by Shoshanna Katzman:
Chinese medicine works toward bringing the body’s energetic system back into balance rather than focusing on treatment of symptoms. This is a challenging concept to understand for the many people who are primarily concerned with alleviating their symptoms. An acupuncture treatment may get rid of symptoms but if it doesn’t address the root cause then chances are that symptoms will return in the same or different form at a later date.
The Chinese medicine approach is in resolving the root cause to eliminate symptoms making long term improvement more imminent. It focuses on re-establishing proper flow of qi (vital life force) throughout the body, balancing the energetics of the vital organs and manifesting a stronger connection between the mind, body and spirit. This serves to create an overall sense of well-being, increased energy and decreased inflammation. It allows a person to deal with stress more effectively and more easily handle whatever life throws their way.
Chinese medicine works to build energetic immunity which empowers one to ward off external pernicious factors, which is of particular interest these days when considering the challenges of the pandemic.
The key is to heal the body from the inside out and bring it back into homeostasis. This means that symptoms may be pushed out and felt more during the beginning of the healing process. Experiencing such a result is oftentimes difficult to accept even though it may be essential in reaching an improved state of health. It is, therefore, important to be patient and trust in the body’s ability to heal itself, regardless of pre-conceived notions. It takes time for energetic imbalance to develop and thus time for it to be resolved.
When imbalance continues over an extended period of time the result is often in the form of physical symptoms. This provides deeper insight into why it is necessary to address the energetic imbalance first and foremost for lasting results. A quick fix is not necessarily the best way to go.
Change in lifestyle is another important key in many situations. This means that a person needs to stop and take a deeper look at patterns and habits contributing to imbalance. Making changes in food, drink, exercise, sleep and work patterns are five major ones. Additionally, working on developing a more positive attitude and finding ways to have more down-time and play along with getting back to nature may also prove beneficial.
Taking baby steps in most instances is the most sensible choice when embarking upon lifestyle changes. Each person knows what they can handle and needs to honor this to be successful. This may include, for example, going from three cups of coffee per day down to one. Bringing greater regularity into what time they go to bed and awaken is another good place to start. Being more mindful of keeping better boundaries around time spent on technology devices can also be of great help. The important thing is that changes be made and sustained over the long run, rather than slipping back into old habits.
The ultimate goal is to feel your best by optimizing flow of qi throughout your entire being. This is achieved through releasing blockages along with resolving excess and deficient conditions. The beauty of Chinese medicine is that it has several approaches to choose from.
Taiji and Qigong exercise allows one to heal themselves through dedicated practice. Chinese herbal medicine taken internally can restore balance. And Acupuncture treatment heals the body through the insertion of ultra-thin needles that helps one access their innate healing ability. There is also moxibustion that is used to bring warmth to an area in need of greater circulation and cupping which releases stagnant qi at the root of nagging pain. These modalities provide an excellent adjunct to traditional Western medical care, combining the best of east and west to attain the highest level of health possible.
Shoshanna Katzman, L.Ac., M.S. is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and director of Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center (www.healing4u.com) in Shrewsbury, NJ for over thirty years. She 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. Shoshanna has taught Taiji for 47 years and is a 6th generation lineage holder of the Guang Ping Yang Style Taiji Form. She will soon be releasing a Taiji curriculum entitled Center of Power: Life Mastery through Taiji. Shoshanna offers weekly Taiji and Qigong classes. For more information call or text 732-758-1800 or send an email to email@example.com