My license is to practice acupuncture and herbal medicine. However, those are the last two parts of Oriental Medicine. OM has five aspects by which the body is kept in balance: diet, exercise, meditation, acupuncture, and herbs. Now, it used to be that the village doctor was a shaman, and he would pray over the sick. As acupuncture and herbology were being studied, a novice once asked the master why they didn’t just pray and chant over illness anymore. The master said that the world had gotten too complicated for shamanistic ways to be adequate.

That was hundreds of years ago. The world has gotten even more complicated, as has the field of medicine. Lots of people look at what I do as some kind of primitive, shamanistic thing. In some ways, I can absolutely see myself where the master had placed the shaman. If you’re having a stroke, I’m definitely not adequate, and you’ll get much better care from an ER. But the master didn’t say the shaman had no place, either.

In the modern world full of double blind studies, graphs, charts, and statistical analyses, we often pay too much attention to the numbers. I read the greatest thing in the comments section of a gloom and doom article the other day, something along the lines of, “Even if you don’t believe in global warming, no matter what the numbers say, that’s not the point. How about not polluting because it’s the right thing to do?”

You shouldn’t need a journal full of studies proving decreased risk of diseases and lowered inflammation to know that you should eat your vegetables. Studies proving that environment really doesn’t affect susceptibility to the common cold? I get it, it’s still the virus, not the breeze that is making you sick, but if your nasal membranes are dry, they’ll be more open to viral infection. That still boils down to “don’t stand under a vent.”

All the folksy stuff became well known because it seemed pretty reasonable once upon a time. Granted, there are dangers where we never thought to look, but a lot of it seemed pretty reasonable because it was right. So, I reject hydrocortizone as a miracle healing balm (sorry, Mom), but I do listen to Mom quite a bit. (Even though I still sometimes leave the house with wet hair.) Usually doesn’t hurt, and often helps!

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