As human beings, we have a lot in common. We all need the same basic things: food, shelter, and community. We all strive for common goals of peace, safety, and security. We all work towards greater understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
As much as we have in common, there are even more things that make each of us unique. No two people are, have been, or ever will be completely alike.
Modern medicine is largely based on studying the effects of a single intervention on large groups of people with a certain disease. Give the green pill to 5,000 people with chronic headaches, and give a sugar pill to the other 5,000. How many people get better? If enough taking the green pill improve without a high incidence of life-threatening side-effects, we assume with relative confidence that the green pill will work for many others.
Until recently, this was enough for most scientists. There wasn’t a lot of inquiry into why many who took the green pill didn’t get better -- or maybe got worse. Those who took the sugar pill who got better were written off as having experienced the “placebo effect” -- a scientific term for the spontaneous expression of the body’s innate healing response, triggered by belief.
We all take for granted that different types of plants naturally thrive in different soil and climate, different mixtures of sunlight, nutrients, and water. We would never plant a fern in a desert -- or a cactus in a tropical rainforest -- and expect either to do well on their own.
Chinese Medicine -- which is, in my opinion, the most advanced system of holistic medicine on Earth -- embodies a profound wisdom around individual blueprints for healing in humans.
For millennia, its tradition was built around the view that we are all Universes, completely unique and precious, with constitutional differences that must be accounted for in our choices of foods, activities, careers, and medicines.
The Chinese herbal tradition reflects this penetrating wisdom in how herbal medicines are compounded. Each formula contains several herbs, in very precise combinations, to address multiple layers of pathology.
A master herbalist chooses the herbs to be unique to each patient. There is never a cookie-cutter approach.
Chinese Medicine practitioners also recognize and honor individual differences in terms of metabolism and dietary needs. Each individual’s unique “Qi” is evaluated and foods are chosen based on what will support -- and eliminated based on what will hinder -- that person’s healing system. One person may be OK with milk, another may not. One person may thrive eating pork, another may have to avoid it.
Conventional medicine is just starting to accept that individuals have different nutritional needs. The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of nutrients is giving way to a more individualized approach. But, still, the approach is mired in controversy and requires extensive -- and often expensive -- laboratory testing.
I have found in my practice that the model developed by the sages of Chinese Medicine over countless centuries is stunningly accurate. Simply by observing, collecting history, and feeling pulses of my patients, I have been able to help reduce -- and in a good number of cases completely eliminate -- long-standing chronic illness ranging from migraines, to anxiety and depression, to autoimmune thyroiditis, to infertility and beyond.
Almost all of these people had tried other methods -- such as drugs, surgery, chiropractic -- with limited success (otherwise they would not have sought me out).
And, I am not claiming to be some kind of miracle healer here. In fact, I feel privileged to participate in the process with every one of my patients. I am in awe as I watch their body’s healing system do its miraculous work.
What I have learned to do is see each person as a completely unique individual -- and every “disease” process as an expression of life trying to express itself. Instead of seeing people who come to me as broken machines in need of repair, I see them as Divine Healers desiring self-expression.
Instead of trying to make a fern to grow in a desert by brute force, I follow the advice of the Chinese sages and countless other holistic masters the world over: Create the conditions in which that unique individual naturally thrives.
As a gardener chooses the location, soil, fertilizer, and time to plant, I guide my patients on their most effective stress management techniques, lifestyle choices, nutritional supplements, and herbal therapies. I look for every possible avenue that will allow them to thrive.
The recommendations are unique, the supplements chosen and dosed individually. The herbals are selected and compounded with each patient’s precise condition in mind. The acupuncture points chosen to awaken and guide the individual's healing system.
And, then something amazing happens. The wilted fern suddenly fills with life. The struggling cactus becomes strong and healthy.
All because someone finally paid attention and gave proper respect to the needs and situation of each, and gave each one the tools needed for it to thrive.
I am and always will be eternally grateful for the medicine I practice. It isn’t high-tech or sexy. But its simple and profound power to transform lives is, in my opinion, unmatched. That’s because it works with and facilitates the awakening of the highest of all high-tech -- that amazing thing we call “Life”.
Chris Axelrad, M.S.O.M., L.Ac., FABORM
Director, The Axelrad Clinic
Book your free consultation today to see if this is the right path for you.
Recently one of my dear patients came to see me for a follow-up visit. Over the first few months of her therapy, she had made amazing progress. But, this day she seemed in a down mood.
"I'm broken," she said.
I asked her, "What do you mean? Tell me what's going on..."
She went on to explain that she felt like her issue was starting to come back, and she wasn't able to understand why.
