Like most people you probably think nothing of getting your teeth cleaned and checked 1-2 times per year, even if you don't have a dental issue. We do the same thing with our eyes, pets and even our cars. But how about the rest of our bodies?
Regular maintenance is an important concept in traditional Chinese medicine, and many other therapies as well. Acupuncturists have specific training to help keep your body and mind working well, and in the best shape possible for you. We can spot minor issues that may become problems down the line, and work on them before they do become a problem. In fact, traditionally Chinese medicine was preventative medicine, here's a quote from The Huang Di Nei Jing or Yellow Emperor's Classic (a text book used in most traditional Chinese medicine schools to teach the ancient root of TCM) "A doctor who treats diseases after they happen is a mediocre doctor...A doctor who treats disease before they happen is a superior doctor". This concept of preventative medicine doesn't always fit into our lifestyle here in Ottawa, but it is a good example of one of the root teachings of traditional Chinese medicine.
Treating illnesses and diseases before they become severe might make more sense, and be more manageable for most people in the modern world. There is a great analogy anyone who gardens will understand completely- it is must easier to pluck a small weed as soon as it breaks the soil, rather than a large weed that has had weeks or months to grow. This is also true of treating illnesses and diseases. Treatment and recovery are easier and faster before it has had time to really take root.
So how does one incorporate preventative treatment, or maintenance treatment into their routine? An easy way to start is by following the seasons. It's really common for old symptoms to come back, or slight annoyances to worsen into full blown unpleasant symptoms when the weather changes. Does your knee always bother you in the spring? Or maybe you always get a cold in October when the weather turns cooler? Or that old shoulder injury always acts up in February? These are good indications that your body isn't adapting well to it's changing environment. Most practitioners here at In Balance will often recommend coming in to see us at the first sign of symptoms returning, as we can deal with it much more quickly than if you wait until you're really suffering. Even better would be to call us before the symptoms comes back if you know that it always does at a certain point in the year. Another time people find symptoms return or increase are during times of stress- moving, starting a new job, loss of a loved one, any major changes in your personal or professional life can throw off your equilibrium and cause symptoms to return or increase. If you know something big is coming, a treatment or two will help get you through it. If the big thing has already happened, we can help you recover more quickly.
The next time you suspect you might be coming down with something, or that old injury is acting up give us a call right away. We would love to help you get back to your everyday way of life as quickly as possible!