The Business of Medicine

The Business of Medicine

Written by: Lisa Forsythe

Show me the money. True healing is good for the patient but not so for business. Does our U.S. “health care” system truly focus on creating health or is it sick care business? Why do Americans out spend the world on medicine, yet rank 42nd in life expectancy according to the World Health Organization?

Forbes’s article, “Is the Profit Motive Ruining American Healthcare?” asks these questions in a recent book review.   Russell Andrews, Neurosurgeon addresses profit in writing, “Too Big to Succeed?” Dr. Andrews states, “the morphing of American medicine (has gone) from a function of humanitarian society into a revenue stream for health care profits for drug and medical device companies, hospitals, and insurance companies. U.S. healthcare has been transformed into an industry whose goal is profits”.

“Someone dies in the US every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, mostly accidental. Every 19 minutes. It is a horrifying statistic”, reports CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Why does this go unnoticed? The 2nd largest industry in the U.S. is medicine. The fastest growing industry is pharmaceuticals. 9 out of the 10 highest-paid jobs are in health care. The average American takes 13 meds per year. The Medical News Today has concluded, “Yes, I’m sure the drug industry is popping champagne corks”. Follow the money.

True health care means no business; business means no health care. How often do healthy patients need doctors? How busy would physicians be if patients were well? Common sense tells us healthier patients mean less doctor’s visits thus, less business. Patients saw Chinese Medicine practitioners when they didn’t feel well; when basic bodily functions such as sleep, appetite, urination, and digestion were off. They didn’t wait. Also, patient visits for “health care” and prevention occurred at change of seasons. People understood the body undergoes physiological transformations with seasonal transitions; as the calendar’s change, so do our bodies. The ancients knew health is best cultivated when living by nature’s laws.   An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

All forms of medicine are necessary.   Western medicine excels at emergency, testing, and acute care. Technology is impressive. Chinese Medicine excels at preventative, restorative, and cultivating longevity; it is humble. We have no state of the art facilities showcasing cutting edge technology. Rather, we offer thousands of years of time-tested, safe medicine used successfully by countless millions. Chinese Herbs and lifestyle changes work to rebuild the system. Acupuncture expedites the healing process. Wise practitioners teach patients how to cultivate health. Getting well = less visits.

The best of high tech Western and the wisdom of ancient Chinese Medicine is the healthiest approach. They work together brilliantly. Weigh the pros and cons of each medicine by needs. How fortunate the U.S. offers the finest acute care available. As impressive as Western Medicine is, Chinese Medicine is equally so for prevention, restoring health, and cultivating longevity- even if it means less business.

“A sage will prevent disease rather than cure it; maintain order rather than correct disorder; which is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure a disease with medicine is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty; it is like forcing weapons when the war has already broken out, which could be too late to do much good.” ~ Nei Ching, 2696-2598 B.C., the oldest Chinese medical text.

Food As Medicine

Food As Medicine

Written by: Lisa Forsythe, LAc

Choose carefully. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) understands nutrition is paramount to health.   Practitioners incorporate food as medicine to expedite the recovery process and achieve lasting results.

Wise patients participate in their healing with diet to enhance outcomes. Talk doesn’t cook rice.

Chinese have practiced medicinal food cures from time immemorial. Sun Shu Mao, a Chinese physician, is best remembered as a roving herbalist and acupuncturist. He believed human life is more precious than gold. Dr. Mao published his food cure book, “1,000 Ounces of Gold Classic” in 652 A.D.. He prescribed seaweed and pig thyroid for goiter and liver for night blindness. These prescriptions remain relevant today in Chinese Medicine. 1400 years later, Western medicine has come to the same understanding.

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine said, “He who doesn’t know food, how can he understand the diseases of man?” Ancient physicians knew food choices determine health status. However; modern medicine has strayed from this wisdom with little or no medical school training in this critical subject. What we eat, how much, and when has everything to do with our present health status. Equally, it will determine our future quality of life and longevity. How could it not? Dr. Mehmet Oz, famed TV physician, states people must make lifestyle changes in order to achieve health. Diet tops the list.

