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Jocelyn Joy, MS, L.A. | Article

The Limitations of Chinese Medicine

4/27/2012
I have been practicing Chinese Medicine for over 8 years. During that time I have seen it work wonders for many thousands of patients.

People have come to me with ailments that Western Allopathic Medicine was not able to deal with and found real and lasting relief. I am passionate about Chinese Medicine because it helps people find natural, safe and effective relief for many modern conditions.

That said, I want to be clear about Chinese Medicine’s limitations based on my experience.

1) Chinese Medicine cannot, will not, and does not override your body’s warning systems that something is wrong and needs emergency or surgical attention now! I have seen this over and over, and it never ceases to amaze me.
a. One of my patients who has IBS came to me during flare-ups of severe abdominal cramping. I often used acupuncture to reduce her pain and cramping up to 80%. One time though nothing worked. I urged her to go to the emergency room, she did and the doctors had to remove most of her small intestine as it had twisted upon itself and it was no longer working properly.
b. A patient who enjoyed parasailing came in after an injury to his shoulder. All the usual interventions did not produce any increase in range of motion, strength or decrease in pain. I told him to see his doctor and get an MRI. He did, and his doctors actually put his case in medical journals because they successfully repaired all four rotator cuff muscles as they were torn so thoroughly.

2) Chinese Medicine cannot, will not and does not miraculously cure you if you are consistently working against it.
We all want something to work immediately, and if we don’t have to change anything so much the better. Unfortunately that is NOT how Chinese Medicine works. As the saying goes; ‘If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you have gotten.” I see this mostly in my workaholic, Type-A businessmen and women, as well as Type-A athletes.
a. The most striking case was a woman who was a marathon runner. She found running to be a great way to reduce her stress. Unfortunately she also got shin splints. She came for treatment and I urged her to not run while getting treatment for at least 4 weeks so the injury would heal properly. Since her motto was “No pain, No gain”, she kept on running. Her leg would feel good for about a day after treatment, then she would run 7 miles and it would hurt again.
Eventually she stopped treatment because she felt it wasn’t working well enough. She kept running and her shin splints became a stress fracture which kept her off her feet and in a great deal of pain for over 8 weeks!

If you keep overdoing it; over exercising, overworking, drinking too much, sleeping too little, living on adrenaline Chinese Medicine has a limited ability to help you.
This is why practitioners often make suggestions about how to eat better, manage stress better, slow down.

Doctors of Chinese Medicine know that the tools they have are able to help the body do what it naturally does, seek health and balance. But if patients keep doing what they have always done, they will keep getting what they always have gotten.

This is why at Joy Acupuncture Health Centre we ask our patients to make a commitment to their treatment and take responsibility for their health, to work in partnership with us in attaining their best health.

We may ask, for instance, that you take up a stress reducing practice such as meditation, Tai Qi, Qi Gong, or Yoga. We may ask you to make a few dietary changes. We might even tell you to have some fun sometimes to balance your work life.
It is wise to pay attention to your practitioners’ suggestions. We have years of training and practice behind us, we know what works and what doesn’t. Your progress will be much better if you do, and you are more likely to have a much better balanced and healthy life.

Many who are not willing to make changes tend to drop out of treatment claim that Chinese Medicine doesn’t work, and seek the next treatment they hope will cure them. Those who stay and make changes, even gradual ones, reap the rewards.

Vibrant Health is a commitment and a process; it does not magically just happen. At Joy Acupuncture Health Centre we are excited to help you on this journey.