I am starting a new series called Knowing the Cause. This subject is a broad one and will take awhile to write about. First I would like to explain a few things before going into this subject. Chinese medical diagnosis is much different from our traditional allopathic medical diagnosis. When an Oriental practitioner initially sees their patients they are looking at things a bit differently. We first look at signs and symptoms including hereditary background. Then we check their tongue and pulse to see what internal organs may be out of balance. We also look at a persons emotional well being. Then we look at their face and skin to see what clues may give us answers to their complaint. All this information is gathered and we come up with a diagnosis that will match the patterns of imbalance that they are experiencing. After the first initial visit a patient will receive an Oriental medical diagnosis. At this point we can come up some possible answers as to why a person is having difficulty with their health and well being.
Knowing the Cause Part 1
We can find great freedom in knowing why things may happen. Every year many people are diagnosed with a chronic condition. This can happen at any age or time in a persons life. Many times that person may not know what had caused them to be susceptible to that particular disease or disorder. Once a person is diagnosed they are now on a journey to find help and healing. A huge part of that journey is finding the etiology (causation or origination) of their condition.
When studying Chinese medicine I found it comforting that their were explanations as to why things happened. Almost every diagnosis came with an etiology. For instance - lets say a person is diagnosed with Kidney Qi (Chi) deficiency by their Oriental medical practitioner. The top signs and symptoms of Kidney Qi deficiency are: frequent urination, low back pain, knee pain and poor memory. Their are a few reasons as to why someone may have this condition. Things such as constitution, emotions (particularly fear), excess sexual activity, overwork, chronic illness and old age all affect the kidney Qi. Kidney Essence or "Jing" is considered to be our essential qi. It is stored in our Kidneys and responsible for human growth and development. This is what makes up our vitality.
There are several factors that play into both our genetics and the development of a condition or disorder within our health. The first is constitution. The definition of constitution is a persons general physical and psychological makeup. It is also considered to be a persons state of well being currently. Constitution depends on two things: Our parents health at the time of conception and our Mother's health during her pregnancy. If the parents Kidney Essence is weak then the child's kidneys will also be weak. Adverse factors that will affect our constitution are: Conception in a state of drunkenness, a Mother's age at the time of conception, consumption of alcohol or smoking during pregnancy, or receiving a shock during pregnancy that will in turn affect the fetal Heart Qi. So a person's basic constitution will be largely determined at the time of conception and throughout the Mother's pregnancy. This is why I stress to my fertility patients the importance of taking care of yourself and getting healthy prior to getting pregnant.
At the time of conception their is a fusion of Qi from "Heaven to Earth." It is said in ancient Chinese texts that all babies come from "Heavenly Qi." So let me give you a picture of how life is formed. The sperm hits the egg but the spark to create life comes from "Heavenly Qi." This will then start the production of a human being. I love that description! I come from a background where my Father was a minister for thirty-five years. Psalm 139:13-14 says that God "knit" us together in our Mothers womb and that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
Despite those who may be born with a weak constitution there is hope for regeneration of both their Qi and Essence. A balanced lifestyle of adequate rest, the right nutrition, avoidance of stress, and breathing exercises can invigorate and regenerate our Qi. Qi Gong and Tai Ji Quan (Tai Chi) can help build a persons Kidney Essence or vitality.
An assessment of a persons constitution is an important part to Chinese medical diagnosis. It is important to understand that our bodies were created to regenerate and heal. This is a beautiful thing that we should never take for granted. There is hope for those who want healing in their lives. Knowledge is a powerful tool to take action against disease.