This is where I get to be more than a clinician. I get to be a teacher, a mentor, and a guide.
I asked her, "Tell me what's been going on the last few weeks."
She proceeded to recount to me the key activities of the past few weeks. She had been working extra hours, and she and her husband had moved into their new home.
I asked her, "Did anything change in your routine during this time? Diet? Exercise? Sleep patterns?"
She said she had been feeling quite stressed with the move and the increased load at work. She was not eating at home as much, and this made it more difficult to stay on her eating plan. To top it all off, she wasn't sleeping all that much and going to bed much later than usual.
Then I saw it as it dawned on her -- her pattern had changed, and her body was simply changing along with the demands she was putting on it. In other words, it was going back into "stress resistance" mode, and hence she was starting to have a recurrence of her symptoms.
This opened the door for me to explain more in detail:"You are NOT broken. In fact, your body is doing an amazing job of keeping you going. However, what you are learning here is that the pattern you are expressing right now, which is similar to the one you demonstrated when we first met, doesn't allow you to thrive."Right now, you are like a plant that is being grown outside of its natural habitat. A plant evolves its entire biology to thrive in a certain conditions of soil and climate. In the same way, your biology has a certain condition of soil (nutrition) and climate (mood/lifestyle choices) where you thrive. Much of this is constitutional or "genetic". And, when you are in conditions that are far out of alignment with your place of thriving, you will start to feel it -- your body will "tell" you."The most important thing to keep in mind," I continued, "is that these conditions are different for everyone. We all have our unique place of thriving. Ruthlessly seek that. When you know and accept this, you will achieve a level of sustained health that you didn't think was possible before."
And, really, this is the difference between conventional medicine and what I do. Conventional medicine is not that interested in helping people thrive. The main concern in conventional medicine is to get you from "sick" to "unsick".
As I always say, if you have pneumonia or internal bleeding, you want to be "unsick" as quickly and efficiently as possible. Conventional drugs and procedures absolutely have their place.
When you want to move from "unsick" to "abundantly thriving", this is where the skilled application of holistic medicine comes into play. In the process of natural healing, you are engaged on all levels
-- Body, Mind, and Spirit. And, it is about your unique relationship with life, not just your lab results.
In my next few posts, I will delve into some of the common patterns I see in my clinical practice, and how those might apply to you. I will also give a few self-care tips for each pattern -- simple things you can try on your own to rediscover and reclaim your "place of thriving".
With Sincere Gratitude,
Chris Axelrad, M.S.O.M., L.Ac., FABORM
Director, The Axelrad Clinicwww.axelradclinic.com
Your initial consultation is free. Schedule it here
Those of you who have been attending my seminars know that for years I've been comparing white sugar to cocaine in its addictive potential.
Well, looks like mainstream science is starting to get the picture
Cocaine is a white powder dervied from a natural plant. Taken in even small doses, it causes a wave of dopamine and endorphins to be released into the system, triggering a deeply satisfying pleasure response. It also causes excitement and alertness. But, the effects are temporary and there is a well-documented crash effect after it wears off, causing the user to seek it out in order to feel "normal".
Sugar is also a white powder, derived from a natural plant. Taken in even small doses, it causes a wave of dopamine and endorphins to be released into the system, triggering a deeply satisfying pleasure response (this is why sweet tastes "good" -- this is a pleasure response in the brain). It also causes excitement and alertness (just give a cookie to a 5 year-old kid to test this theory). But, the effects are temporary and there is a well-documented crash effect after it wears off, causing the user to seek it out in order to feel "normal".
Those of you who have been to my seminars also know that, indeed, I often say the problem isn't so much the sugar when it comes to the health impacts -- it's the INSULIN and other hormonal disruptions that trigger massive systemic inflammation, mood shifts, and adrenal stress.
Glad to see that conventional science is starting to wake up to this.
Also, I am not advocating complete elimination of sugar. Life is too short and we are meant to enjoy pleasures like that amazing turtle cheesecake or fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
Like alcohol or tobacco, any drug like sugar is best consumed in moderation. It is the immoderate use that causes disease. In sugar's case, the disease list for excessive consumption ranges from diabetes to high cholesterol to mood disorders.
Want to test this out?? Easy... Simply take a week and pick TWO sweet foods you normally eat, and eliminate them from your diet. Do not replace them with other sweets. I can almost guarantee you two things:
1. You will feel a reduction in water retention -- this is a reduction in inflammation.
2. Your mood and energy levels will stabilize -- this is a stabilization of adrenal and neurotransmitter function.
Try it out. There is no denying the power of direct experience.