There is a saying in Chinese Medicine, “7 parts nursing, 3 parts treatment”. “Nursing” means proper diet and lifestyle modifications. According to respected TCM practitioner, Bob Flaws, those who want to get the most from treatments must support healing efforts. Patients comply with physical therapy instructions. However; often times diet instructions are not given nor followed. Thus, one of the most important components of healing is ignored. It is often the foods we enjoy most frequently that contribute to our disease. Those who think not eating a balanced diet will have a profound effect are mistaken.

According to TCM, foods have assigned nature and flavors. The nature is the temperature effect on the body. For example, when I studied in Beijing in June 1996, the hospital was extremely hot without A/C. The Chinese doctors would eat watermelon on breaks due to its cooling nature. Their sweating was dramatically less than us Westerners. Flaws points out how pears aid lung dryness but are contraindicated for those overweight and congested. Flavors are prescribed according to the patient’s imbalance. Sour foods are prescribed to stop diarrhea. Bitter foods such as cooked leafy greens encourage weight loss. Count calories or carbs doesn’t enter the equation. Knowing the TCM diagnosis does. What’s healthy for you doesn’t necessarily mean it is for your loved ones. Every body is different!

Dietary therapy guidelines are individualized. However, avoiding dairy, sugar, and alcohol until balance is restored is generally recommended. Some people complain these instructions are too stringent until they see the results. All foods may be allowed when eaten in moderation upon healing. They are surprised to learn the healthiest countries follow these diet suggestions as matter of course. Dairy is foreign to the Eastern diet; their waste lines reflect this. Going back to old eating patterns is discouraged, as this is what often contributes to the present health condition. Many patients report not only a reduction in symptoms but also a sense of well being including improved energy and sleep. Weight loss often accompanies results. Often times, doctors decrease medications. One of the biggest gifts for committed patients is observing how their bodies function; all healing is an inside job. Patients learn how food choices affect their quality of life, empowering knowledge indeed. Quality of life is the reward. What else could be more important?

“He who takes medicine and neglects to diet, wastes the skill of his doctors.” ~ Chinese Proverb

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

Written by: Lisa Forsythe, LAc

Eating healthy does not guarantee health.   Ancient Chinese physicians understood nutrition critical to healing. It’s not just what we eat. The key is differentiating need and want, as well as what type and when. Let’s explore how healthy eating is far more complex than thought plus how to benefit.

Dr. Bo-Shih Ni states, “People mistakenly think if they eat healthy food, drink more water, and take vitamins, they will be healthy. Not so. Healthy food is good only when you need it. When hungry and need food, it’s good, but eating without hunger is unwise. Eating when you want but not when you need causes trouble. The key is need and want.” This is true whether consuming organic kale or wild salmon. Ingesting food when not hungry burdens the digestive system. Overtime weakening of the gastrointestinal tract results in poor nutritional absorption, dis-ease, and poor immunity.

Westerners think they can eat whatever they want, whenever, and how much without suffering consequences. Asians cultures view this practice as foolish, even sinful. It is considered an abuse against nature. Modern culture looks towards technology to have all the answer when it is our body which knows best. Do you need to eat the entire entre, salad, and desert? At what point are you full? When is need ignored over want? Healing requires forgoing want to pay attention to need. “Pay” is a verb.

Clarification is in order. Consistent poor food choices like fried, fatty, sweet, artificial, processed junk foods create illness. Fresh, naturally grown foods are always optimal. However; when starving in the desert, a bite of bad food won’t kill us. Hunger is the signal the body is prepared for more food intake. Not hungry for a meal? Skip it. No appetite at breakfast? How much did you eat (or overeat) for dinner.

