As a patient and as a practitioner in the wellness field, I believe healing starts with active "listening" to the patient.
Of course, you want your doctor/acupuncturist/physical therapist to be qualified and excellently skilled. However, if they do not hear what you are saying as a patient and dismiss or find irrelevant how you feel physically or emotionally, they are missing out on vital information.
What drew me to Chinese Medicine originally was the understanding that the body is seen as constantly changing and striving for balance. We are not stagnant beings, so even if some things gets out of balance or cause illness, it is important to remember that we constantly have the ability to change, heal, and move towards a state off balance in which our body feels well and thrives. And, as medical practitioners it is essential to respect that every body is different and has different requirements for it to function at its best.
This important concept means we are a dynamic, constantly changing being - and sometimes we may get off balance - but being out of balance, allows for steps to course correct and return to a state of balance that is uniquely ours. And I say ours, as each of us is a unique individual, with our own DNA and our own thoughts, emotions, and life experiences that shape who we are and what supports us in feeling well; and that varies from person to person. If we allow ourselves to speak of being out of balance instead of as "broken," "sick," "a mess" or even "diseased" - we give ourselves permission to not judge and to simply witness and take stock of what our bodies are telling us. True, sometimes an injury is just an injury that needs to be treated and there are emergency situations that need an immediate response; not for a moment of reflection to assess what may be out of balance.
However, if we have chronic flare-ups of digestive upset or get frequent headaches, it is important to take note of why your body is responding with these signals and what it is trying to tell you.
Are you getting enough sleep? Did you eat something that may have caused a reaction? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Are you holding on to anger? Do you get this chronic flare up at the same time every year? Every month? A certain time of day? Does the humidity/cold/rain seem to cause flare ups?
Chinese Medicine looks at the body as a system of channels or pathways through which Qi (energy) flows. This system of pathways includes the physical, mental and emotional Qi of your body. If your body's Qi is depleted, you may feel fatigued or you may get headaches; if the Qi is getting all bunched up or stagnated in one area and not smoothly flowing, you may experience pain in your back or neck, menstrual cramps or even irritability. If you are prone to over-worry, it may be affecting the digestive tract, etc. We all tend to have an area of weakness - meaning when the energy is not flowing well; or if we are under stress, we can usually pinpoint the area of our body that is most easily or likely to be affected.
Your body is your greatest source of information. In a time where there is so much technology, we can easily turn to the internet to attempt to diagnose our symptoms; however, often times it simply means listening to your body and trusting yourself to know what you feel. It is true the information you gather may not be clear to you and most times we all need support and guidance with our health. Therefore finding someone who is willing to be your partner in health and really listen and help understand what it going on to create imbalances that are causing your symptoms is a key part of healing.