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Chi and Oriental Medicine

Acupuncture remained relatively unheard of until 1971 when James Reston, a reporter for the New York Times accompanied President Nixon on a trip to China and found himself needing an appendectomy where acupuncture was used to ease his pain after surgery.

Oriental Medicine (what most people think of as only ‘acupuncture’) is a new arrival on today’s evolving health care scene. This newness, combined with the unfamiliarity of Oriental Medicine’s underlying ideas — Chi, Yin-Yang, 5 Element Theory — can understandably puzzle a Western-educated mind.

When you breathe air into your lungs, you’re bringing ‘Chi’ into your body.

For example, after a few treatments you may find yourself saying: “I feel much better, but I don’t understand why.”

Some people tell me they think to themselves: “I don’t know what this ‘Chi’ thing is, but I just feel good after doing Chi Kung.” Or, “I don’t know what ‘Chi’ is, but I sure feel much better after an acupuncture treatment.”

Trust How You Feel

Until you become more familiar with how the Oriental Medicine treatment process works, once your body is feeling better, the mind is known to play a little questioning game that goes something like this: “What am I doing? What is this? How is this happening? This is totally different from what I’m used to.” And perhaps you have other variations to add to the list.

Elite Western medical centers like the Mayo Clinic, Duke University Medical Center, and the University of California-San Francisco now offer acupuncture.

Or maybe someone who knows you’ve been having health problems says: “You’re looking good; what have you been doing?” And all you can think to say is, “Oh, I’m doing this ancient Oriental Medicine stuff.”; which can cause a bit of ‘social dissonance’ (especially if most people you know typically talk about their procedures, medications, and tests). 

You may also wonder: “Wow, nobody else I know is talking about or using Oriental Medicine” — and then realize the ‘security-of-the-crowd’ is conspicuously absent.

Knowing Is Your Guide

And then comes the point in the treatment process where you begin to remember: You remember ... I feel better ... I feel healthier ... I feel good.

You remember how you felt when other approaches weren’t working well for you and you decided to try Oriental Medicine. Often, it wasn’t that long ago that your problem was acute, and now it’s much better — or gone.

So now you know the ‘power’ of Oriental Medicine, but you still don’t know what this thing called “Chi” is.

So What Is Chi?

Chi (pronounced “Chee”) is the foundational idea of Oriental Medicine. Chi has been understood since ancient times, and although many other East Asian products made their way along the ‘Silk Road’ between east and west — gunpowder, porcelain and tea — the concept and practice of ‘Chi’ — while available — was not in high demand.

What is Chi
A new born baby
is brimming with Chi;
A dead person
has none.

Today Oriental Medicine is finding its way into the broad American mainstream — through the new ‘Silk Road’ of global trade — and finding its place within the American health care system.

So you could say that to feel healthy is to feel your Chi, with Chi being your body’s energy or ‘life-force.’ When you have enough Chi, and it’s getting everywhere in your body that it needs to be, you feel healthy.  And when you feel healthy, you have the energy you need to do the things you want and need to do. That energy is called ‘Chi.’

Chi is the bio-electrical energy that flows through your body all the time. When it’s flowing smoothly, you feel good; when it gets blocked or tangled up, you feel pain or discomfort.

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    IMPORTANT: All information on this Web site is provided for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of a local Oriental Medicine practitioner, biomedical doctor, experienced coach, or martial arts instructor.