By Xiaomei Cai, L.Ac., Ph.D.
What Do Doctors Do?
When you are sick or injured, you automatically think about finding a good doctor. You rush to get tests done. You are given an examination and, usually, medicine.
But have you thought about who “cures” you when you break your arm? An orthopedic specialist provides high-level technology to examine you, and gives you a cast and some pain medication. But do they “fix” your arm?
The Pros and Cons of Western Medicine
Modern advances in Western medicine have allowed us to correct many conditions that historically have been crippling or deadly. How amazing that surgeons can re-attach digits, that EMT techs can re-start heartbeats, and that some medicines can cure or prevent life-threatening diseases! In general, people are living longer and enjoying better quality of life than ever before.
But there are drawbacks, too. Western medicine tends to study the body on a microscopic, cellular level, rather than looking at the whole person. The causes of many diseases remain unknown, so treatments usually address symptoms only. Conditions may come back if you stop taking your medicine. Medicines can have serious side effects. Surgery can create other problems, such as damaged or scarred tissues. Specialists focus on one part of your body, not the whole, so that problems are not understood as being connected to one another. It can feel as if you are being treated like a machine, with separate parts, not as a real person. Sometimes a doctor might try to help you solve one problem, only to find that others then crop up or worsen. And while we talk about prevention, most doctors are not trained in nutrition, and often don’t have the time or inclination to discuss their patients’ lifestyle choices in any depth.
What happens in our body when we are sick?
The cell–the most fundamental unit of the human body– every second that we are alive, has an amazing ability to renew itself.
When a pathogen enters your body, or your body is injured, it launches all necessary systems to diagnose the problem and then begins producing healing factors to work in concert. First, white blood cells go to the area to fight any infection that may have gotten in. They kill off any weak or dying cells. If cells are only slightly damaged, they can switch on special genes which start repairs. If they are too old or damaged, they will self-destruct. When there is bleeding, the platelet cells form a blood clot, so that you will not bleed to death. Once all of this is done, and the rubbish of damaged, dead cells has been cleared away, healthy cells start making copies of themselves to fill the gaps.
This is a vitally important process, and the body must work and watch carefully, because if anything goes wrong–say, unhealthy cells are not cleared away, or start making copies of themselves— the result can be serious disease, such as cancer or autoimmune disease.
Self-healing ability is our miracle doctor.
If you have ever had a pet or the chance to observe a sick animal, you may remember what they do to recover. They usually choose to lie there, without any activity, not even eating. Their bodies just concentrate on healing, conserving all energy for self-repair.
Human beings are the same. When we are sick, we need to rest, eat very lightly, and drink a lot of water, allowing our body to fix any damage and clear out any waste. We are born with this innate ability to self-heal; however, it relies on good lifestyle to encourage it. Sometimes there are impurities that block energy flow to the compromised area. If we continually feed “junk” food into the body, and don’t allow it the rest it needs, then our ability to regenerate cells and heal our own illness and injuries is severely dampened. You are the only one who is responsible to your health!
We can understand and appreciate that our bodies can heal themselves, and at the same time, we should know that sometimes we need additional assistance. For example, if there are too many toxins in the body, a detox program can help eliminate them. If there is an imbalance that is too severe, herbs can help. When there are blockages of Qi in the body, acupuncture or electro-acupuncture can help free them up. What we offer at Art of wellness is the promotion of the body’s natural healing to take place.
But, who is your best doctor? YOU ARE. Recognize, respect, and take responsibility for your own healing power. When you not feeling well, find a good team to assist your body to heal itself. Remember, prevention comes before treatment. Let healthy lifestyle become a habit. Investment in your health is the best win-win decision.