Chinese Medicine has always been aware of how the environment can affect health. There are chapters in several classic texts on how individuals can adjust their lifestyles during each of the four seasons in order to stay healthy and avoid the illnesses that predominate during those seasons.
If we expand this idea, geography itself has an impact on the types of illnesses that might predominate in a given region.
For example, individuals living in high humidity climates are more likely to develop signs of nasal congestion, heaviness of the limbs, and cough with phlegm. While people living in drier, cooler climates may experience dry cough and nasal passages, dry skin, and wheezing.
Consider for a moment any ailments you typically suffer from. Are they worse during particular times of the year? What are the symptoms and how might they differ from other people diagnosed with the “same” illness? If you have friends or family in different parts of the country, do they talk about different illnesses than people get locally? If you travel, do you ever get sick? If so, think about how your symptoms may be the same or different from other times you’ve been sick.
For the Chinese Medicine practitioner, the different manifestations of these symptoms (dry cough versus cough with phlegm) indicate a different pattern of illness that requires a different treatment approach to be most effective.
This issue has come up for me as a result of having recently relocated from the east coast to the mid-west. Besides the typical adjustments that come with any move to a completely different place, I began observing how my health is affected by the different environment and climate in which I now find myself. By extension, I began to wonder how my patients would differ from those I’d seen in New York, where certain patterns appeared fairly regularly.
As a practitioner I pay close attention to the presenting symptoms I see in my patients so that I can determine what treatment approaches will be most effective. If I simply try to apply the same treatments I did in NY to a patient in Wisconsin I will more than likely see less than ideal results.
This is one of the beauties of Chinese Medicine. It requires keen observation and a deep understanding of the medicine in order to arrive at a correct diagnosis and effective treatment plan, rather than applying a “once size fits all” model.
I look forward to learning from my patients in this way and being a part of the collaborative journey of healing that we share. So schedule an appointment today to discuss with me your particular symptoms and see how acupuncture may help.