When someone attacks, what do you do? Do you call forth some inner samurai and try to attack back as hard as you can?
Sounds like something you could do once in a while to show off, but I don’t know if it is that sustainable. Your bones and muscles would really ache and you would have to come see me for acupuncture every day!
And so that’s why it’s good to study taiji (also written taichi), or at least to live by its principles.
In taiji, instead of blocking someone’s strike, we relax, feel where his force is coming from, and redirect it. In this way, “four ounces of force can defeat 100 lbs. of force.”
Of course, in the West, we traditionally believe that if you want to defeat 100 lbs. of force, you better use 1000 lbs. of force. This can also be called the “Donald Trump School of Martial Arts,” which says that if someone attacks you, you attack him back with 10 times that amount of force.
And isn’t this exactly how Western Medicine usually approaches illness? You say there is a history of ovarian cancer in your family? Well, then let’s give you a hysterectomy at 35! You have cancer? Let’s attack your body with chemotherapy and radiation.
If you want to understand Chinese Medicine, you need to understand taiji. Much of what we do as practitioners of Chinese Medicine comes from taiji (actually, Chinese Medicine and taiji share a common root, which is Chinese culture and Daoism).
If a patient comes to us with some kind of sickness, instead of attacking the illness, we look for the life force in the patient’s body. Can we find that? Can we nourish the patient so that his body can heal itself of whatever is going on?
As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, I am not looking for anything less than finding your life force and encouraging it to grow. I am not just trying to “keep you alive” with bandaids and quick-fixes.
Sometimes, in cases of chronic illness, it does take a while to get back to health. In some cases, this is not so. My recent patient, a 61 year-old woman suffering from back pain experienced total relief after two sessions.
Instead of surgery or aggressive medication (samurai), she chose acupuncture (taiji) and so is now pain-free.
If you’ve been using brute force for a while, whether in your personal relationships, job, or your healing, try something different and see what happens.
You might be surprised.
Thanks to Dr. Arthur Fan for inspiring today’s blog post.