Love, Support & Illness

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Disease is not just about the body. It is literally an imbalance, a disruption of the flow, a loss in the state of equilibrium that keeps us healthy and balanced human beings.

One of the reasons that Chinese medicine is so effective and why I fell so deeply in love with it is the beautiful and poetic way in which it sees the body and the tools it gives us to bring it back to health when it is in a diseased state. It is a holistic system, everything working synergistically, nothing left out. Everything is important, and has an impact, so we must take care of not only the entire organism, but the environment in which it lives, the stimulus that comes in, the emotions that are felt and so forth. Everything that is experienced has an impact, so we strive for balance - which is no small task in an unbalanced world.

Looking at health in this schema, we must step back and look at things with a wider perspective. No longer is health about the physical processes of our bodies, the levels of our blood, or the food we ingest. We must consider the entire life experience and discern what is out of balance so we might attempt to regain that balance once again. In this way the practitioner of Chinese medicine acts as teacher, helping to instruct patients on how to live (the Tao) so that they are empowered and participants in their health and healing and can use that knowledge to prevent imbalances in the future. It is a preventative medicine.


In my questioning one of the things I ask is about the relationships you have in your life. Your friends, your spouse, your children, your boss. Do you have love in your life? Where is it coming from? Love is an incredibly important part of life, and integral to health. I believe it to be an essential part of the healing process, not just physical, but on every level. Knowing that there are people (or pets) out there who want you to be well and have your best interests at heart is just as important as acupuncture, herbs, what you eat and if you meditate or go to yoga.

Love, Support & Illness : Chinese Medicine Living


Support takes it a step further. It is love with a little extra juice. Being in a loving relationship or having wonderful friends is important for all aspects of our lives, and has been proven to improve health and keep the immune system strong. Support is having people in your life that believe in what you are doing, and are helping to hold you up while you are doing it.

Let me give you a couple of examples...

A patient is struggling with a serious disease (the seriousness is directly proportional to the severity of the imbalance). Lets say cancer. Their Western MD is advocating chemotherapy, and so is their family. After several rounds, the patient is feeling terrible and would like to explore other options. They discontinue chemo and start doing reiki, acupuncture and herbs. The patient's oncologist thinks this is a terrible idea. The family also does not support their decision and every time they come home from a session, their husband and children tell them how foolish they are and how irresponsible it is of them to not do conventional treatment. There is no support system to help this person to heal, and the stress created depresses the immune system which is already working at beyond capacity. The lack of support from this persons family is making it more difficult for the patient to regain the balance she needs to get back to health and thus, will continue to be sick.

A patient struggles with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) which makes being at their incredibly stressful job difficult and uncomfortable. They go home at night to a spouse who is angry and depressed. This makes being at home, when the patient needs to rest and recharge, stressful as well. After a long day this patient often goes home to fights and discord due to his spouses unhappiness. In an attempt to avoid the situation, this patient throws himself into work which exacerbates his condition. It gets worse until he periodically has to go to the hospital for a few days to recover enough so that he can return to work.

And it is not just patients... we all need support...

Love, Support & Illness : Chinese Medicine Living


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One very powerful lesson that I have learned in my ten years of practice is that life is not easy. For anyone. People are struggling, and most are trying their best to live life with dignity, and a little grace. I have been amazed at the difficult things that people struggle with on a daily basis, from digestive problems, to pain to depression to abuse. There is a constant pressure on everyone to go to work, pay the bills and balance their personal and professional lives which seems to get harder with every passing year.  Chinese medicine is all about balance in all things, but we are living more and more unbalanced lives which is why the wisdom of this medicine is so valuable and why I want to share it. We all need love. We need to let it out and allow it to come in. It helps keep us healthy and happy so that we have the energy to keep going. But we also need support. No one gets through life alone. Or illness. We are living in a world that has become increasingly connected through technology, but we only seem to be more isolated. Our connections to each other are vital to our health and well being. Loving and supporting each other through good and bad times is how we are all going to make it. Love and support is the difference between life living you and you living your life to its fullest potential, being a happy, healthy and balanced being, and that is what I wish for you. :)

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