As a Chinese and Functional medicine practitioner, I provide holistic treatments to address your branch symptoms, while improving your body’s function, delayering the root.
When you have a physical complaint, an issue with your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, the most appropriate treatment depends on the root of the problem. A trauma requires a different treatment than rheumatoid arthritis. When the root is unknown, we often look for systemic inflammation and latent infections. The body often stores pathogens it cannot resolve into the joints to protect the vital organs. Holding these pathogens captive requires resources, further depleting the body. When these pathogens are expelled, not only is the source of the symptoms eliminated, but the body’s resources are no longer being depleted to deal with the latent pathogen.
The skin layer and the digestive tract wall are both external barriers. Your skin protects you from the external environment, and the outer wall of the digestive tract protects the blood and organs from the contents of the gut. When the gut wall is imbalanced, we often see imbalances in the skin layer.
The digestive tract is a tube that separates the exterior of the body from its interior. It assimilates our nutrients, absorbs them where appropriate, and protects us from invaders.
One of the most common digestive complaints people have today is heartburn, reflux, or GERD. Conventional medicine’s symptom treatment is acid reducers. Unfortunately this impairs the function of the digestive tract and leaves the person susceptible to pathogens. Chinese and Functional medicine seeks to remove the source of the symptom while optimizing function. Problem is, in this case, the source is often processed food and added sugar in the diet. Patient education and behavior change are often necessary to maintain gut health.
The Small Intestine is where your nutrients are absorbed into your internal terrain. If the digestive system is healthy, pathogens have been neutralized by the acidic stomach, and enzymes have appropriately broken down your food. If the small intestine is functioning properly, only the nutrients that are meant to be absorbed will pass through into the internal terrain. If it is not functioning properly, is leaky (leaky gut), food that is not meant to be absorbed gets by, causing an immune reaction. The Small Intestine relies on the upper and lower gut to be health for it to be health.
The body will do whatever it needs to protect the organs. It will divert pathogens away from the organs and store them in the joints to protect life, or push them out to the skin. We see this when the liver, kidneys and intestines cannot handle the toxins the body is trying to eliminate. Often the liver is congested, the spleen/pancreas is depleted from compensating for the weak stomach; the kidneys are overwhelmed trying to compensate for the liver and overstimulated via the adrenal glands; and the intestines are imbalanced and irritated. Repairing such a system requires a lot of support and interpretation. Sometimes you are supporting, and other times you are eliminating. Sometimes both. Treatment is very dynamic and requires a practitioner who knows how to interpret what the body is saying.
The brain and body communicate with each other to maintain homeostasis. Feedback loops can be overstimulated or understimulated, impairing this communication. The brain may not receive information from the body, or it may make decisions that creates uncomfortable symptoms in an attempt to protect life. We often see this with cortisol, a glucocorticoid that manages our blood sugar, provides the energy we need when we need to fight or run, wakes us up in the morning, and reduces our inflammation. When cortisol is overutilized, the body will reduce it to avoid its negative affects – tissue breakdown. If the person has inflammation and pain, and cortisol is reduced, the pain could increase. When the pain is in the musculoskeletal system, many will get a cortisone shot. But this is only a short-term solution, as you are unable to get more than a few cortisone shots, due to the tissue degradation. The long-term solution is to resolve the underlying cause of the inflammation.
The body operates on the principle of duality. Chinese medicine would say Yin and Yang, whereas Biomedicine would say homeostasis via feedback loops. One balances it’s opposite, and their interactions use and create energy:
Calcium – Magnesium
Sodium – Potassium
Cortisol – DHEA
Biceps – Triceps
There are many ways in which Energy can become blocked, contributing to disease – physical, physiologic, or emotional.
When the local anatomy is congested, everything is impeded causing an accumulation of energy. This can be seen in musculoskeletal pain from lack of exercise and prolonged sitting.
The body has a tight correction system to keep opposites in balance. It will fight for homeostasis. If calcium is dominant to magnesium, you may see muscle spasms or fluttering of the heartbeat. When sodium and potassium are imbalanced, you’ll may see issues with water retention and the blood pressure. If cortisol is elevated, DHEA will also elevate to counterbalance it.
The mind can control our energy. One of the strongest skills a human can develop is the power of intention. When the mind is emotional, the body constricts and things stagnate. One common constraint we see is what feels like a mass on our throats. In Chinese medicine we call this Plum Pit Qi. There isn’t an actual mass, but an energetic mass created from emotional stress. The person may think that something is wrong with their physical throat, and see a doctor, but everything appears normal.
Our bodies are also constructed in a way that we have neurovascular nodes where energy can be stimulated. Acupuncture, body, mindfulness, and/or energy work, can improve the energetic level.