How Does Your Garden Grow



I hope this newsletter reaches you healthy and happy. As I closed out the last of the Five Element insights to health with my last newsletter, I found myself asking the question, what next would patients like to hear about? Well the question was answered for me by you, the patients.

What is Wellness Care? Wellness care is the root of healing. In ancient times, in fact from the origins of Chinese Medicine over 2,000 years ago, an acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine doctor, was only compensated as long as patients remained healthy. In fact the Chinese character for ‘physician’ is Yi Sheng which means ‘healer of life’. Thus the Chinese Medicine approach has always denoted a holistic approach to health and life, as contrasted to the Western approach of the physician as curer of disease.

If we look at the two different approaches to the body more closely, the Chinese Medicine approach to the body is much like that of a garden – in order for the garden to flourish, there must be the right amount of sunlight, the right amount of soil and nutrients, the right amount of water, the right amount of air or wind, etc. It is a state of dynamic balance. The role of the Chinese Medicine practitioner is hence that of a Gardener, tending to the garden. The approach of Biomedicine (Western Medicine) to the body is much like that of a machine – the body has parts, hinges, levers, pumps, lubricants, etc. The role of the Biomedicine practitioner is hence that of a Mechanic.

Health in Chinese Medicine is regarded as a condition of dynamic balance between the body and mind, as well as the body and the environment. Illness happens when this balance is disturbed. The longer the balance is disturbed, the worse the illness becomes, and the more difficult it is to restore balance. The aim of an acupuncturist, Chinese Medicine practitioner or doctor is to restore this balance, or better yet, to keep the patient in such good health that disease can be avoided altogether. Thus Wellness Care is a type of care that preserves all the progress you have made to become healthy and balanced. Much like the way we keep a car running smoothly with regular oil changes and tune-ups, or how we exercise in order to keep our body toned and in shape, periodic visits to your acupuncturist can keep you and your body running smoothly – and help your garden continue to grow and flourish beautifully. These preventative or maintenance “tune-ups” — let’s call it rather “tending to the garden” — check your entire integrated meridian systems, and make sure they are continually balanced, to keep you running smoothly and healthy in order to be free from illness, or preventing current conditions from keeping worse. The importance of not letting a condition become worse cannot be overemphasized, for sometimes a condition can be treated without recurrence or be “cured” if caught early, as opposed to caught too late and beyond the point of effective treatment. Catching a problem earlier is always easier to treat rather than when it become a major problem.

The frequency of “tending to your garden” varies with each individual. Some people find that maintaining their balance point is every 4 weeks, others every 6 or 8 weeks. Consulting with your acupuncturist or Chinese Medicine practitioner is also a way to help determining your individual frequency of maintenance. What is also important however, is for you to “listen” to your body. Be aware of changes to your body that are not normal, or feelings of physical or emotional unbalanced states. Often stress can throw our systems off balance, and while we ‘think’ all systems are running smoothly, what our body ‘feels’ is different — our muscle tensions are worse, or our irritability, sleep and digestion has changed, etc. — and those are some examples of signs that a “tune-up” or “garden maintenance” would be helpful.

Furthermore, becoming more “in tune” with the signals our body is giving us, will help us be more aware of necessary times when our body needs to be taken care of. When our body has become ill or reactive in some way, even if it is a cold, it is your body telling your that something is wrong, and something needs to change, either physically, emotionally, or both. So listen to your body, and respond.

If you are a patient that has not visited the clinic in some time, you have the option to book a longer session with your first “return” visit, not only to allow for more time to “check-up” on your body, but also to allow for an optimal “tune-up” treatment time. You may feel you would like this extra time to discuss your case, have a fuller treatment, or if you have other questions you would like to ask. Look for the “80 min follow-up visit for returning patients” box on the Online Booking calendar.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this brief insight into Wellness Care. As it is the time of Fall, and the element of Metal, dryness prevails at this time of year (though it may not seem like it in Vancouver). At this time of year, many people who catch coughs or cold, end off with a dry cough that won’t seem to go a way. Here is a food cure recipe to renourish those dry lungs and relieve coughing:

Steamed Pears for dry cough:

Buy 3 yellow skinned pears (Chinese pears, Ya Li). Green skinned pear or apples can be substituted.

Take 1 pear, and cut the top off – keep the top
Core the pear
Fill the core with honey
Place the top back on the pear
Steam the pear for 45 min to 60 min – until extremely soft
Place pear in bowl and let cool for 10 – 15 min
Eat the whole pear and juices!

Repeat for 2 more nights in a row.

If there is any particular topic you would like me to address and answer in future newsletters, please feel free to email me.

In health and happiness,


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