Foundations for Health
These days there are many exogenous influences that affect our health -- urban overpopulation; greater demands in the workplace; imminent unemployment and economic decay are at the forefront, not to mention environmental pollutants such as dirty food and the seemingly non-stop contamination of our air and water.
One thing that we have boasted about in this country has been the quality of life that we enjoy. This, however, is not a guarantee but rather a choice. Eating well requires scrupulous planning, label reading, and an almost scientific knowledge of what it is we are being convinced is "safe" to put in our bodies. Our trust in healthcare has been shattered, while skillful lobbying by the pharmaceutical industry and our own inability to become independent of many lifesaving drugs increases our reliance on pharmaceuticals. But one thing that we as human beings can rely on is resourcefulness. With mass communication from e-mail to online communities -- such as Facebook and Twitter -- word spreads quickly, and one thing that is gaining recognition both through media and word-of-mouth is that it can be pretty easy to turn our health around.
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years. The beauty of it is that by simple insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points in the body, our organ system is encouraged to do what it was originally intended to do: to keep us healthy. Western medical-style studies and clinical tests still have difficulty showing how acupuncture works, but my experience and the experience of my patients proves that whatever the biomedical view of the physiological influence of the needles on the human energy system (which has only recently been recognized as existing from an allopathic point of view), it definitely works -- and pretty quickly.
The leading cause of death in the USA is caused iatrogenically,1 which means that it is caused by medical professionals. Although Western medicine saves a huge number of lives each year, we can help ourselves by taking charge of our own health and boosting our immune systems by making some sensible choices. Usually the road to wellness starts with making changes and that can be the hardest part. With President Obama entering office as the first African American president running on the concept of "change," it is clear that we are ready for something that is long overdue.
Stress plays a large role in our health, especially in overpopulated urban environments. It contributes to adrenal exhaustion (something that caffeine overdose and dehydration do not make any better) and the build-up of toxifying metabolic waste in our system. It influences our sleep patterns and our recreational habits -- for a lot of people, alcohol (a depressant on the central nervous system) is a way to calm down after a busy day, but this causes more harm than good in the long term. It makes us compromise our diets because we are not well prepared when "on-the-go", with processed foods and sugar kicking the legs out from under an already depleted immune system.
In our culture, we seem to see a problem and add elements to it to get it to go away. In Asian medicine the opposite is usually the case -- take elements away until the influences that create the problem are reduced sufficiently enough that the problem disappears. Of course that cant always be the case, but if we are honest with ourselves, the fact that our lifestyle is generally excessive cannot be ignored as a factor in both our health and our consciousness.
In treating patients with compromised immune systems with acupuncture and nutrition, I have found that a simple half-hour treatment once a week can have a profound effect over time, and my theory is this: the body wants to be healthy, and if we just give it a chance to do what it does best, it will.
This article was provided by Being Alive. It is a part of the publication Being Alive Newsletter. Visit Being Alive's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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