What is Healing?
Your health and your healing process are your responsibility. This is a critical realization. No one can fix you. There is no magic pill, magic acupuncture point, magic healer, magic doctor. The magic IS the healing. The healing comes from within you. The healing that your body is capable of generating is truly miraculous!!
No one can tell you what is right for you. Only you can make that determination for your self, based on your education, research, connecting with others, intuition and learning from mistakes.
The medical professionals are there to provide you with information and options. They cannot fix you. You are not broken and therefore not fixable. You are healable and heal-ability comes from your innate intelligent mind/body.
The medical professionals are the signs on the side of your highway of life. (highway=the known, charted and shared universe) Some signs are old and outdated. Some have fallen down, or are hanging upside down and therefore, their message is read backwards from the original intention. Some are correct but not complete, some are complete, true and fully accurate-----but even the completely accurate ones cannot tell you what lies in the unknown territory just off the side of the road which may hold an special piece of information for you.
Maybe there are treasures buried beneath some old ruins that no one knew was there and they are only for you to find as you explore and investigate the unknown universe.
Follow what makes sense to you. If you begin to do something that does not feel right, switch strategies----but not out of panic and desperation. When in doubt; wait, reflect, ask your inner advisor.
There are many GREAT books (libraries, internet sites) to use to investigate your options. Do not feel pressured to begin treatment until you are satisfactorily informed. There are many beautiful restoration stories of recovered health. Fear and its many masks; anxiety, terror, panic, or hysteria keep a disease condition in the dark ages of ignorance, preventing the shedding of light upon the issue. The dissemination of information always dispels fear, which is the primary obstacle to healing.
One of the greatest Chinese Medicine teachers and practitioners of our time, Jeffrey Yuen, reminds us that “there are no intractable diseases, only intractable people”, and if the invitation to change your behaviors/actions is not answered with a yes, then the message contained within the symptom-communication attempts have not been heard and acknowledged. If the invitation to change is accepted, and the changes are implemented, the symptom expression will begin to subside. Message delivered, message heeded, message no longer needed.
Healing is something in which you engage. It is in your grasp. It can be enhanced (through herbs, nutrients and diet), accessed (through acupuncture modalities, qi cultivation, breathing techniques, and postures), and magnified (laser, vibrational tools, moxa, etc.), but the only place it can be found is within you. Healing is finding a sense of wholeness and complete well-being. It is not about being saved or skirting death, although this can certainly happen. It is not about cheating death, because healing often happens right in the midst of the dying process.
Do seek assistance and do accept help in order to take on the true challenge of healing: a journey within your self.
~Dr. Therese Walsh-Van Keuren
CJOM Article, Published
Title: Your vision for the future of Oriental Medicine and Integrative Medicine in the US - the next 10-20 years, and what we can do to help bring that vision into being?
By Therese Walsh-Van Keuren, Ph.D., L.Ac.
In the United States, Oriental/Asian Medicine and Integrative Medicine will surely continue moving in the direction of greater acceptance within the general medical system.
When I first entered into the study of Oriental Medicine, I was so enthusiastic about the field. I felt that there had been no better time for me than that very moment to enter and contribute to this field of medicine. That was in April 1993. Every single year since then, I have continued to feel more strongly about that insight, and every year does, in fact, get better. Better visibility, better exposure, better community awareness, better scientific studies on Acupuncture and Oriental Herbal Medicine published, better translations of texts available, better professional discourse, conferences, and symposiums, better education and certification programs being developed, and better integration of the various disciplines of medicine available for the consumer of healthcare optimization.
I work in a multi-disciplinary integrative clinic in Los Gatos. The doctors are very much operating like you might have seen in the Television show: Private Practice. And how about that?? A TV show with an acupuncturist working in a Integrative Medical Clinic in Southern California. That’s what I mean! Better Visibility. My colleagues and I cross-refer and hold team consults on cases that we work on together, and this is the true meaning of integrated medicine. I live in that world each day. But having integration in the clinic is not enough. Reaching out to other clinics and medical professionals increases the integration of different fields of medicine in the larger community. Kaiser Permanente offers Acupuncture, yoga, meditation, stress management classes and more. Something is happening! All around us! And it is just the beginning!!
