Recently I was out hiking up and down mountains and was out of breath. And I am supposed to be a naturopathic doctor – in shape and perfect health 😉 lol. I did feel rejuvenation in some way, since stimulating the body just enough to carry out a response, whether seemingly negative or positive, will open the pathways of qi or energy to move, and keep moving! (no pun intended for 9 hour hikes!) Qi as is stated in Tradtional Chinese Medicine, or prana, in Ayurvedic systems of medicine – is known as the life force or energy found in the body – commonly rejected as a dishonest concept in western medicine.
No pain, no gain is not quite the outlook I was looking for with my huffing and puffing. However, what I did pay close attention to was where the Qi was going, and areas of the body that felt tired, warm, cold, soft, etc… and took that as ancient wisom of the body moving.
In western medicine, energy also exists, they just call it ATP or adenosine tri phosphate. More sophisticated? Maybe. I guess it depends on what metaphor you chose to believe in that allows you to understand the intricate balance of life and your body.
Your body’s energy comes from five basic places: your genetic consitution (we have all heard the saying, « wow you’ve got good genes! »), the transfotmation of your food and water, the air (breath), execerise, and your state of mind. In other words, through thought (a controled factor, and influenced by emotion), digestion, inspiration, and circulation, and well, pure luck from your ancestry! Good news is that the first four can be largely maintained, and some may argue that the last one may also be changed – something refered to as epigenetics. And quite possibly, evolutionary ecology.
These concepts have intrigued my sense of what it means to be a naturopathic doctor, and what is the life force, having all five domains intricately balanced? Or a « voodoo » term that seems to be accepted in some cultures and medicine, while dismissed here? Whatever we call it, it is a wonder of the world, and of human civilization, that we can all learn and benefit from different forms of practicing medicine, looking at health and well being from different perspectives, while taking care of our loved ones, future loved ones, and the planet.