If you are like most people, you probably tend to measure your level of health by whether or not you are sick. In other words, if you are sick or have obvious symptoms, you consider yourself unhealthy. Once you have rid yourself of an illness and you are symptom-free, your pendulum swings back toward healthy again. This is the model of health that most of us were raised on. The media creates images of the family physician on house call, rushing to the ailing patient’s bedside, black bag in tow and magic elixir at the ready. It’s larger than life. It’s nostalgic. And it’s flawed.
First of all, contrary to what you may have been taught, symptoms are not meant to be used as a barometer of health. When a roast burns in the oven, you don’t smell the smoke until after the meat has been charred. In other words, the illness occurred first, creating damage before the symptoms even showed up. There are billions of dollars spent every year in this country on drugs or products designed to take away our symptoms, implying that this is the equivalent of being healthy. In actuality, this is like using a fan to divert the smoke out of the kitchen window while the roast continues to be reduced to charcoal. Sure you might feel better, but your health remains in shambles.
Secondly, while the way you feel might change from day to day, your underlying level of health, albeit changing itself, is considerably more stable. So it is erroneous to think that you can go from healthy to unhealthy and back again in a few days time, based simply on the symptoms expressed by your body.
Finally, it is unrealistic to describe health as black and white, sick or not sick. According to this logic, as soon as the scales barely tip to the symptom-free side you are as healthy as you can be. What an immense letdown life would be if reaching the pinnacle of health meant barely treading above the waters of sickness!
So what does it mean to be healthy? Health is a state of optimum physical functioning, spiritual enlightenment, social well-being, and mental aptitude. True health is so much more than settling for mediocrity. It’s not about living life just barely above the doldrums, or hoping against hope that you won’t get sick or that you’ll finally feel better.
Understand that your body was designed to be healthy and in balance. This is your natural state. If you are struggling with your health, you have most likely, throughout the course of living, allowed your body to get out of balance. Taking medicine to treat a symptom will never create balance within the body. Acupuncture works with the body to return it to its natural state of balance so that it can heal from the inside out. Don’t divert the smoke, put out the fire!