Western and Eastern Medicine: Finding Union

I’m intent on helping people to live fully, and I untiringly seek ways to optimize health, vitality, and wellbeing in every aspect of existence. My life’s work as an herbalist and healer, supported by decades of scientific research and infused by my spiritual practices, have culminated in the creation of the Eclectic Triphasic Medical System, a unique healing approach that draws from both the Western and the Eastern traditions of medicine.

These philosophies are at opposite ends of the medical spectrum. But instead of choosing one over the other, I’ve found that it is the synthesis of these two approaches that facilitates the greatest healing, by providing me with a wide spectrum of tools from which to draw. There’s no question that Western medical technology can be extremely useful, and even life saving. But there is much more than technology involved in true healing, and this is where I find great value in the Eastern approach to medicine.

Balancing stones - Western and Eastern Medicine: Finding Union

 

Being raised as a Roman Catholic and later professing as a Byzantine Secular Franciscan has given me a thorough understanding of how different the Western mind is from the Eastern, even in regard to the practice of Christianity. Whereas the Western approach tends to be reductionist and science based, the Eastern philosophy is holistic and intuitive.

In medicine, the Western definition of health is the absence of symptoms. The cause of illness is thought to be a malady that occurs at the organ, tissue, cellular, or molecular level. Western medical diagnosis can essentially be distilled to the terms “functional” and “dysfunctional.” Western medicine is based on scientific analysis, and any unknowns are regarded merely as something that science hasn’t yet figured out how to fix. Science, to the Western mind, is believed to hold the truth to our existence, and technology is all too often confused with God.

In Eastern thinking, true health is found in the balance of body, mind, and spirit. Disease or illness is believed caused by an imbalance in the body’s chi, or life force, which results in dysfunction of the entire system. Various irritants, both indigenous (including diet and emotions) and exogenous (including pathogens and environmental conditions), bring about this imbalance. Healing occurs when the irritants are removed and harmony is restored.

In Eastern medicine, the organs of the body are regarded less in their functional roles and are viewed as more interwoven and responsive. Whereas in Western medicine disease is attacked through powerful drugs, surgery, and radiation, in Eastern medicine the emphasis is on restoring balance through the more wholistic approach of diet, lifestyle, spiritual practices, and supportive therapies such as herbal tonics.

Herbal medicine plays a central role in Eastern medicine and is still a primary method of health care used by more than 80% of the world’s population. Whereas drugs are effective at performing a specific function—to block or replace something—herbs, and specifically adaptogen formulations, help to improve recognition, response, and revitalization. I refer to these as the three “R’s.”  In these ways, herbal adaptogens help to restore balance to the body, facilitating the deep healing that alleviates symptoms and restores vitality.

Many of the Eastern medical traditions, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, have derived concepts from both Taoism and Buddhism. One of the main postulates is that everything and everyone is connected. This is a fundamental truth of life. On a global level, when we cut down a tree in the rainforest, this action harms the health and wellbeing of the entire planet. I believe plants are here to do more than merely support our physical health, they are here as teachers, guides, and examples of our Creator’s love. When we take our herbal medicines, plants have the opportunity to communicate and interact with our genes, encouraging healing on a deep level.

I have integrated these healing concepts into my practice with excellent results. In compounding formulas for my patients I always begin with a base of adaptogenic formulations that help restore balance and vitality to the body. I then add specific herbs to target symptoms or constitutional weaknesses. As my patient improves, I increase the proportion of adaptogens and reduce the herbs that were targeting symptoms. This approach has lead to a new system of medicine that promotes optimal wellness instead of merely attempting to fix what is broken.

Although the Eastern and Western approaches to medicine are vastly different, they are beautifully complimentary to one another. Instead of believing that one paradigm is the only way, I endeavor to understand the parallels between the different healing models. This “cross-pollination” of medical traditions has facilitated the emergence of the revolutionary, advanced healing system that I call the ETMS. In this unique model, I have merged the best of all healing approaches for the benefit of my patients. My deep desire is that all who seek healing will be able to avail themselves of this knowledge.

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