“I’m just getting older,” or “It’s genetic.” I hear these phrases daily. To begin healing, often, women don’t know where to start. They feel a need to be really heard, and then they want their symptoms explained to them – written out right in front of them. Women want to know, in clear English, what they need to do every day in order to see the changes they want.
That’s the mission of Nourishing Life.
It’s not uncommon for women to come to my practice with no obvious disease – no clear structural or functional issue diagnosed by a Western doctor, but still feel like they are unhealthy, irritated by challenging symptoms. This limbo state between health and disease, sub-clinical complaints, is a challenge for Western medicine because it views everyone from a disease-centered focus. If patients don’t have a disease that can be diagnosed, then they don’t have a problem. Worse – patients are often prescribed symptom-chasing medications like the dangerous cocktail of antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and sleep aids that middle-aged patients are often expected to take for the rest of their lives.From this vantage point, health becomes simply the absence of disease.
We think a healthy life is not merely about getting rid of disease markers – we believe that health is about experiencing deeply brimming-over wellness, vitality, longevity, and even happiness. It is possible.
In the Huang Di Nei Jing – the “bible” of Chinese medicine that dates back more than 2000 years – the Yellow Emperor asked the court physician-sage: “Ancient people lived for more than 100 years, and their bodies did not seem to have the problems of aging. Now people who are half as old, with only 50 years, are becoming weak. Is this because the world has changed or because people do not know how to nurture life?”
People are the same today as they were 2000 years ago. The court physician-sage Qi Bo replied, “The ancient people who followed the Dao of Nourishing Life knew how to adapt to the laws of yin and yang and how to follow the ways of nurturing life. They ate moderately, slept regularly, avoided overworking, and were cautious of having excessive desires. They were flourishing in both body and spirit. They lived to 100 years as a gift given by Heaven.”
The core concept – that gift from Heaven – is a treatment to prevent disease by living with the Dao. Treating your “pre-illness” occurs through Yang Sheng. Yang means to cultivate, to nourish, or to nurture, and sheng means life, growing, freshness, or survival. Yang Sheng, therefore, means Nourishing Life. It is the ancient science that can provide you a long, healthy, and vital life. You accomplish this by cultivating your spirit-mind and happiness, moderating your consumption and desire, doing physical exercise and following a non-sedentary lifestyle, and striving for an engaged mind. Yang Sheng also includes the health maintenance practices of acupuncture, self-massage, healing herbs, qigong, and yoga.
Your Experience as Our Patient
We look for the underlying causes that explain most if not all of your symptoms. We offer personalized consultations, not cookie-cutter protocols. We have moved away from the idea that medicine revolves around techniques – instead, we strive toward an outcome where you learn how to recover the ability to heal yourself and how to nurture your own well-being.
All of this work relies on a very detailed patient history, which can often take time to unravel. It isn’t uncommon for this process to span over several appointment sessions. Chinese medicine is especially relational, so as the patient-doctor relationship develops, the diagnosis and specific treatment plan often evolves to become a personalized approach to managing specific symptomatic expressions.
To do this, we have to understand and address the three comprehensive parts of your being:
1. Your nutrition (what and how often you eat)
2. Your hormones (what they are doing), for which we need the help of modern labs
3. Your day-to-day life (what it’s like) and how best to support you
Most traditional doctors are trained to identify a problem and correct it with a pill. Often, however, real healing happens when we can find a solution that revolves around a functional change in your life. It is so important to think outside of the box, so listening to you is really the key.
Most women, we’ve found, don’t want a “cure-all” pill anymore – they want to know why they don’t feel well; they want something that helps them reinvent themselves: they want a way to make fundamental changes. They want to know what’s really going on – and not just to get rid of symptoms or mask them. Most women want their bodies to function without the support of medications. At Nourishing Life, we suggest medications only after trying supplement, nutritional, lifestyle and herbal strategies.