An Ounce of Prevention…What a Concept!
Benjamin Franklin was right when he said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. A Chinese medical text written over 2,000 years ago, known as the Nei Jing, expressed that treating the sick in ancient China was like going into battle before making the weapons. The concept back then was more about treating the healthy to prevent disease, not treating those who were already sick. This is important today, even though it’s an ancient concept.
Historically, one Chinese doctor would care for a village and that village would care for the doctor. They would clothe and feed the doctor, or whatever was necessary to ensure they were fit to help the people prevent illness. The greatest doctors of the region, however, were chosen to be the Emperor’s private physician. This was a blessing and a curse for the doctor. It became a matter of life and death for the doctor, because if the Emperor became ill, the doctor would be executed.
We can see on the other hand, that Western medical doctors are rewarded for curing the sick. Of course, if there is less sickness, there is less need for a “healthcare system”. This might also mean that people would be healthier and live longer, which would mean less money for the healthcare industry.
Western medicine tends to thrive on sickness and dramatic situations of saving lives. Western medicine is very good at trauma and acute situations. Nonetheless, health care doesn’t have to be sensationalized and there doesn’t have to be a medical hero. I know life might be boring without shows like ER, or Grey’s Anatomy. Still, there is something to be said about preventative medicine. It might mean taking better care of yourself, watching what you eat, getting regular acupuncture treatments and an herbal formula to help with any imbalance.
Again, I know, giving up fast food, coffee, sugar or alcohol just sounds unwelcome or even downright impossible. It’s because its change, and we just don’t like change. That change might mean getting a less stressful job or exercising a few times a week. In reality, it comes down to choices and values. It doesn’t mean you throw in the towel, become a vegetarian, quit your job and become a yoga teacher. It just means that you have to re-evaluate the importance of your health. Treating yourself when healthy makes more sense than waiting until you are ill. Is preventative maintenance on your car more important than preventative maintenance on yourself? Most people don’t let their cars break and then get them fixed.
Good health is the key to a longer, happier, less stressful and more eventful life. So, the next time your monthly, exorbitant health insurance payment is quickly yanked from your bank account, and you are feeling awful, can’t sleep, and have no energy, consider a preventative medicine like acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Find an acupuncture physician and start a preventive health care regimen. They can help you optimize your full potential and lead you to a path of total wellbeing.
At East West College of Natural Medicine, we have a clinic that provides services by highly trained and licensed natural medicine professionals and also serves as a hands-on training facility for our Oriental Medicine students. We are open Monday through Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-5pm, and Saturday 9am-1pm.
Dr. Teresa Renfroe DACM, AP
Asian Theory Department Chair
East West College of Natural Medicine