Thursday, June 24, 2010

Instant Gratification & The Un-Sustainable Lifestyle

A recent article in the New York Times Dysregulation Nation highlights the obstacles we all face on a daily basis with regards to overconsumption, over stimulation and general excess. As a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) I am always striving for balance in my personal and professional life as well as encouraging the same in my clients.

The two areas where I find the most the resistance are treatment time and lifestyle changes. One of the first questions people will ask is how long until I feel better? In our age of fast acting medicine, where you can take a pill and in half an hour feel relief it can be frustrating to learn that although Chinese medicine is effective for many common conditions it may take several weeks to several months of consistent acupuncture and/or herbal treatment before lasting and significant results are seen. TCM therapies take longer because the primary aim is to balance the body, not trick it into thinking it is healthy.

The pill popping instant relief way of treating illness has become unsustainable for many people as they no longer respond to or become dependent on medication. TCM takes a wholistic viewpoint by assessing current symptoms, constitution, diet and lifestyle.

Diet and lifestyle are key components to health and as people start to embrace more sustainable living by eating local seasonal food, riding bikes or walking for transportation they are already incorporating TCM into their lives. Chinese medicine has strong roots in disease prevention through exercise, diet and regulating emotional stress. Somehow this way of living has been lost and is now being rediscovered with exercise being touted as "new medicine" according to the American Surgeon General.

Over the next several weeks I will be profiling activities such as tai chi, yoga and meditation with the hope of inspiring people to take steps to a healthier lifestyle. For each activity I will be interviewing a local instructor on how people can incorporate these activities into their lives and what benefits may be experienced. A video demo of the activity and links to relative research will be included. Check back next week for the first instalment - Tai Ji

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