Anita AlexandraGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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February 21, 2013
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Most of us only go to a doctor or health professional when we are feeling ill. We usually seek treatment in order to alleviate pain or other symptoms of discomfort. The absence of these symptoms is often confused with the presence of health, but health is so much more. In addition to the absence of symptoms of discomfort, health is the presence of vitality and the ability to enjoy movement, expression and engagement in the experience of being alive. The practice of Chinese medicine is guided and directed by the laws and principles of nature; the same laws and principles that guide our universe. The bodies that we live in are still an infinite mystery but there are a few important things that we do know that can assist in our quest for health. We know that 75 percent of the surface of the earth is water which is also about the same amount of water contained in our bodies. We know that the earth is a living organism and that our bodies are composed of the same elements that make up the earth. Thus, it stands to reason that in order to sustain life we need both water and food that our bodies recognize as coming from the earth. Yet, I curiously spend more time encouraging patients to drink water and eat food resembling...well food...than any other thing I say in my office. When we do not process enough water over decades, chronic dehydration causes tissue to become brittle in every system of our bodies in ways that we cannot accurately measure or effectively repair. I wonder if our bodies even recognize some of the substances that we pass off to them as food and what happens to those mysterious combinations once they enter the system.

To seek treatment with a professional is a journey of exploration and awareness. If you seek treatment from a practitioner of Chinese medicine you will be asked to fill out a lengthy history form that lists possible symptoms that you are experiencing from every system of the body. That awareness assists you because the sooner you address a symptom and treat the underlying causes, the less treatment will be required and the sooner you will reach the optimal level of health that is currently possible for you. When we discuss that history, I am putting together a larger picture of relationships within you that have led to or are contributing to your current complaints - both the strengths and the weaknesses. When I look at your tongue and its coating, it shows me an immediate and long-term map of how your body processes food. I then take a pulse diagnosis at the position of both wrists which reveals the health levels of each of your organ systems and the relationships between them. This allows me to confirm your original complaints and gives me additional information which allows me to further fine-tune my assessment in order to more accurately and efficiently treat both the symptoms and underlying causes. As a student of the mind I know that the mind is often represented by an iceberg in the ocean with the conscious mind above the water representing about 10 percent, and the subconscious mind below the surface of the water representing about 90 percent of the information that is not in our conscious awareness. It stands to reason that the more we develop access to the hidden portion of our awareness, the more we will be able to notice and address changes in our health. Each of us is at a different stage of our health acquisition, with a different set of circumstances that we were either born with or have acquired along the way. Regardless of where we are on that journey, I believe that some attention to the symptoms that always lead a professional to the underlying causes will assist in slowing down our natural or unnatural processes of deterioration. More simply put, we live in our bodies 24/7 for the entirety of our lives. We have the ability to know more about ourselves than anyone else. If we put in the time and learn to pay attention to the signals the body is giving us, this awareness will serve us all of our lives. And what is better than simply feeling as well as we can for as long as we able to do so? Anita Alexandra is a licensed acupuncturist who practices at 751 Horizon Court, suite 202. Visit or call 970-409-9586 for further information.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 21, 2013 02:58PM Published Feb 21, 2013 02:57PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.