the original kStyle blog.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

I'm Good, Thanks. How Are You?

Oh blog friends, fear not, I am not dead. I was kind of sick (insufficient Spleen Yang/ Empty Cold causing Dampness...you know, a nasty, phlegmy cold), and work has been crrrazzzzy-O, yadda yadda yadda. But I'm on the mend with some great acupuncture and lots of sweating out the Damp at the gym, and the medicine of seeing good friends for dinner and Trivial Pursuit last night, and ginger tea. And cinnamon.

Let's talk about my TCM Theory class. It's intense, in that wonderful intense way. Like foreign language study, it's something of a full immersion program. We have to start thinking in a foreign way to learn Chinese medical theory, much as we would if we were learning the Chinese language. (And we are learning parts of the language, too: qi, yin, yang, xue, xie, and so forth.) We have to learn to think in cycles, in circles, rather than in lines, to understand that yin is inseperable from yang, that being is inseperable from nonbeing, that blood is inseperable from qi, and yet they are distinct entities. (As someone raised Catholic, this actually seems relatively easy to conceptualize after grappling--or not--with the Holy Trinity...) The thing I didn't quite "get" before, is that the person I treat is inseperable from her environment, and yet is distinct from it. And so, I am not treating a headache, or bowel issues, or back pain: I am treating, or trying to treat, the disharmony of this individual with his world.

Heavy stuff. But we must approach with lightness.

And so, please excuse my while I go read my 70+ pages of homework for this week. It's a good thing, don't worry.


Blogger Emma Goldman said...

I sometimes think that I should have done this kind of thing. But then I remember that I HAVE done it--my whole dissertation was about how language (what we say) and practice (what we do) are intertwined--that things can, in fact, be distinct without being separate, at least not separate in the sense of apart or alone or freestanding. But I love the stuff you're doing, too, even if I can mentally feel one eyebrow lifting sometimes.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

I should add that my eyebrow lifts often--in my "western" doctors' offices, as well. One of the things that interests me most is how various notions of the system(s) of the body intersect or not, but I suspect it's not well-researched. When you have to operate within a particular paradigm in order to diagnose and prescribe (and, hopefully, heal), I would imagine it's difficult to do a lot of paradigm-shifting. Probably easier in the psychological realm, but even there, it seems practitioners adopt a particular focus.

12:33 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Yes, a healing/medicine practice works within a particular paradigm. I think the thing is that paradigm-shifting doesn't necessarily apply. Like, to a Christian, God is everything, and to a Buddhist, God is irrelevant, but both paths ultimately get to the same place. I won't ever be able to perscribe Prozac, so it doesn't matter, and the MDs won't ever want to use hara diagnosis, because it wouldn't tell them anything useful to their treatment methods, so it doesn't matter.

That said, I think that western/allopathic medicine is great for, you know, emergency situations, but otherwise can be too harsh. One of the nice things about it, though, is that it quantifies things. I was practiced on a woman who clearly clearly CLEARLY had kidney meridian issues big-time. A couple weeks after our session, she told me her physician referred her to a kidney specialist because her blood pressure was so high it was damaging her kidneys. So we got to the same place.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

That's what I mean--I find that completely fascinating. I'd love to know what "kidney meridian issues" feels like (from the practitioner's end, rather than the patient's!)--because you're not looking at blood pressure numbers, or at a blood chemistry lab report. I'm also curious about what the underlying issue really was. Allopathic medicine has been able to figure out that high blood pressure is probably bad, but it's not clear what causes it (or, in this case, what the causal chain really was).

1:49 PM  

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