Change You Can Believe In

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Change You Can Believe In

If there’s something about change that everyone can believe in, it’s that it WILL happen. Whether it’s in politics or relationships or our health, change is a given. Chinese medicine teaches about the balance of Yin and Yang and this is directly tied to the changes we see around us.   All signs and symptoms of dis-ease are ultimately due to imbalances of Yin and Yang in the body (or in our relationships, or in the world) that have gone on for too long.

None of this change happens overnight.   It’s not like one day we’re healthy and the next day we’re sick.   The body has the ability to correct small imbalances.  (This is one of the main functions of sleep.)  It’s only once the imbalance has gone on for a period of time that we start to see disease.  Sometimes it seems like symptoms just show up all of a sudden, and we think “Oh I’m getting older”.  Well that’s true – the balance of Yin and Yang shifts towards Yin as we age, and if we don’t shift with it, we’re prone to illness and injury.  However, often what’s also happening is that there’s an imbalance in our lives in some way, and it’s gone on long enough that the symptoms are starting to show up.

In our world, big acts like the attacks on 9-11-2001, or the dropping of nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, change our lives in dramatic ways.  But most change in our world takes place slowly, through an accumulation of small acts and developments.

Similarly, changing the trend towards health takes time.  In our pharmaceutical-driven culture we’ve come to expect that we can take a pill and be done with it.  Well, those pills might work for one symptom, but they’re often like taking a sledge hammer to a thumbtack.  Yes, you see change quickly, but it might come with some unintended consequences! Healthier changes almost always come slowly, giving the body time to assimilate and adapt to the new balance.

Take the example of people trying to lose weight. Everyone knows that losing weight quickly is a recipe for disaster.  It throws your body into freak-out starvation mode and slows your metabolism, which means you inevitably end up gaining the weight back, and then some.  What’s the best thing for your health?  Changing your lifestyle to include eating healthier food in portions that make sense for your body, and incorporating exercise that makes sense for your body into your daily life.  Whether you lose weight or not, this is a recipe for improved health, no matter what your size.

Change WILL happen.  We have an ability to influence that change to some extent but it always takes time.  When a person quits smoking, they see some very important effects immediately, but it takes a number of years for all the tissues in the lung to be replaced with healthy non-smoker tissue.  Change takes time.

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine work on this scale as well.  Instead of taking a sledgehammer to a thumb tack, it’s more like taking a chisel to stone.  While an acute problem might only need a few treatments to correct itself, a problem that has built up over years might take 3 months, 6 months, or even a year to really resolve completely.

How does change happen?  Rarely does it happen overnight.  Like most things in life, it starts with a simple commitment and a willingness to change.

[Photo Credits: Peyri Herrera, Simon Cocks]
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