Herbal Medicine: Everything Old Is New Again
“There is nothing new under the sun.” This Solomonic wisdom is resonating at Cleveland Clinic’s new Chinese herbal-therapy ward that “primarily sees patients with conditions that Western medicine has, for whatever reason, failed to remedy.”
At BIOM, it’s also our experience that quite often people try Oriental Medicine when they have not had success with conventional treatment. And helping with the hard stuff is a great way to show that what’s been growing under the sun for millennia is still useful today.
All the same, Chinese medicinal herbs being prescribed in the mainstream medical system is likely to raise many an eyebrow; especially when Cleveland Clinic’s medical director, Dr. Daniel Neides, MD said: “Western medicine may not have all the answers.”
The Yin-Yang of Treatment
It’s wonderful for the health of people that Oriental Medicine in its various modalities—herbs, acupuncture, diet & nutrition, chi kung—is gradually being absorbed into the wider society.
And just as the doctors running the Cleveland Clinic are prudent to provide MD-oversight of herbal prescriptions to prevent bad reactions that can result when some pharmaceutical drugs encounter certain herbs in the body (relative to each person’s unique health situation), it’s also important to note that the Cleveland Clinic’s herbal ward is run by a trained Oriental Medicine practitioner.
This is important for the same reason an Oriental Medicine herbalist is not certified to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs: lack of training; medical doctors are not trained to prescribe Chinese medicinal herbs.
To illustrate the point: consider that at Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine, the Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine degree program consists of 3,150 academic and clinical hours over three years.
Contrast that with the fact that there is no accredited training in Chinese medicinal herbs for medical doctors. And where medical doctors have been licensed to perform acupuncture, a leading certification program of medical acupuncture for physicians “is organized into … home study and video course viewing, live lectures and demonstrations, and clinical training consisting of 300 hours of formal instruction in medical acupuncture.”
Clearly, acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs, are specialized areas of expertise and the Cleveland Clinic is wise to recognize that in its integrative approach to health care.
High Quality Chinese Medicinal Herbs
From an Oriental Medicine professional’s point of view, it’s very encouraging to see that Cleveland Clinic, like BIOM, is using the same high quality medical herb formulas from Kaiser Pharmaceutical.
What’s different though, while Cleveland Clinic uses compounding pharmacies in Massachusetts and California to create specialized custom herbal blends to address very specific health conditions, at BIOM, Kitty blends your customized herbal formulas while you rest on the table listening to music or quiet.
Cultural Exchange Is Healthy
So, it’s a wonderful thing that Chinese medicinal herbs are gradually being integrated into the American cultural mainstream. The way was paved back in the 1970s when Nixon went to China and James Reston, a New York times reporter, found himself undergoing an emergency appendectomy in a Chinese hospital where acupuncture was used to ease his pain after surgery.
Which gets us to appreciating the cultural bridge that has been built, enabling more and more Americans to enjoy the benefits of both western and eastern medicine here, in our own hospitals.
With the key underlying benefit being: if you practice preventative methods, like Oriental Medicine, you significantly reduce the likelihood of winding up in a hospital at all.
Understanding Energy ~ Inside and Out
Every thing costs something to produce ... and that cost is not in dollars, other currency, gold or silver ... at least not directly; the direct cost of every thing is ENERGY ... without ENERGY ... you can’t even get out of bed.
Tai Chi ... ‘Grand Ultimate’ ... is an ancient symbol ... a code representing how the energy of Life flows ... inside and out ...
We’re all aware of the cost of energy these days; from the price we pay at the pump to fuel our cars, and what we pay to heat and cool our houses. Most of us are aware every morning as we lift ourselves up and out of bed, and again when we lie down at night to sleep, how much energy we have—or don’t have—to do everything we need and want to do each day. This is the energy that Oriental Medicine refers to as CHI or HEALTH.
A Fact of Life
Energy is a fact of Life; it can even be described as Life itself because without energy, nothing happens. When you have a lot of it, you can do a lot of things. When someone has very little energy, that’s not a good situation. In fact when a person has no energy at all, we call that person—dead.
Energy is what fuels the economy which we all depend on to make a living. Everyone goes to great lengths to get energy, so much so that wars are fought over it. Everyone understands the need for energy—especially as it dwindles.
Energy: Inside and Out
At BIOM we discuss energy a lot ... from two different perspectives: internally and externally. To preserve, conserve and manage our Chi~Energy ‘internally’ ... we eat in a Five Element Way, which includes Chinese medicinal herbs. We use acupuncture to balance the Chi~Energy as it moves through our bodies, and we enjoy Chi Kung to keep our Chi~Energy vibrant.
Like you, we’re also concerned about how expensive energy has become ‘externally’ in terms of what it costs. The cost of energy should be measured in terms of how much Chi you have to expend in order to get the money needed to fuel our households, businesses and jobs. (Note: Money is an energy derivative. It’s a proxy for energy. No one gives you money unless you do something in exchange for it, and what you’re exchanging for money is your Chi~Energy.)
Remember the old high school physics principle that taught: “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed ... it can only be changed from one form to another.” Changing energy from one form to another is what happens on this plane of existence.
It’s what happens when we eat the photosynthesized solar energy that is a plant, so our bodies can convert the plant’s energy into the metabolic energy we use to fuel our lives. It’s what the electric company does with coal, and the oil company does with petroleum; they convert the solar energy in these fossil fuels so we can buy them with the money we get in exchange for our Chi to do EVERYTHING we do in our lives that requires energy.
It’s important to realize that we have a limited amount of energy available to us … inside and out … and BE MINDFUL of how we use it.
Protect Yourself Against Cold
To avoid getting sick, keep your wrists, ankles, and especially the back of your neck from being exposed to the cold. When you’re outside, be sensitive to how you feel and make sure your extremities don’t get too cold—especially your fingers and toes.
When your Kidneys are working well, the proper amount of heat is generated in your body, and normal precautions like “bundling up” in the winter will prevent cold from entering and getting trapped in your body. When your Kidneys are out of balance, you’ll notice a persistent feeling of cold in your lower back and extremities. If this is the case, you need to strengthen them. Otherwise you’ll be more vulnerable to pathogens and illness.