The concept of gardening gives us an excellent illustration for the theories behind Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture. Imagine you are a gardener whose job it is to help a garden thrive. To help nature along, you must provide necessities such as water and fertilizer.
You must make sure plants receive the right amount of sun, and you must weed out any undesirable elements. Gardening takes time and effort, but the reward is a beautiful, healthy garden, abundant with flowers and vegetables.
One of the philosophies underlying Chinese medicine is that we are not separate from nature. Nature’s constant motion – its flowing seasons and cycles – coincide with our body’s natural rhythms. When we engage in gardening, we strive to be in harmony with nature’s rhythms. This allows us to reap a bountiful harvest. Life flourishes when the elements of air, water, light and earth are balanced.
There are basic principles of gardening that you can apply to facilitating the health of your body:
- Fertilize: Just like plants need fertilizers, we need food in order to re-energize our bodies. In general, a healthy, balanced diet is made up of unprocessed, organic foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Water: Our bodies are made up of 70% water. We need its life-giving force to cleanse our bodies of toxins, to regulate body temperature and to aid digestion and circulation.
Sunshine: Just like plants, we also need sun’s energy to grow and thrive. Sun provides our bodies with Vitamin D, which promotes strong bones, supple muscles and a healthy immune system.
- Weeding: Weeding your garden is vital to keeping the soil clean and disease free. Our body also needs cleansing. One of the easiest ways to cleanse our body is sweating through exercise.
Your goal is to learn how to cultivate and support your inner garden. Your acupuncturist’s goal is to help balance your inner ecosystem so that it can flourish—and you can enjoy health and harmony.
Your body is just like a garden, and you and your acupuncturist are the gardeners. He or she will work closely with you to strengthen and balance your internal garden. By taking your entire self into account, your practitioner can help identify—and weed out—any imbalances that could cause problems.
Acupuncture isn’t a “quick fix.” It does provide you with the tools and knowledge needed to nourish the garden from within. Your participation in the process is essential. After all, you wouldn’t simply plant seeds in the ground and expect them to bloom unattended. It’s the same with your health. Working with your acupuncturist and committing to long-term care can create positive changes for your overall health.