Integrating Oriental Medicine and Western Medicine 
by Jonathan Klemens, BS Biol, BS Pharm

I've always had a penchant for the Orient ever since my days of adolesence when my beloved grandmother, an antique collector, presented to me a unique glass paperweight containing the image of a mandarin official. I was captivated by this noble, but cryptic figure, in full robes from half way around the globe! From then on, I was hooked on the mysterious Far East. My interest grew over the years as I studied various oriental cultures, including their philosophies, martial arts and healing arts. 
All oriental medicine is rooted in the ancient concept of Yin and Yang, most often represented by two rain drop, or fish, shapes that form a circle. These two opposing and cyclic forces are regulated by the flow of "Chi" (Ki, Qi, Prana) or vital energy though the body along specific meridians. The body is healthy when Yin and Yang are in balance. The goal of oriental medicine is to ensure good health and promote longevity by affecting the flow of Chi energy to harmonize Yin and Yang. 
There are several choices of oriental alternative medicine to seriously consider:
Acupuncture/Acupressure, Chinese herbal therapy, Japanese massage (Shiatsu, Kiatsu), Ayuveda, Yoga, Reiki and Qi Gong (Chi Kung). All of these can be beneficial to help prevent and treat injuries and as an aid in maintaining good health. 
Acupuncture and acupressure are well proven methods to relieve pain and promote healing. Specific points along meridians are stimulated with very thin needles (with or without heat), or applied pressure, resulting in a regulation of the Chi energy flow through the body. 
Chinese herbal therapy is one of the most refined and complex herbal system in the world. It includes plants, minerals and animal sources. Medicinal substances are classified by their activity or energetics in conjunction with Yin and Yang, the eight principles, the five phases and the six layers. 
If you've ever experienced the trained hands of a masseuse or athletic trainer, you are somewhat familiar with the basics of Shiatsu and Kiatsu, two of the prominent therapeutic Japanese massage schools. Shiatsu massage uses finger, hand, arm and knee pressure for its therapeutic effect. Kiatsu, developed by Master Koichi Tohei, uses Ki (Chi) energy as a healing power in conjunction with therapeutic massage. In Kiatsu, only the fingertips and hands are used to extend Ki into the tissues. 
Ayurveda (recently becoming popular in West) is a 5,000 year old healing and rejuvenating art of India. According to Dr. Vasant Lad, Director of The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ayurveda is based on Hindu texts which prescribe proper breathing, nutrition, meditation and aromatherapy in a manner that involving the interrelationship of the mind, body and spirit. Disease occurs from uncorrected imbalances caused by stress, poor lifestyle choices and poor diet. 
Yoga is a sister science to Ayurveda and includes natural preventive measures to help ensure good health, happiness and longevity. The eight limbs of yogic practice include: regulation of the nervous system, discipline, cleansing, postures, concentration, contemplation, the awakening of awareness, and the state of perfect equilibrium. Yogic practice allows optimum energy flow that has preventive and curative value. 
Reiki is a ancient Tibetan Buddhist healing art using the "laying on of the hands" that claims incomparable simplicity and powerful results. Reiki (Japanese for "Universal Life-Force-Energy") was "re-discovered" and proselytized by Buddhist Mikao Usui in the 1800's. Reiki practitioners receive the "attunements" directly from a teacher who has received the "attunements" and training. A Reiki healer uses touch to convey warmth, serenity and healing through the flow of Chi (Prana) energy. According to Diane Stein, Reiki Master and Teacher, Reiki energy is holistic claiming to heal the body physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Qi Gong (Chi Kung) is a general term for a system of Qi cultivation that has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese people to improve and maintain health. Methods include proper breathing, stretching and bending, special movements and concentration. Tai Chi Chuan (when properly practiced) and is a form of Qi Gong. 
If you are contemplating alternative choices to integrate with your current sports medicine, consider the oriental healing arts. Consult with your physician, do your homework and select a trained, certified practitioner to treat, train and assist. You are in great company; these preventive and healing methods have been used successfully for thousands of years! docendo discimus
1999 J Klemens

The author is a pharmacist, biologist, consultant and free-lance writer interested in
Integrative Medicine, Oriental Medicine and Culture, Behavioral Health, Sports Medicine and Nutrition. He has written many articles on Integrative Medicine, Oriental Medicine, Bioenergetics, Fitness and Health and is listed in the International Authors and Writers Who's Who. 

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