The sages of antiquity did not treat those who were already sick, but those who were not sick… When a disease has already broken out and is only then treated, would that not be just as late as to wait for thirst before digging a well, or to wait to go into battle before casting weapons?                              (Nei Jing)

This quote is proof that Chinese Medicine (CM) and acupuncture have long valued Preventive Medicine above emergency disease intervention. Historically in China, each village was under the care of one doctor in return for taking care of him. The traditional Chinese doctor’s job was to keep the village from getting sick in the first place because once they were sick, they would be unable to support him. Western Medicine, on the other hand, works the opposite way. It only treats people once they are sick.

This may explain why Chinese Medicine spent so much effort into the understanding of the causes of diseases. In Western Medicine, quite a lot of diseases are considered idiopathic, literally meaning ‘of unknown causes’. There may be some understanding of the underlying pathomechanisms (the ways the disease progresses from nothing to something), but for now there is much that Western Medicine does not understand about the causes of disease. This explains their lack of ability to deliver preventive care.

The advantage of Chinese Medicine’s simplicity is its ability to explain, in its own terms, 99.999% of disease processes, and then to be able to suggest preventive solutions.

Fortunately, CM contributes a great deal to our Western understanding of risk factors and behaviors. Because CM was practiced for over 4000 years without lab tests or visual studies, it developed other methods of disease detection. Subtle manifestations can be caught earlier, and imbalances reversed quickly instead of allowing them to worsen over years into life-threatening illnesses.

Once the nature of your imbalance is known, foods, habits, and exercises can be suggested that will stop the disease process in its tracks, or at least slow it down.

Living preventive health does come with changes in our lifestyles that might be difficult at first to put into place. Most of all, it calls us to re-examine every aspect of our lives, our choices, our values, and our plans.

The good news is that you don’t have to change everything all at once. Don’t even think about it. The goal is to make progress rather than attain perfection. If you choose to embrace Preventive Medicine you are joining a growing society of health. Baby Boomers in particular have flocked to Alternative Medicine.

resize_PreventionAppleSqThe first step is to make the all-important decision to start living a life of preventive health. No one can make that decision except you.

Best wishes in your journey of health!

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