Published in New Awakenings Magazine September 2015
Centuries ago, women’s health care, and childbearing in particular, were a female dominated field with women healers and midwives. However events such as witch hunts in early modern Europe and North America paved the way for a different, more linear, pragmatic model of medical care. That period in history is an example of the many shifts in medicine, and the pattern of changing health care, that has occurred cyclically throughout history.
The movement away from consciousness oriented healing and towards intellect dominated health management happens over and over again Advances in health care are extremely useful and necessary in our health care system; there have been many revolutionary advances in science and medicine. But what would the state of health care be in today’s world if there had not been so many historical rifts in the development of modern medicine? Would we have witnessed more balance in the practice of medicine and the state of health in this country if a more holistic model of health was weaved into the culture earlier on?
Modern Western medical care often focuses on symptoms that can be addressed by surgery or medicine. There also is a tendency to break the whole system into parts and focus only on one piece at time, rather than viewing health issues from a holistic perspective. Instead of having a collaborative team, it often is incumbent upon the patients to convey everything to multiple doctors or practitioners. While patients may be the only ones that know the full story about their conditions, it often is difficult for them to know what is relevant to share and to be able to explain everything in proper medical terms.
A More Integrative Approach
More and more consumers are beginning to seek out different models of medical care that take into consideration the concepts of integration and working within an intact system rather than focusing on separate parts.
The philosophical underpinnings of classical Chinese medicine and acupuncture begin with the tao, one all-encompassing energy, which then becomes yin and yang, two mutually interdependent energies that cannot survive without each other and represent all living things. Yin and yang expand into the five elements—five different energies that symbolically represent our world and our individual health. These five forces continually transform into each other and cannot be separated. When imbalances show in one of the five energies, the whole system has to be treated and restored in order for health to be maintained.
Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture
Chinese medicine and acupuncture offers us a different way of looking at healing compared to the more linear model of treatment of isolated symptoms. In Western health care, methods or ideas often are lost forgotten as other methods take precedence. In classical Chinese medical practice, everything is challenged and reinvented but the old patterns and beliefs are allowed to function within the same network.
A contemporary healer combines both the yin feminine consciousness, world of intuition and the yang masculine which is more direct, exact and linear. Healing can only be truly whole when it is accomplished from within a whole system. This is what a modern healer strives to achieve—integration of the old and the new patterns of healthcare, patient driven medicine and a compassionate partnership with the healers and patient This type of health care takes investments of time and energy upfront but creates a powerful trajectory towards an effective health management system that benefits everyone. The feminine and the masculine parts of medicine are brought forth in a complementary manner to offer the best of both worlds.