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Older and wiser

July 23rd, 2013 | 4 comments

This year, I started something that even 12 months ago I would have laughed at you for suggesting. I started seeing a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I’ve always been a rationalist, lover of the scientific method, a logical thinker. I never thought of approaching the East for my medical care until earlier this year, when again, despite the respect for the skill and knowledge my western specialists, something didn’t quite feel right with my treatment. Their consistent approach of treating the symptoms, not the cause. The inability to recognise whole of body wellness and why that might be significant given my diagnosis. The ‘here’s a pill’ solution. Chinese medicine looks at not just the whole body, but the whole person. Why a change in eating could be helpful for me even with a congential diagnosis. How stress, a bad food binge and a injury all effect each other. How having one thing out of balance (a AI disorder, an injury, or a fertility issue) means something else deeper needs investigation, and that it is linked to other bodily functions. Everything is connected in the body, so health begets health, and illness or injury only causes more upset. That balance in all aspects is required for overall health – nothing is isolated. All this knowledge comes from a very old, very long lasting tradition, so they must be doing something right.


I first ‘met’ my doctor online. I was referred to her blog by a few other wonderful female writers I follow after she’d done guest posts on their blogs. Something about her approach always resonated with me – that there is better solutions than flooding people with drugs, that a problematic menstrual cycle isn’t normal and it can be fixed (yep, she’s a women’s wellness and fertility specialist, perfect for me!), and that it is linked to overall bodily health. And then when I started having out of control bleeds again, and the traditional western approach was directly and only about more powerful drugs, I thought to myself that this is not the only option. That after all the things I’d done, read and learned during the Barrecode challenge, this is not how the human body works, and specifically that my body and my condition do respond well to changes in environmental and lifestyle factors.

The changes and things I’ve been working on with my doctor have been helping. I think I’ve eliminated the clot/flood/clot cycle in my menstrual bleeds, which given the increased dosages in my western medication is pretty impressive. I’ve spoken before about how food has helped and eliminated some of my VWD symptoms, and then yesterday this happened too. I also think that when I’m undertaking the recommended measures, I’m a calmer, quieter decision maker. I don’t feel as wound up as previously would in high stress situations.

I understand some of you (or other people) might think that some of this might be psychosomatic, that I’ve willed the benefits into existence. Ignoring the actual medical difference, my response is “who cares?”. If this approach is bringing me wellness in a way that western medicine couldn’t, or doesn’t even treat, then its a win. Yes, I pay for this advice, but I also paid for advice from western medicine which said include grains in your diet to reduce the instance of rectal and lower GI bleeds, which I later found out actual causes them in me.

Listening to my body, treating the whole thing instead of just a symptom, and focussing on wellness (not just the absence of injury or illness) has been a huge theme for me this year, and something that makes me a healthier, stronger and better person. I also definitely have a greater understanding of my body, how it works, and the great things it can do.

4 people have commented
  1. I grew up entrenched in “western medicine” but open to the idea of alternative therapy. I am an INTJ, afterall. I have researched TCM (traditional chinese medicine – aka acupuncture) and there are studies that meet western medicine criteria for the use of it. My ex used it in his vet practice and it was very successful in certain areas – derm, endo, ortho (conditional), neuro, to name a few. We both had successful treatments for ortho conditions that “always” required surgery. I put off surgery on a torn rotator cuff for 6 years – and 4 treatments w/ TCM have left me pain free and full range of motion – it has probably been 10 years now.
    As with any profession, there are good and not-so-good practitioners…I have fired more doctors than most people see in a lifetime. (Again, INTJ – plus medical education. I am a “challenging” patient, but end up with the best docs.) And I believe that there are great, good, and awful TCM docs. (Someone has to graduate last in the class 😉
    But the leading teaching hospitals now have TCM practitioners on staff and teach the med students to use, or at least consider, alternative therapies. And the way TCM is taught in China, they learn both types of medicine, knowing that often the combination of the two is what is needed.
    The balance of mind/body/spirit is essential. Difficult to obtain, but so important. How we get there to obtain the balance? Our healthcare providers should work with us to support our health.

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