Chinese medicine teaches “where the mind goes the qi follows” – meaning state of mind is essential to maintaining wellness. This involves a process of clearing negative thoughts and replacing them with inner calm, acceptance and support of oneself. Within this paradigm, the patient does the healing, not the healthcare practitioner. The job of the practitioner is rather to empower the patient to discover their innate healing capacity - as true healing stems from the inside out, not the outside in. This transfers ownership of healing where it belongs - into a person’s own hands.
Learning how to connect and access this ability is the beauty of a holistic approach to balanced health. A practitioner provides the tools to spark this action into being through setting the stage according to each person’s individual needs. The ultimate goal is opening the key to abundant flow of energy, which according to the ancient Chinese medicine principles is the way of restoring vibrant health and well-being. This produces more long-lasting results due to addressing the root of a problem in combination with external symptoms. The road to recovery begins with the willingness to step up and take personal responsibility – rather than relinquishing personal healing power to another.
Seeking guidance through talk therapy with a psychotherapist or social worker may be appropriate to help with changing behavior patterns when necessary. Experiencing a massage provides quiet time for tuning into and addressing needs of the physical body. Acupuncture is beneficial for balancing the body both physically and energetically - as it releases blockages and provides opportunity for putting innate healing to the test. Learning qigong, tai chi or yoga is another path for discovering self-healing ability. Each of these modalities bring one closer to wholeness through enhancing awareness of internal sensations and processing of feelings.
Listening carefully and honoring one’s inner voice becomes the basis for change. This includes interactions between oneself and others, food and drink choices, sleep habits, exercise routine, amount of fresh air as well as level of rest and relaxation. Each person knows instinctively what they need to do to restore and gain health and wellness. Providing self with quiet time to feel and know what needs to be shifted to manifest hopes and dreams is a good starting point. Commitment to self-care and a positive outlook builds trust that things can and will get better.
In 2014, researchers in Canada found the first evidence to suggest that support groups that encourage meditation and yoga altered the cellular activity of cancer survivors. Their study was published in the journal Cancer, and was one of the first scientific studies to suggest that a mind-body connection does exist. In the 1980s, Candace Pert, Ph.D. was one of the first to realize the unified and integrated level at which physiology, mind and consciousness interact to either augment or diminish wellness. Her work in neuro-psycho immunology has clearly demonstrated the mind/body connection and has been a significant contributor to the emergence of MindBody medicine as an area of legitimate scientific research. Drs. Norman Cousins and Bernie Siegel also contributed to this notion as early as the 1970s, when they demonstrated that laughter helped people deal with difficulties, leading to a fully, empowered life.
Every individual holds tremendous capacity for achieving a state of balance and wholeness. This becomes especially important when faced with a health challenge. This often comes with the profound realization of how much strength lies within. It presents the opportunity to express compassion and love for oneself. It is simply a matter of discovering how to re-integrate one’s body, mind and spirit. There are many paths toward accessing innate healing capacity. For some, it is found through an artful expression such as painting, drawing or sculpting. For others, it may be taking a walk in nature. It begins with the willingness to look, the fortitude to continue the search and the wisdom to know when it has been discovered.
Know that the natural state of being is to be in a perfect state of health. Things may happen that throw this off balance. Maintaining faith and trust in one’s ability to regain wholeness is essential - as is staying cognizant and respectful of one’s feelings. Accepting and surrendering is another major component for manifestation of positive change. This takes commitment and dedication to the healing process accompanied by a keen desire to indeed get better. The goal is to find a compassionate healthcare mentor who listens with an open heart and mind. This sets the stage for the awakening of intuitive capacity and tuning into one’s natural instinct and inner knowledge – exactly what is needed to restore true and everlasting healing.
Shoshanna Katzman, L.Ac., M.S. is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist, Tai Chi and Qigong Instructor as well as director of Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Shrewsbury, NJ approaching 30 years. Shoshanna is author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20-Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy and co-author of Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness. For more information be sure to visit www.healing4u.com and www.qigong4.us.