Well... not exactly. I was with a new patient the other day trying to explain Chinese medicine and its holistic take on the medical field. An idea where everything in your body is connected---not unlike the six degrees of Kevin Bacon. We all have connections, just look at your Tinder matches (you know what I'm talking about!). We all know someone who knows someone who knows someone who lives in L.A. and works at the coffee shop Kevin Bacon's manager frequents everyday. Bam! We now have an "in" to meeting our beloved Bacon. Well, that's kind of how Chinese medicine works. Let's start with the gut. The gut is something that is getting tons and tons of attention right now among the media and health professionals, but do you know which medical system has been talking about the gut for thousands of years? CHINESE MEDICINE! You heard me right. They have been talking about the importance of the gut forever, and when not healthy it will affect everything else in your body. The gut is the ground zero for health and if it isn't right, you're screwed. What I've learned from my schooling is to always check the middle, and make sure it is functioning correctly. If it isn't, it can set up a whole cascade of problems which lead to symptoms that range anywhere from simple upset stomach to depression and anxiety. And while the Chinese have known this forever, its taken the west a while to catch up.
As I'm writing this, more and more studies are being done on the importance of the gut, the gut/brain relationship, and how there is more bacteria in your gut than their are cells in your whole body!! (You can have your existential crisis now)...
You can read this article about gut health and anxiety, or this post about gut health and Parkinson's prevention. There's currently a never ending supply of information related to the paunch and your health. So why is this important for Chinese medicine? Well, it just further proves the importance of holistic centered care and disease prevention. Or rather, the idea that we should all be promoting health rather than treating disease. The focus of Chinese medicine is to prevent the cascade of events which inevitably lead to chronic disease and illness-- we do this with acupuncture, herbs and lifestyle interventions. Currently, many people believe in the inevitability of chronic disease, incorrectly believing that it is their destiny to suffer further down the road or continue suffering now. But what they don't know is that suffering is an option. With many chronic ailments, all you have to do is change your lifestyle, change the way you eat and maybe get a little help from someone like me. Our modern lifestyle is filled with processed foods, sugar on top of sugar on top of fake sugar, sedentary days watching 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills', and constant stress. All of this is contributing to our lack of balance and promoting instability.
If six degrees of Kevin Bacon is Chinese medicine, then the center of our universe would be the middle, your gut, the digestive goodness that we so neglect. And it doesn't end with your spare tire, there are many more connections to be had and many more ways to further prevent disease. But for now, protect your Kevin Bacon--and if you need some advice on how to begin, just ask me.
Take care of him, because his golden days are over and he needs a little more care and attention.