Ancient Medicine for a Modern World

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Oriental Medicine is a gentle system of medicine which involves several modalities, all having the same goal: to assist a person in regaining and retaining their optimal health, physically and emotionally. That is certainly what is most often practiced by Acupuncture Physicians in Western culture, as many people find their way to seek such help after they have been through traditional Western medical and surgical intervention. In the Orient, however, it is understood that Oriental medicine is truly a preventative system in health care. The body can be energetically adjusted as needed according to the subtle changes that are detected through Chinese pulse diagnosis and symtomatology. I would like to make it clear that treatment with Oriental medicine in no way excludes or denies the appropriateness of Western medicine. I feel that there is a great need for both systems to be practiced in this country. Many parts of the world, including many European countries, are well-versed in the use of both systems. If a person can be treated with natural and gentle methods and responds well, then more aggressive methods may not be necessary. Western medicine has certainly made amazing advances in specific diagnostic testing and complex surgical procedures. Emergency medicine and aggressive treatment are sometimes what is most appropriate for a person. When a patient comes to me for acupuncture, they have often exhausted the options that Western medicine provides. In my experience, both personally and professionally, Chinese medicine provides highly effective healthcare, where the patient can begin their effort to regain good health rather than viewing it as a last resort. The imagery used by the ancients reflected their view of the body as an internal landscape, much like the external environment. Although this may sound simplistic or esoteric, it is actually an organized system of correspondences and treatments designed to resolve these internal alterations and are logically based. The body has an innate intelligence which is evident by the adaptations we are constantly making to maintain body function and health. Chinese medicine works as a catalyst for change, communicating with this innate intelligence via acupuncture, herbology, and other modalities. What is so incredible about the ancient Chinese is that through centuries of observation and documentation, they managed to put together an extensive system of medicine and herbal pharmiacopeia without disregarding all that came before them. Each Dynasty added to and altered this body of knowledge. Documentation dates back 1500 years. What Taoist philosophy states is that “the universe is unknowable, but it is observable.” There are not rules in nature: there is the way of nature. We can choose to continue and observe these ways, as was done thousands of years ago, and take actions needed to live more harmoniously.

Modalities Used in Oriental Medicine Acupuncture: Acupuncture originated more than 3.000 years ago. The World Health Organization of the United Nations advocates acupuncture as a safe, cost effective means of treating many illnesses and pain syndromes. Just as we know we have circulatory, nervous, and lymphatic systems, the Chinese noted a meridian system. This organized system of energy pathways in the body where Qi (bio-energy) flows are accessed through stimulation with acupuncture via the acupuncture points. These points act as cave-like entry ways to the meridians, each having detailed purposes of their own. These points are also energetically connected to specific organs, body structures and systems. When energy circulation is impaired in the meridian system or internal organs, pain or illness may result. Acupuncture assists the body in resuming the intended smooth flow of this energy. Acupuncture needles are very fine and do not feel anything like injection. They are solid and nothing is injected through them. In my practice, as with many others, only pre-sterilized, disposable needles are used and discarded in accordance with state regulations. Most people report feeling relaxed and very comfortable while receiving an acupuncture treatment.

Herbal Medicine: Chinese pharmacology is used to nurture and invigorate the body via tissue-specific herbs. Qi and blood can be assisted in moving smoothly through the body, changing internal conditions. These herbs are non-toxic and generally do not produce side effects.

Acupressure Massage: Using finger pressure, the acupuncture points are stimulated and the pathways of the meridians can be massaged to resume normal energy flow. Muscular knots are easily dissolved using gentle yet firm pressure.

Moxibustation: This form of heat therapy uses a specially prepared herbal compound formed into a cigar-like roll which warms the acupuncture points. A very pleasant sensation of warmth is produced in the surrounding tissues.

Cupping and Gwa Sha: Both cupping and Gwa Sha techniques are used to relieve congestion in the muscles, tissues, and meridians. Energy under the surface of the skin is encouraged to move and stagnation is thereby eliminated. This is achieved by non-painful suction cups or a rubbing technique with a rounded edge instrument.

Nutrition: Nutritional guidance is offered tailored to patients needs using food therapy and supplements. It is very important to understand what foods in the diet presently may be contributing factors for disharmony in a person’s body.

Exercise: Much like nutrition, this very important physical factor significantly influences health and well being. Therapeutic exercises are taught to increase mobility and decrease pain. Leslie Landy is an Acupuncture Physician in private practice in Deerfield Beach, Florida.Any questions regarding Chinese medicine in relation to specific health problems can be sent directly to her office.

Leslie D. Landy, O.M.D., A.P.2501 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Suite 107, Deerfield Beach, FL, 33442

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