The Desire to Get Better

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

There is something about medicine that I don't think gets talked about enough, and in my opinion, it is one of the most important aspects of the healing process. It is not the quality of the medicines or herbs, the severity of the disease or even the credentials of the doctor. It is simply, the desire to get better.

To some, this may seem strange. If people are seeking out treatment and showing up in your office, does this not imply a desire to get well? You would think so, but, in my experience, it is not always the case. Many times patients arrive and in the course of the initial interview it becomes obvious that they have become identified with their disease. For whatever reason, it has become such an integral part of their person, their physical body, their personality, that their entire identity is wrapped up in it. In some cases, the thought of curing their disease would be like the loss of an old friend, or worse, losing a limb.

This scenario generally plays out after someone has been suffering with some sort of physical or mental ailment for a long time. As an acupuncturist, you sometimes get patients who come to you after they have tried everything else. You are the last resort. For many of these people, acupuncture has never been on their radar, but after trying everything else they could think of, they have decided to try it out because they no longer have anything left to lose. This generally means that the disease is chronic, could have been complicated by various other types of treatments, the body can be exhausted and various organ systems affected, and the patient has lost hope. All these things make treatment more difficult and your job more complex.

The Desire to Get Better : Chinese Medicine Living

In these cases I always try to address the emotional and psychological aspects of the disease. What was happening in your life when you got sick? How were you feeling? Were there any traumas in your life that preceded your diagnosis? These are all important questions, and help to make diagnosis and treatment more effective. These are also probably questions the patient has never been asked before in the context of their illness. This is why the Chinese medicine model is so effective and why I love it so much. The word cancer doesn't mean anything to me. I want to know WHY you have the cancer. What in your life caused the cancer. And why it is choosing to manifest where it has. What in your life led up to you getting the cancer, and so forth.

But ultimately, it is the desire to get better that trumps almost everything else. Many times I have had patients come into my office and ask me if there are points I can do to make the lose weight. My response to this is always no. I say to them that there are many points that I can do to support you in your weight loss, but we will have to work as a team with you eating a balanced diet and exercising. I sometimes get a look of deep disappointment, like they were hoping that I could do it for them. Of course I can't. If you don't want to lose the weight and are not willing to do the work, then you won't lose weight. This is simply logic. Others have come asking for acupuncture so they can quit smoking. I say "there are protocols that help with things like cravings and if you are ready to quit, then acupuncture and your acupuncturist can support you in the process". If they were hoping for a magical point that would do it for them I know it is the last time I will see them. At least for a while, until they are ready.

One of the other things I often see in clinic is that if the treatment prescribed is not the one the patients wants or is willing to deal with, then the necessary healing will not take place. It is one of the most frustrating and slightly heartbreaking parts of my job that I feel that I can, after a few minutes, tell what a person really needs to get over whatever illness has pushed itself uninvited into their lives, and know that not everyone is willing to do what it takes to deal with it and get better. Sometimes people just need to talk. They are frustrated and in pain, and I definitely see that a lot. Sometimes, people want some validation, that what they are experiencing is awful and painful and humiliating. I see that too. But one of the things that I see a lot more is that many people are living in a culture of sickness, and they simply do not know how to be well. I think that until we live in a culture that really cultivates health, the people that live in it will struggle to find their way there.

The Desire to Get Better : Chinese Medicine Living

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Chinese Silk Pulse Cushions : Chinese Medicine Living

How to Get Healthy in 2015 with Chinese Medicine

By Emma Suttie D.Ac, AP

I don't know about you but 2014 really kicked me in the ass. It was a year of epic loss, and a lot of sadness. So, I have been thinking a lot about how to use my Chinese medicine skills to get my life together, to get happy and healthy for a better, no, a superfantastic 2015. Here is my list, and I hope it will help you to thrive in all aspects of your life to have an awesome 2015.

Let Go

Health is not all about the body, it is so much about how we feel and how we deal with those feelings. It is important for health to be able to be flexible, go with the flow and not hang on to things, especially things that have hurt us. This is not to say that we don't feel things, it is to feel them and let them go. Deal with them, work through them and then release them. Don't carry them around with you, they are taking up space and hanging on causes that energy to build up which can eventually lead to disease.

Let Go : Chinese Medicine Living

Get Out of Your Head

We are a culture that spends a lot of time in our heads. Many of us have jobs where we sit at computers, doing work that requires intense thinking for many hours on end. This lifestyle goes against the way our bodies were designed and how we have evolved, which was to run, jump and be active. So take lots of breaks. Go outside. Get up and walk around so you can get back into your body, and try to keep the time that you are in your head balanced with some time you spend in your body, you can be creative about that one. ;)

Acupuncture Kit : Chinese Medicine LivingMen's Acupuncture Shirt : Chinese Medicine LivingChinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet - Basket : Chinese Medicine Living

Get Into Your Life

A lot of us are so focussed on surviving; paying the rent, car payments and bills, paying off loans and debts and are working many hours a week just to make ends meet. In my practice I see people who are overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted. When I ask them what they do to relax they often have to really think about it, as if it is a foreign idea. We all have to survive, but to remain healthy its important to get out and live your life. Do things that make you happy. That feed your soul. Take the time to figure out what those things are, and go out and do them.


