There’s No Place Like Home
As many of you know, I was out of the office for 10 days in September. In my 25 years of practice, this was the longest time I have ever taken off. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit China and had an unforgettable experience. Throughout my tour of China, I was amazed at the freshness of the foods prepared in the restaurants…sometimes too fresh for my American ways! Live snakes, roosters, turtles and fish were available in many places for you to pick, weigh and have prepared. The emphasis of fresh vegetables at every meal, including breakfast, was incredible. Every street had vendors and markets with the day’s fresh choices. The other aspect that was enlightening was the value placed on exercise. Early every morning in the city streets and parks, large groups of people met to work out. I awoke several mornings to the sound of beautiful music coming from the streets where people were performing group Tai Chi, fan dancing and badminton. Even the very old were participating. What a beautiful memory I have and a great lesson in staying active.
At a hospital in Xian, a large city outside of Beijing, I met with Dr. Li, a Traditional Chinese Medical Doctor in the orthopedic department. It was truly a life changing experience. I learned about their version of chiropractic, acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion (lighting herbs on fire on the skin) and even “blood letting”. On a routine basis, their patients’ care include a combination of all of these treatment modalities. Attention is given to their diet and emphasis is placed on balancing their food choices. He taught me about their philosophy of Yin and Yang and the importance of energy, or Chi, in the healing of patients. Although the streets of China were crowded, busy and loud with the constant noise of horns blaring, the clinic was peaceful with a gentleness used in patient care. I was treated by Dr. Li and had the pleasure of treating him and assisting him with a challenging patient in the hospital. I was taught a few helpful tips for patient care along with some “ancient Chinese secrets”. Although their facility was no where near the modernized version of our hospitals or doctor’s offices, my take away was how much they value and respect the patient’s spirit and their natural healing potential. I came home with a deep appreciation of our modernized medicine and values, but also a deep respect for the natural roots of medicine and how much I love what I do every day.