Another opportunity to see the expansion of Oriental medicine and Integrative medicine happens in the universities. While teaching classes at Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Jose, and the University of East West Medicine in Sunnyvale CA, I see that we have some of the best programs for the community at our clinic. For example, one of our programs focus on U.S. veterans, offering treatment with Acupuncture at no cost. When living in Southern California, I taught a class to second year medical students at UCLA on Oriental Medicine. The budding ideas to implement new programs grow each day. The desire to add more advanced degrees to academic centers, like Ph.Ds and DAOMs reflect the passion to continue growing in this field and deepening our wisdom and knowledge and expertise.
We, as Classical Chinese Medical Professionals, promote integration by being passionate about Chinese/Asian Medicine and interfacing with other medical professionals, whether at the clinic where you treat patients, at a business networking meeting for natural healers (Natural Healers Network) or at the university. We share what we love about Chinese medicine, and learn more about other perspectives and specialties in health care. This year was even better than last year for Chinese Medicine and Integrative Medicine and next year is going to be even better. Keep the love alive in your community.
Bring the Vision of Integration into being in your community by:
1. building case management teams with the other medical professionals that your patients are already seeing regularly
2. Get involved in “programs” offered at the nearest university for integrated medicine.
3. Network with other medical professionals in your area. Build referral lists and cross refer with other professionals.
4. Offer treatments to your medical colleagues who have not experienced acupuncture and to those who already have, because the way you deliver the body of understanding is unique.
5. Give talks that introduce Chinese Medicine to the community at the Library, Pharmacy or Hospital.
We have a gift to share with people who not only need it, but are interested in what we are doing.
What is integrative Medicine?
Dr. Weil is one of the leading proponents of integrative medicine. It's important to grasp what integrative medicine is, and is not.
The first step is mastering some basic terms.
Using synthetic drugs and surgery to treat health conditions was known just a few decades ago as, simply, "medicine." Today, this system is increasingly being termed "conventional medicine." This is the kind of medicine most Americans still encounter in hospitals and clinics. Often both expensive and invasive, it is also very good at some things; for example, handling emergency conditions such as massive injury or a life-threatening stroke. Dr. Weil is unstinting in his appreciation for conventional medicine's strengths. "If I were hit by a bus," he says, "I'd want to be taken immediately to a high-tech emergency room." Some conventional medicine is scientifically validated, some is not.
Any therapy that is typically excluded by conventional medicine, and that patients use instead of conventional medicine, is known as "alternative medicine." It's a catch-all term that includes hundreds of old and new practices ranging from acupuncture to homeopathy to iridology. Generally alternative therapies are closer to nature, cheaper and less invasive than conventional therapies, although there are exceptions. Some alternative therapies are scientifically validated, some are not. An alternative medicine practice that is used in conjunction with a conventional one is known as a "complementary" medicine. Example: using ginger syrup to prevent nausea during chemotherapy. Together, complementary and alternative medicines are often referred to by the acronym CAM.
Enter integrative medicine. As defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, integrative medicine "combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness."
In other words, integrative medicine "cherry picks" the very best, scientifically validated therapies from both conventional and CAM systems. In his New York Times review of Dr. Weil's latest book, "Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Physical and Spiritual Well-Being," Abraham Verghese, M.D., summed up this orientation well, stating that Dr. Weil, "doesn't seem wedded to a particular dogma, Western or Eastern, only to the get-the-patient-better philosophy."
So this is a basic definition of integrative medicine. What follows is the complete one, which serves to guide both Dr. Weil's work and that of integrative medicine physicians and teachers around the world:
Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.
The principles of integrative medicine:
- A partnership between patient and practitioner in the healing process
- Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body's innate healing response
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including mind, spirit and community as well as body
- A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically
- Recognition that good medicine should be based in good science, be inquiry driven, and be open to new paradigms
- Use of natural, effective, less-invasive interventions whenever possible
- Use of the broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease
- Training of practitioners to be models of health and healing, committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development
By Brad Lemley