Chinese Medicine theory affirms internal organs deteriorate as we age. This is why what, when, and how much we ate earlier in life no longer works as we age. Listening to our appetite’s signals serves us well. Just because food is pleasing to the taste does not mean we should be a slave to desires. “Stop when it tastes best” is a solid principle for determining right amount. Eat with positive thoughts, without distractions, and free from emotional stress to aid nutritional absorption.

How is your digestion? Do you have 2-3 well formed stools per day? Do you look pregnant or have bloating after a meal? These are signs of a burdened and sluggish digestive system.   Cold hands/feet or hot hands/feet indicate s poor circulation due to impaired nutrient absorption. Those suffering from constipation, acid reflux, diarrhea, or IBS often take medications that mask symptoms. Then, they continue to eat what they please damaging their systems further. How can this make sense?

Excess consumption, poor quality, imbalanced diet, or unwise eating habits not only weaken digestion but also immunity. It is extremely critical to note that even healthy food choices for some will not be for others. Example, citrus and tropical fruits like bananas weaken those with poor digestive tracts further.

This simple yet profound advice isn’t taught in acupuncture schools nor found on the internet. It originated from The Yellow Emperor’s Outer Canon, a medical text lost 2,000 years ago. We are fortunate Dr. Ni has obtained countless pearls of wisdom passed down through generations of masters. Patients come to our clinics for one reason- to feel better. Eating healthy is the foundation. But it does require effort for “talk does not cook rice”. Those who follow recommendations have increased opportunity for restoring health and cultivating longevity. Happiness is choices, consume wisely

“Excess causes one to forget what is proper and good, and to become careless. “  ~ Inner Classic

How Do Chinese Herbs Work?

How Do Chinese Herbs Work?

Written by: Lisa Forsythe, LAc

Exceedingly well. Chinese Herbs offer safe and effective medicine. Ancient physicians have passed down healing wisdom from countless generations to support wellness all over the world. Let this serve as an introduction to strengthen your confidence in this impressive medicine.

Chinese Herbal Medicine is perhaps the oldest pharmacy in the world. Traditions date back at least 5,000 years, with written documentation dating back 2,000 years. Compare this to the Native American herbal system where written language was introduced only 150 years ago. A great example of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) history is the extremely popular formula known as Liu Wei Di Huang Wan. This most widely used patent formula was developed by Qian Yi over 1,000 years ago. It was originally developed to be administered in pill form.

As the great Sung-dynasty master Wang Che wrote: ‘Medicinal herbs contain the finest energies of mountains and rivers and the purest essences of plants and trees.’ “Herbs thus carry the purest essences and potent energies of nature into the human system, where they do battle with aberrant energies and restore natural balance and harmony” according to Daniel Reid, author of, “The Complete Book of Chinese Health & Healing”. This life force energy is what heals! Nature heals, our bodies get it, and without harmful side effects. All healing comes from within.

Herbs do not provide the quick fix as Western meds seemingly do. However; they treat the root cause of the illness without permanently harming the liver, kidneys, or other organs. Healing time is totally dependent upon the length of dis-ease and overall health status of one’s body. Incorporating acupuncture, as well as food as medicine, work to expedite the healing process.

According to TCM, illness occurs when qi (energy) becomes blocked. This results in malnourished organs; the state of imbalance is experienced as disease. Chinese herbs feed a nutritionally deficient body so it can heal itself. Take for example a neglected house plant. You can’t drown it with water or a pound of fertilizer all at once. When carefully fed it the right amount of water and plant food, it heals itself. Same with medicinal herbs, they restore the body system so symptoms disappear naturally. This is the sign the body’s system is corrected.

Dr. Bo-Shih Ni’s clinics use Chinese herbs meet the most stringent international Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards as set by the U.S. government. Every shipment of herbs are checked by U.S. Customs. They also have successfully passed random and rigorous battery of tests by the FDA. Chinese Herbs are safe, effective, and can work exceedingly well.

