Dr Otis Chiu
Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole body.
I never assume that I can cure my patients. I prefer to see my relationship with the patient as a partnership. I am simply a consultant. We co-operate, collaborate and learn how to listen to each other. We learn how to listen to the body’s message and the message of the illness. So, we learn together. I use professional experience, my knowledge, my intuition and my heart; together we try to discover the secret of life and the cause of your illness. If we succeed in following this path, we begin to discover and achieve harmony. We avoid the suffering that disturbs our lives.
Unfortunately, we all have to make living. We are taught to focus on survival. We pay a price for this. We lose contact with our body and the messages it sends us. To compensate, our ‘merciful creator’ gives us illness. Illness is a messenger. It teaches us to adjust or change our value systems, our attitudes. By changing our attitudes and philosophical values, we alter and improve the vibrations and rhythms of our lives. We begin to find harmony.
A strong focus on survival is not incorrect or ‘bad’. We sometimes need focus to survive or achieve our goals, but a narrow view easily distracts us from living a full and balanced live. We find ourselves ignoring changes in the environment. For example, the seasonal changes of spring, summer, autumn and winter seem to by-pass us. The human body goes though similar seasons and processes. We have names for them – birth, aging, illness and death. We tend to block or deny these cycles.
We find similar changes in our emotions but often ignore the effect these emotions have on our body. Emotions like happiness, anger, sadness and joy changes like the seasons. Because we ignore the physical effects of these changes, we eventually force the body to express its messages though illness. Illness is still life. It is conscious; it from the illness. We need to listen to these emotions to learn more about illness.
However, because we often misunderstand or deny the message sent by the illness, we create conflict and disorder; illness becomes an enemy rather than a friend trying to teach us a valuable lesson.
How do we treat illness? I use a different approach. Give it space, time and love so that you can learn from it. Do not hate the illness, chase it away, or try to kill it. Do not think that ‘you must win the battle’. Rather, accept it. Be patient. Allow communication to balance and harmonise your body. By doing this, the body and the mind will combine to heal the illness.
Unfortunately, education and experience teach us to treat the body like a machine. We conclude that we can separate our anatomy into mechanical parts we assemble or disassemble, almost like a car engine or a puzzle. We try to use this knowledge to guide our biological functions and emotional reactions. We reject the natural, healing forces of life and ignore the body’s language and the messages it sends to us when we fall ill.
Nature, which is so flexible, creative and ‘merciful’ gave us illness to remind us to slow the rhythm of life and listen to our body. If we were to hear and understand this voice, we could suddenly realise that we all simply live together. We trust together. We would see that we were not enemies; just friends. This applies to human existence, illness and the relationship with our body.
When we study the history of modern medicine, we cannot deny that it has evolved rapidly and that scientist have made many astonishing discoveries. However, we ate also now discovering more severe forms of illness. Some modern diseases ‘fight back’. For example, certain antibiotics are ineffectual; illness has discovered how to ‘fight’ modern medicine.
I always remember as a child living in a village in Taiwan, that when I got flu, my mother gave me a cup of hot ginger tea and told me to go to bed. The next morning I would be well again. Today when someone gets flu, it not only takes much longer to recover, but the flu often returns despite strong drugs. What is the message between these two extreme examples?
From my point of view, we can neither reject nor disagree with modern medical philosophy. It often resolves suffering caused by illness. We should feel deep gratitude to the early pioneers of modern medicine who invested time and energy in the search for cures. They strove to give modern medicine man health, happiness and security. It was a noble cause, but in practice, the dream no longer works; actually, it now works against the original intention of these pioneers – we cure the symptoms of physical illness but we overlook the important hidden message behind the illness?
Years of training in holistic traditional medicine has enabled me to understand that illness has the special purpose of conveying messages about the body.
I always remember the ‘Master’, one of my teacher at Medical school in Taiwan, saying that the highest stage of medicine is ‘tzu shin’ – if you want to heal illness, first balance the ‘shin’. ‘Shin ’, in Chinese has a broad meaning. It means body, mind and spirit but it includes and encompasses the essence of the illness. This is one of the highest and most important laws of medicine. Today, it influences my intentions and the way I practice medicine.
My wish is that this ancient traditional approach to medicine will wake us from a long sleep and through this, enable us to experience the essence of life – happiness, health and harmony.
“That a needle stuck into one’s foot should improve the functioning of one’s liver is obviously incredible. It can’t be believed because in terms of currently accepted physiological theory “It makes no sense”.
Within our system of explanation there is no reason why a needle prick should be followed by an improvement of liver function. Therefore, we say it can’t happen. The only trouble with this argument is that, as a matter of empirical fact, it does happen.” Aldous Huxley.