How to Get Healthy with Chinese Medicine in 2015

Life is full of ups and downs, and the only thing that we can really control is ourselves and how we deal with the things that life throws at us. I see so often that people who are struggling with their health are also carrying deep emotional wounds from long ago that they have not been able to process. Forgiveness is powerful, it can heal wounds that have been with us for decades. So learn to forgive, its good for your health. :)

Be Mindful

We live in a culture that values multitasking. At work, we are praised for doing as many things as possible, as quickly as possible and this often bleeds into our lives away from work. In Chinese medicine, the spleen is responsible for processing all of the stimulus that comes in through our sense organs, so it is best for the spleen (and the rest of us) to only do one thing at a time, and do it as mindfully as possible. Being mindful helps us be present and focussed with whatever we are doing, and to do it well. Doing one thing at a time with mindfulness will also decrease the stress and anxiety in your life which will boost the immune system and allow the body to stay strong and healthy.

Don't Take Things Personally

This is a big one. If you can really put this into practice in your life, you will be a happier human. So often the way people behave towards us has nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. Your friend may have reacted harshly to something you said which left you wondering if they were mad at you, but really it was because they found out their position at work was being phased out and they were probably going to lose their job. Someone on the bus may have snapped at you for bumping into them making you feel bad and self conscious, but what you don't know is that an hour before they were diagnosed with cancer. If there is anything that my almost ten years of treating patients has taught me, is that you have no idea about the difficult things that people are dealing with on an everyday basis. It doesn't have anything to do with you, so don't take it personally, you will be healthier and happier for it.

It reminds me of a quote...

Be Kind : Chinese Medicine Living

Go Outside

The planet has an unlimited supply of healing energy, all we have to do is go outside and soak it up. So go outside. Take off your shoes. Walk in the grass. Sit on a bench. Breathe deeply. Smell the flowers. Go for a walk. Ride your bike. Take in that healing energy any way you can. You will feel revitalized and it will relieve stress, and lets face it, we could all use a little more of that.

Get Healthy with Chinese Medicine in 2015

Be Kind to Yourself

Being kind to yourself seems to be surprisingly difficult for people. This is often "homework" I give to patients who are suffering both physically and emotionally. It is important to take some time every day to do at least one kind thing for yourself. It is a gift that you give to yourself. Be worth it to yourself. The impact of this small thing is huge on both your body and your psyche. It doesn't have to be something big. I am not talking about going out and buying yourself a private jet (although if you have the means, awesome!) but its little things, like make yourself a cup of tea. Read that book that you haven't had time to get to. Have a bath. Cook yourself your favourite meal. We are all so busy, but this thing, this small thing is perhaps the most important thing of all. To be healthy, we have to be worth doing the work. We have to love ourselves enough to do what it takes. And that is give ourselves the love we deserve. <3

 How to Get Healthy with Chinese Medicine in 2015

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Natural Laundry Soap : Chinese Medicine LivingSilver Lotus Earrings : Chinese Medicine Living900 Needles Documentary : Chinese Medicine Living

Self Love, Baby...

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Treating patients every day is an interesting look into the human condition. When I started my acupuncture schooling, I thought I was getting into medicine, but really, I was getting into a career that would teach me about people. Their struggles, their pain, their illnesses were what I would see every day at work. In my first few years as an acupuncturist I was amazed at the things that people would tell me in our sessions. I was amazed at all the difficult things that people were dealing with in their lives. It was humbling, and helped me to be more empathetic to the humans that I encountered inside and outside of work.

Love Yourself

On the way to work in the morning, when everyone looked so tired and grumpy, I would sit on the subway and imagine what was happening in the lives of all these people who often looked so exhausted, like they hadn't been living life, it had been living them. Based on the things that my patients were telling me on a daily basis, I knew that everyone was dealing with hard things, and that although this is a part of life, it is so important to not only be kind to others, but it is supremely important to be kind to ourselves. We all need a little self love, baby.

Eating properly, exercising, drinking clean water and getting enough sleep are what we all know we need to be healthy, but they are only one part of a much larger picture. How you feel, and how you treat yourself are just as important, and these are the parts that are most often neglected. Most doctors aren't going to tell you to be kinder to yourself because its good for your health. There is no test that can be ordered that will determine that you are deficient in self love. But, I can tell very quickly when someone comes into my office if they are in need of self love. And the interesting thing is that this is sometimes the cause their illness.

Love Yourself

One of the things that I tell my patients who are in need of some self love is that they should do one nice thing for themselves every day as part of their treatment. This can be as simple as having a bath, going for a walk, making yourself your favourite meal or curling up with a good book. And I ask them to really think about these things. What makes you happy? What gives you energy? What feeds you? That is what you should be doing. Taking some time every day to do it, and doing it MINDFULLY. :)

As we move into the future, life becomes increasingly complex and difficult for many people. There are increasing pressures on people to survive and thrive in our society. This struggle takes its toll on us as a species and as individuals. This can be seen in the terrible news stories about school shootings, escalating violence and a rise in mental illness. We live in a society where populations are exploding and we are living in huge cities, but we have never been more isolated or alone. I am not suggesting that a little self love will solve these global problems, but I believe that it is the foundation of many of the problems we presently face. A little empathy for your fellow human being, the people in your community, your family, your friends, strangers you encounter day to day and perhaps most importantly some self love would be a step in the right direction.

Learn to Love Yourself

.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .