build up), and finally the newest cause of illness is Energetic Toxins ( electromagnetic radiation from power lines, computers, cell phones, tablets, etc.…). From an Oriental Medicine perspective these root or core causes of illness and disease cause disruptions in the energetic communications system of the body as well as imbalances in the vital substances of the body (qi, blood, essence, yin, and yang). Acupuncture and herbal therapy are the two primary ways of bringing the energetic system and vital substances back into balance and thereby reducing and eliminating illness and disease. The two main therapeutic principles for healing and long term wellness revolve around nourishing the vital substances of the body and keeping them moving at a steady pace (not too quickly or too slowly). When everything is well nourished and flowing well, we come to that place of wellness and bliss. If you’re hungry to know more, stay tuned for further posts where we’ll dive into greater detail on how illness forms in the body and what we can to get and stay well.