True holistic medicine does not just cover up symptoms!
If Traditional Chinese Medicine heals the root cause of illness then why should we ever skip diagnosing and treating the root cause?
TCM is in part an energy medicine, and in part a physical medicine. It is also in one part a mindfulness practice, and another part nutritional medicine. TCM has multiple facets that treat illness at various levels. (Just like Ayurveda, and other traditional medicines.)
There are other modalities that are ONLY energy medicines, and I for one, love reiki, and I have trained in Pranic healing. But there is something to keep in mind when opting for an energy healer instead of medicine.
Just like sometimes, some of western medicine is basically a con job, or a snake oil sales gig, peddling narcotics that aim to cover up the VERY VALUABLE symptoms, so can energy healing be just something that covers up very valuable symptoms, but when is it, and how can we know the difference?
I have experienced my fair share of sitting through snake oil sales pitches, I guess it goes with the territory of working in traditional and alternative medicine, somehow we are supposed to dupe people? These sales pitches are by and large presented as “biomedicine”, but the foundation of solid research is lacking.
As we might all know by now, even the most common pharmaceutical can be a con job, and I count opioids, over prescription of antidepressants, over prescription of Gabapentin, and off label prescription of low dose naltrexone, and overuse of antibiotics and more, among this category. A con job. Fine. But what about energy medicine?
(Notice that I am not rejecting the validity of these medications when they are prescribed correctly.)
The body is a self healing organism, The body can harm itself and it can heal itself, in ways that we call “placebo”. Placebo can be used as a treatment modality in its own right, it is that effective sometimes.
There is a place for placebo both in western medicine and in energy healing modalities. The body does in fact have an ability to “heal itself” and it does so all day long, every day, in many ways, without us ever noticing. If there is a chance to tap into this placebo effect then why not do it?
The problem with over prescription of meds is that even though let’s say antibiotics were prescribed for a virus, which it does nothing for, they still have side effects, not only in the individual’s body, but also in the environment as well. Maybe there was a quicker relief due to the placebo effect, but the overuse of pharmaceuticals washes out through urine, and into our water. There is no pharmaceutical that does not reach the environment somehow and someway. Antibiotics harm the gut microbiome, which then has to rebuild its diversity after the course of antibiotics is finished. Sometimes, the placebo effect is just fine to aim for, but other times it should be considered too harmful.
Sometimes energy healing is ALSO a problem, and I will explain why, and when you need to look deeper into your own healing.
In traditional Chinese medicine, and in Ayurveda, naturopathic medicine and so on, the doctor looks for the root of the illness. The root of the illness can be likened to referred pain which is caused by perhaps a diseased internal organ. Or, think of a runny nose being a symptom of a viral infection. The viral infection is the root.
Natural medicines look for the deepest root cause. If the root cause of the runny nose is a viral infection in western medicine, the root cause of the same runny nose even though it is a viral infection. is perhaps an underlying weakened immune system, when seen from the perspective of natural medicine.
Treating the root cause creates a strong body that can withstand illness, that doesn’t create disease, and is not accident prone.
Unfortunately, we are sold the same kind of snake oil healing from natural medicine just as often as we are from western medicine. It can easily become, “here take this pill”, or “here just let me sell you this energy healing session”, but all that happens is perhaps a temporary cover up of symptoms.
The question is, is Reiki, Pranic healing and other such practices misguided, and can they create deeper suffering than they set out to relieve?
I am not saying not to use those modalities. I enjoy energy healing modalities, and have a Reiki healer that I go to, and I have recommended him to other people. Most of the time, it is the so-called placebo effect is tapped into, and when this is enough, the body’s energy systems restore homeostasis, but sometimes, it just covers up the problem for a little while. This is when it can become a problem.
Imagine that I am a salesman, and I manage to sell you NOTHING. Just a bit of absolutely nothing. Sometimes it won’t be much of a problem, if you had a little money to spend, and if it doesn’t cause you harm to choose NOTHING over something that you really need….
At the end of the day, maybe you had the pleasure of shopping, and I did some business. What is wrong with that? Well, if it is your health that is at stake, then you have just opted for something that does absolutely NOTHING to address the cause of your illness, (and in worst case scenario, you have opted for something that is NOTHING and, that has severe side effects, AND causes lifelong addiction, like an opioid.)
Most of the time when you go shopping, we only buy some “nothing,” don’t we? We didn’t need it, but we felt like buying it. We feel happy for a little while. There is no harm happening to you. Getting energy treatments reset the body’s energy, creates deep relaxation, and has effects similar to mediation. But sometimes we need more than that. Sometimes we need therapy. Sometimes we truly DO need medication. Sometimes we need exercise. Sometimes we need an emergency room. Sometimes we need spiritual guidance. Sometimes we just need a shoulder to cry on. Sometimes we need help getting out of a dangerous situation. Sometimes we need to quit something harmful.
In this case, even though a treatment modality works SOMETIMES, it can still be snake oil. In this case, it only costs money, it does not cost you your health or your life due to damaging side effects. But sometimes “nothing” CAN cost you your life. Not very often, but it does that when we end up ignoring VERY IMPORTANT symptoms that indicate a root cause that can cause more damage.
