The self practice and training in the treatment process
The Chinese treatment is not pleasant! Let's face it.
A patient comes for a treatment in which he gets poked, heated, moved beyond his limited range of motion, pinched and pulled, bled and on top of all of this, he is asked to change his life's routine. The same routine which it's degenerative convenience he worked so hard to achieve.
How can we even Compare that with taking a pill with some water? A pill that does the job for us?
The answer is simple – there is no room for comparison because both kinds of treatments are based on two opposite views on the terms "sickness" and "health".
The western approach sees the individual as "weak". Something is "broken" in the system (blood pressure cannot regulate, irregular bowel movements, unable to sleep etc..) and therefore is should be replaced with an additive, something that can support the body and carry out the function of the damaged bodily process. A pill will regulate your blood pressure, a tablet will help you sleep and surgery will eliminate your back problems.
The Chinese approach sees the individual as "strong". In a disease the body is weakened and damaged and a course of action is required in order to help it recover and get back to its strong state.
In the clinic we see many patients who were accustomed to thinking and perceiving themselves according to the first approach – "they are weak".
our Chinese perception compels them to first understand that the power of healing exists inside them and that it is possible to strengthen the body and spirit and bring them towards rehabilitation. To bring back the function that was damaged and restore health and sturdiness.
How do we do it?
Since a very young age we've been practicing and studying Chinese martial arts. The Chinese term "gong fu" (known also as kung fu) is a combination of the word "gong" that means "work" and "power", and "fu" which means "manual worker, adult". Together the term relates to hard work that improves the individual.
The long and strenuous practices over years of training creates an improvement of the body's abilities, strengthens the inner belief in one's self and his ability to overcome different obstacles in his or hers path and most importantly, opens up new paths of movement, both mental and physical.
The practice is hard and grueling. They can be painful, you sweat in it, put effort in it, face your fears in it, face failure, criticism, inabilities. Face an opponent, face yourself.
The practice takes you away from the comfortable place that you are at – relaxed heart rate, steady breathing, calmness, quiet and serene and demands from you to step out from it, relinquish yourself from it and expand it.
The practice brings you to a new point. One that you weren’t sure you could ever reach, but you did. You, not the teacher or the other students. You, with hard work and a lot of effort.
In The treatment, we expect from a person that suffers from a problem, any kind of problem, to take responsibility for his or hers predicament and start, along with us, a process in which he steps out from the place he is at and reaches another, a different place, a better one.
The treatment is unpleasant. It can be difficult sometimes, it can be a bit painful, you face your fears in it, you face lack of success in it, you face your inabilities, you face yourself.
The treatment takes you from a stagnant, "comfortable", static place (limited range of motion, faulty life habits leading to health problems and diseases, incompatibility with your environment) and demands from you to relinquish it, step out of it, shake, awake, move yourself and open it, change your environment, change your life and expand your range of movement in the world.
The treatment brings you to a new point, one that you weren't sure you could ever reach, but you did. You, not the practitioner or the treatment tools. You, with hard work and a lot of effort.
We see the treatment as a practice. In many ways they are the same.
A person who identified something that he is not pleased with in him or herself and that he wishes to change – digestive problems, inability to fall asleep, seasonal skin conditions, allergies or pain. All these factors bring a person to the brink of change and the will to take action.
Coming to us, he is in the center of the process, we, around him, delineating a path and supporting him in it. Pushing him or her, body and spirit through the change process.
Puncturing in order to trigger a stronger systematic function. Giving herbs that reinforce the ability to evolve. Massaging to reduce physical limitation and improve movement. Coursing the blood, relaxing the muscle, reducing inflammation and lowering the pain.
In this though, the patient is the "path-walker". His or hers understanding of the gradual process of improvement, his or hers cooperation, his or hers persistence.
The ability to notice changes, subtle improvements from treatment to treatment. To push forward in spite of the pain is what brings forth the change and brings closer, more and more, towards the strong individual that he or she is. The gong fu individual.
So what is a treatment if not a practice for all intents and purposes.
Translated from Hebrew by Roni Kalir
Congres Lecture: Chinese Trauma Medicine: External Application of Chinese Herbal Medicine - Tuesday, 5.4.2016, 10:30-14:00
This post is also available in: Hebrew