Like everyone else, being knocked out by a virus and spending days in bed recovering is not high on my list of desired activities. So it is as I find myself recovering from one of the many respiratory viruses that are currently running rampant in the area, after being flat out for days, that I am once again reflecting on the almost “unthinking” practice of getting well these days.
In my practice I repeatedly hear stories of patients whose physician and urgent care visits yield copious prescriptions for antibiotics, corticosteroids, hydrocodone cough syrup and myriad of other “solutions” that don’t actually “solve” anything. My sweetheart came home yesterday from her urgent care visit armed with prescriptions for antibiotics and steroids along with the diagnosis that there was no actual infection “yet”. And yet, many accept these “solutions” and run to the pharmacy to fill merely address symptoms while creating other side-effect issues that require additional treatment, such as yeast infections or thrush, weight gain, muscle fatigue. All while not actually addressing the underlying illness or the body’s ability to fight it.
What if you could feel better and heal your body naturally and without using drugs? What if the treatment actually made your immune system stronger without any side effects? Would you be willing to give it a try?
Our bodies are amazing machines, built to self regulate and programmed to heal itself. In this season of virus upon virus, the best medicine is that which strengthens our own machine to do its natural job of fighting off foreign invaders. If we can strengthen our body’s ability to defend itself, then illness with run its course faster, symptoms can be ameliorated and we can prevent the illness in the first place.
My attraction to Chinese Medicine is this focus on tapping into and optimizing our body’s own ability to heal itself if we listen the right way. As an acupuncturist and Chinese herbal medicine practitioner, I am trained to listen – to you, to your body- and read the cues your body is loudly telling through your pulses, symptoms and even how your tongue presents. All of which informs treatments that serve as preventive medicine. Instead of 7 minutes in a room in urgent care with someone who doesn’t know your name and is quick to write a script that will yield more physical issues, you spend an hour relaxing on a massage table with calming music with someone who is focused entirely on you, what you’re experiencing and focusing on your underlying healing. Which would you rather experience?
As for my sweetheart, she didn’t fill the prescriptions. She’s relying on acupuncture treatments to support her through her illness.
In a society that practices overindulgence in so many things – quantity of food consumed, alcohol drunk, sugar and processed food ingested – treatments that increase our own defense mechanisms is an indulgence (necessity) we can all get behind.