Living in a world with Covid-19, almost everyone knows someone infected with the virus. While each person’s experience with the virus is different, a common question we ask each other about Covid-affected loved ones is “were they healthy”? This question seems to require a very black or white answer. Yes or no. After being asked (and asking) this question many times, I started wondering what does ‘healthy’ really mean? Someone who exercises? Eats organic food? Takes daily medications? Who is really, truly, absolutely healthy?!?!
And then I come back to the gem that is Chinese medicine! Yin and yang. Balance! Nothing is absolute in TCM. There is no one example of healthy but there is a state of balance. Good health cannot exist without balance! As such, each individual has their own unique constitution, so what might be considered ‘healthy’ for one person wouldn’t be healthy for another. For example, the understanding of diet in TCM focuses on warm, cooked foods. This is because the digestive energy needs to be kept warm so therefore an excess about of cold, raw foods can dampen the digestive qi. The reality is that people who have strong digestive qi can tolerate cold raw foods more easily than those with weaker qi. We use TCM diagnostic skills to determine the natural balance of each patient’s qi and make our treatment plans accordingly. Therefore, an important component of ‘healthy’ is the ability to closely examine our OWN state of balance—am I feeling well? Do I digest well? Am I sleeping peacefully? Do I wake rested in the morning? Is my body functioning optimally? As acupuncturists, it is our goal to help our patients get into a balanced state so they can live their lives to the fullest (and most peaceful).