What is the purpose of Traditional Chinese Medicine?

The practitioner’s highest goal should be a restoration and strengthening of one’s innate wisdom in a spiritually based practice, moving a patient towards self-actualization.

by David Lowenstein — 

What is the original purpose of Oriental Medicine, which includes acupuncture, bodywork and herbal remedies? One of the oldest texts in Asian Medicine, the Shen Nong Ben Cao, describes the hierarchy of healing that interestingly mirrors the hierarchy of needs as proposed by psychologist Abraham Maslow. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, individuals seek to fulfill self-actualization, followed by improved self-esteem, love/belonging, safety, and the lowest, most basic being physiological or biological needs.

The highest purpose of healing for a practitioner of Asian Medicine is spiritual; that is, helping the patient fulfill his destiny (ming) through self-actualization and, thereby, living out his/her years in comfort, joy and productivity. The second level of Asian Medicine healing is to empower the innate nature of the patient (xing) or innate wisdom power in their body/mind/spirit.

The third and lowest level of healing of Asian Medicine is the symptomatic and physiological relief of the patient’s physical or mental disease. The ancient Asian medicine text, the Ling Shu, states that the highest level of Asian Medicine was believed to be spiritual, and the lowest form was the prescription and symptomatic relief of disease.

Would it not be wise to seek care from a healthcare practitioner in Asian Medicine who uses the ancient hierarchy in their healthcare practice? The practitioner’s highest goal should be a restoration and strengthening of one’s innate wisdom in a spiritually based practice, moving a patient towards self-actualization.

A consumer might ask a practitioner of Asian Medicine, prior to treatment, “What is the purpose of acupuncture?” Note where in the hierarchy the practitioner of Asian Medicine focuses their practice.

 

David Lowenstein, D.C., LAc, M.A., M.S, is a diplomate in acupuncture and Asian bodywork therapies and is a certified instructor and practitioner of shiatsu. www.Bluerockcenter.com, Bluerockcenter@aol.com or 602-957-6100.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 25, Number 5, October/November 2006.

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