Using “whole” food herbs, Chinese Herbalogy treats a myriad of imbalances. Chinese Herbs help alleviate symptoms of anything from AIDS to arthritis, and everything in between. Both preventative and restorative, herbs can be incorporated into anybody’s lifestyle. They can be administered in pill or broth forms. Chinese Herbs can also be integrated with Western medicine or used exclusively to treat many ailments as well as cultivate longevity. Herbs heal!

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person who is doing it.”        ~ Chinese Proverb

The Healing Process

Written by: Lisa Forsythe, LAc

Trust nature. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers unmatched healing opportunity for the modern world. Supporting the healing process is sage advice for all. Those who cultivate health enjoy life.

Once when presenting a seminar on Disney Cruise Line, a man suffering back pain for 17 years asked, “Can you cure it in 1 treatment?” I responded, “Although this is Disney, unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand”. I then added, “Please realize people don’t get sick overnight, nor do they heal in a 1 hour treatment; it is unrealistic.” Here in the U.S., we are McDonald’s people; we want it now. If we can put a man on the moon, possess brilliant medical technology, than surely we can “fix” our health.

American’s health is rated near the bottom as compared to peer developed countries. The World Health Organization rates the U.S. world rankings in mortality, survival, and life expectancy as #37. Could it be that many liken their bodies to a car? Take it to the shop, get it fixed and done! Humans are not machines. We are not made by machines, nor can they fix us. Humans can repair machines but technology cannot tame nature. Only humans can see the whole body and it’s ever changing environments. The wise recognize there is no magic bullet and take responsibility for their wellbeing.

“Disease comes fast like on horseback, but disappears slow like on foot”. This Spanish saying sums up how many view disease. Health issues seemingly crop up out of nowhere. In fact, symptoms take considerable time, even years to manifest. Long before dis-ease appears, an imbalance occurs due to stress, diet, emotions, and/or lifestyle. Symptoms are often ignored or masked by pharmaceuticals. Many seek the quick fix through operations find that cutting out symptoms does nothing to treat what was responsible for creating them. They prefer technology to nature thinking something outside of ourselves is responsible for making us better. Treat the root and symptoms start to disappear.

How does a finger cut heal? From within. How fast? It depends on the strength of your immune system.

When Dr. Bo-Shih Ni is asked how long treatments take, he says, “If people came when symptoms first appear, results are swift. It’s like a small hole in the wall easily patched. However; when people have been sick a long time, have had multiple conditions and operations, and are taking many meds- recovery takes time.” Dr. Ni describes this like a gaping hole in the wall which compromises the foundation; more rebuilding is required. Supporting our innate healing mechanisms help us feel better faster.

The Chinese say, “7 parts nursing, 3 parts treatment”. “Nursing” means proper nutrition and lifestyle modifications. Diet, exercise, sleep habits, emotions, and everyday life choices have profound impact. Daniel Reid, TCM practitioner states, “Those who squander or abuse the precious treasures of life suffer the poverty of chronic disease & premature death, while those who cultivate and conserve them enjoy the riches of health and longevity”. This common sense is unknown in Western cultures. We tend to spend our energy to the point of exhaustion whilest ignoring our body’s alarm signals for help.

We work with patients in all stages of the dis-ease process to rebuild their systems. Bowel movements, urination, sleep, and appetite functioning are the compass we steer from. Improving these inborn bodily functions sound simple but are the foundational cornerstones towards all recovery. Acupuncture, herbs, food as medicine, and lifestyle changes work in concert to provide lasting results. Monthly seminars are given to introduce Chinese Medicine and the healing process.   Our goal is to help patients recover, cultivate health and “graduate” so they know longer need us. Trust in nature to revive health.

“The superior doctor prevents sickness; the mediocre doctor attends to impending sickness, the inferior doctor treats actual sickness.”   ~ Chinese Proverb