Reprinted with permission from the Zionsville Times Sentinel, LIVESMART, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY, 7, 2007
Acupuncture, internal medicine, anesthesiology and even surgery were practiced in China, centuries before the rest of the world. As long ago as 2600 B.C. the study of the human body became a sophisticated science. The body parts and systems were identified, as were the herbs that could best nourish each part and each system of the body.
Angelica Kokkalis is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine.
The Chinese believed in an extensive communication system whereby body parts and systems were interconnected with meridians, through which energy and communication could flow. Fine needles, grouped in specific combinations, were expertly inserted into some of the eight hundred points of the body’s vast energy network. These are connective points along the meridians or channels moving the energy flow, or Qi “Chee,” in the body and its systems. One’s total wellness is physical, mental and spiritual. This approach to health seems mysterious to much of the world, but it’s been proven effective through thousands of years of Chinese experience. Doctors were rewarded for keeping patients healthy.
During China’s first 3,000 years, in a period known as the golden age of China, more than 161,000 pieces of data were recorded. Only 36 of these entries made any reference to disease. Utilizing nature to replenish the body and letting, the body function as it was. designed is appropriately called the philosophy of regeneration — “Life replenishing life.”
A healthy body and a healthy mind brought peace, harmony and productivity. China’s golden years brought forth one of the greatest civilizations to ever populate the globe. A healthy nation of progressive people achieved great heights in agriculture, engineering, industry, education and health. The Chinese made discoveries thousand of years before the western world. Iron was cast in China centuries before others learned the art. Lacquer, paper, porcelain and even matches and the umbrella were discovered centuries before other civilizations. As with many great civilizations health, prosperity and progress seemingly can not last forever. Eventually contingence and greed culminate in distraction.
For China, the peace and harmony of one of the world’s greatest civilizations ended after nearly 3,000 years. What became known as the warring states began 2,200 years ago. The philosophy of regeneration had deteriorated. Treating disease, pestilence and battle wounds became the priority for doctors. Rather than utilizing herbs as foods, they were increasingly used as medicine and poultice. Treatment of symptoms became the predominant approach, something we call the philosophy of substitution.
During the Ming Dynasty, about 700 years ago, substitution utilizing herbs reached the peak of popularity. And then during the Qin Dynasty in 1644, and during the Boxing rebellion in 1912, great distraction swept through the land. Priceless artifacts, ancient documents and a generation of recorded wisdom was plundered and lost. Traditions were destroyed and the golden years of China seemed to be for ever lost.
During the years that followed western medicine and its practices dominated China. Although it appeared that the traditional methods had vanished, they were still quietly practiced, and the ancient wisdom was preserved. The Chinese eventually realized western medicine was not the panacea it was believed to be: Upon this realization came the resurrection of traditional Chinese medicine. Today it is acknowledged worldwide that combining TCM with western medicine makes the holistic approach to optimizing individual health possible. Thus, creating a Ying and Yang for a new era of medicine.