Today with modern medicine, we can treat almost all diseases. In one way, on the surface level, the illness is treated, or even cured, but because it is an outside-in approach only, the body, the system, is damaged. So in one way you are cured but in another way, you are also harmed.
If you are doing mindfulness practices your interoception becomes more fine tuned. Then energy medicine becomes an inside-out approach, and the root gets treated first. (Interoception is the sense of signals that come from inside your body, such as feeling your heart beating and your breathing, or knowing when you are hungry. Interoception is one of our senses, like vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.) Mindfulness practices help us become more “attached” and “in tune” with our bodies. Some people find it very hard to understand the language that the body speaks, and the reason for this is that we have removed this skill of interoception, little by little. Learning how to listen to your body can be learnet and it can be taught. Learning how to INGNORE your body was taught… If you were hungry, but din;t have time to eat….If you were tired but chose coffee instead of rest…
Whenever you try to influence the inner chemistry with external chemicals, there IS a disruption, and if you are fine tuned to your system, even a small change is very noticeable. For one person taking one ibuprofen is noticeable, and for another, taking even heavy narcotics is barely noticeable.
If you cover up your VERY VALUABLE symptoms with more and more medication, and later, discover that you now also have to treat your side effects with more medication, and entering a downward spiral of worse and worse health, still, continuously covering up symptoms of what was the root cause, you end up with chronic illness.
At that point you have a bigger problem on your hands, because now you have to treat the root cause, the symptoms, and you have to recover from chronic illness, just because you allowed a disease to become a bigger problem than it was originally. Very often, it is at this stage that people come for energy treatments! BUT, they are still hoping for an instant fix.
A cover up of the symptoms.
But that is how you got here in the first place.
This is actually how we are taught to approach symptoms! It sounds ridiculous doesn’t it!
With all chronic illness, the illness is just the tip of the iceberg. That is, the symptom that you notice is just the tip of the iceberg. The underlying ROOT of the symptom is still there, and maybe it has gotten worse.
Sometimes the side effects caused by medication adds to something that I like to think of as “treatment resistance” with natural medicine. Herbs don’t work as well, mindfulness practices become torturous, yoga is perhaps impossible, counseling feels hopeless, and acupuncture does next to nothing. All along, the problem was elsewhere, covered up, and it is still there but worse, and the addiction to pharma and its side effects has created a worse case than when it first started. Hope is the last thing to go, and sometimes this is where a TCM doctor has to begin. By generating hope again.
The symptoms were road signs, and they were pointing to a root cause, when the symptoms are covered up, the root cause is still there.
Whenever people try to heal themselves, even by choosing energy healing, they only try to remove the symptoms, but when a healer does the same thing, it gives the impression that the root cause doesn’t exist. There IS a root cause to the symptoms, and that still needs to be addressed.
The symptom manifested itself in the physical body ONLY to bring attention to that root cause.
Instead of taking notice of it and seeing what should be done about it, if you just wipe out the symptom, the root will lodge itself that much more firmly, and eventually, this will happen in a much more drastic way in your system, leading to chronic or terminal illness, or accident prone tendencies.
The main idea behind natural medicine is that the root has to be removed.
Sometimes, it can’t just be removed so easily and energetically evaporated just like that. It has to be diagnosed, and treated in some way.
Any attempts to magically heal somebody with snake oil, or whether it be energy healing or something more harmful, is against the Hippocratic oath, and sometimes energy healing alone, is not enough, and it is immature to believe that ONLY relieving a person of their physical pain alone, at that moment, is the greatest thing they can do.
If the PROBLEM with Western medicine is that they only look to the symptoms and never to the actual root cause for illnesses and chronic accident patterns, then WHY do not all energy healers not apply the same measuring stick to their own practices?
We all, every healer, and every doctor, need to dare to go to the root. I know it is easy to just treat symptoms, that is what people are so desperate for. It takes courage to stick to your guns when you know that a patient JUST wants a quick fix, but remember, that is exactly what got them in trouble in the first place.
It is understandable to just want to be relieved of for example pain, it does not matter how to the patient, in the moment. But for a TCM doctor, the “how” you get rid of your disease also matters. The how takes the whole person into account. Not just the physical body type, but also the person’s emotions and thoughts. TCM goes so far as to even consider what the west might think of as “spiritual “ causes, because TCM is based on Taoism, it is natural to consider “the whole.” Holistic, or wholistic, medicine means exactly that, so when aspects of what was originally part of holistic medicine starts to reduce itself to coving symptoms it can reasonably no longer be called holistic.
It can be so incredibly helpful for a patient to find someone to walk this path with them, someone who is willing to be a guide to them, especially if the root causes are painful or scary. This is what holistic medicine is. This is what we have to offer. TCM is a legitimate form of medicine, and you will find us in hospitals and clinics all over the world. It works.
My spiritual teacher has said “Treat everything at its own level “. Everyone has a spiritual cause for their ailment, whatever it may be. Treating the spiritual is then obviously necessary.
There are also psychological and emotional causes in addition to the physical symptoms. So it is not enough to consider the physical root cause for symptoms, one must search for emotional, psychological and spiritual causes as well.
If Traditional Chinese Medicine heals the root cause of illness then why should we ever skip diagnosing or treating the root cause?
TCM is in part an energy medicine, and in part a physical medicine. It is in one part a mindfulness practice, and another part nutritional medicine. It is a holistic medicine.