The world is experiencing a resurgence of the history and practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that is now available to us. Natural remedy references fill the shelves in bookstores, lead discussions amongst health care practitioners and are praised in food magazines to promote healthy lifestyles. Still, there is a sense of mystery and magic to this four-thousand year old archive of wisdom.
We are the result of how and what we eat. Simply that. The powers contained in, and then released from, everything we consume (eat, inhale, see and smell) impacts us in ways both small and large. Because of its uninterrupted and continued application in the Asiatic world, Eastern Medicine, as it is known today, presents us with a sophisticated and distinct body of knowledge and treatment methods.
Human beings are complex machines. The power of suggestion, along with the combined stimuli from our senses, produces psychological and physiological responses within us. We are partially a result of the knowledge that is offered to us in the early stages of our lives. This period of physical and mental development impacts how we live, where we live, and what we choose to think and hold true. We tend to become comfortable, if not apathetic, in our youthful invincibility; at least, that is, until we are faced with an illness resulting from our chosen lifestyle. Add to this the inherent and infinitely varied, genetic predispositions passed down through generations, and it quickly becomes apparent that a single cure cannot be expected for any given ailment, nor should it be. Despite this, Western medicine dictates that we all, whether young, old, blonde, bold, strong or frail, are to be treated for the same ailment with the same, singular cure/pill/injection. TCM treats the origin of symptoms, balancing physical reactions and supporting underlining physiological harmony.
We are taught from earliest childhood on that we must trust our doctors when they prescribe our medications. However, the processes and research involved in modern pharmaceutical production are incredibly complicated, and unintelligible to most of us. We, the dependent, are powerless to comprehend or understand the full range of effects of these modern medicines. Still though, we have been conditioned to trust the viability of unexplainable, unpronounceable drugs while disregarding “the apple a day” that keeps the doctor away. Ironically, we seem to recognize this apparent conflict, but we continue to participate in our conditioning. Read the disclosures of TCM; they leave rarely toxic traces.
Developing a respect for the physics and chemistry of what we eat does not require a Doctorate. We are constantly lectured about good vs. bad cholesterol, how many calories we should or should not consume, etc. Seemingly forgotten is the simplicity of naturally grown food itself. We could, with relative ease, adapt to a way of eating and making choices that strengthen the immune system and nourish our primary organs, helping us to feel alert, awake, energized and happy. Yes, generically manipulated chemicals can do this quickly, and sometimes effectively; however, we are learning more and more of the horrible, long-term effects associated with this approach. We coexist today with allergies and illnesses that are undocumented in our past, slowly making us sickly, worried, and overly sensitive.
The reality of modern living subjects our system to 75% generically-modified foods, praised in super markets. 25% of all cattle on super-farms are infected with the pathogen E.coli. Annually, the US farmers use over 750 million pounds of herbicides, and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) estimates we all, humans and animals, carry about 700 chemical contaminants in our cells, turning some human intestinal organisms antibiotic resistant! Chemical synergies, Teflon, and plastic fragments are proven to cause child cancer and attention disorders. Synthetic chemical reactions are in control of our immune system. Anyone born after 1950 has probably inherited non-biodegradable toxins. However, most non-manipulated plants present themselves in the same form as they did thousands of years ago. So, how have we come to this current state? Along with budding religious consciousness thousands of years ago, grew sophisticated healing arts. Grave samples discovered from the Stone Age and analyzed by modern DNA technology, show astonishing parallels in correct usage and applications of plant varieties. Egyptian mummification practices demonstrated some of the most advanced uses of natural power. The Greco-Roman period broadened the range of healing Gods, with Hermes, Apollo, and his daughter Hygiea (who lends her name in the modern practice of disease prevention through “hygiene”). During the fourth century, schools of modern science were founded, and today’s doctors swear an ethical oath to Hippocrates, whose lectures listed four hundred applications of herbal remedies. However, today’s doctors do not learn nor teach his lectures any longer.