The Mission of Windpath Healing Works
My View of Medical Care
Many words come to mind when I try to think how to express my medical mission, words like healing, prevention, teaching, integration...and deep listening, motivation, playfulness and humor.
—Healing is as much an attitude as a practice—it means that we understand that our bodies are responsive and can be gentled into better health. It means that every body has some distinct ways to break down that we can identify. Afterwards we can tend these weaker aspects to avoid future break-downs. Healing also means that we understand that chronic conditions can often be controlled but usually not 'cured' (see Healing and Curing in Handouts).
—When I see patients I use deep listening to try to 'hear' deep into the core of their issues, somewhere well behind the current complaint, to find the way that energy medicine—acupuncture—can change that situation for the better. Those small needles touching and guiding the body's energy can make massive changes for good health.
—My practice is drug-free and generally I urge my patients to avoid pharmaceuticals unless they are truly necessary. The most modern medical practices focus on improved nutrition to enable the body to care for its own functioning. That is why I emphasize dietary, herbal and enzyme therapy—these are gentle yet highly effective ways to improve physiological function throughout the body. For those who are hypersensitive to common substances, I also offer an effective pain-free system to minimize allergic responses.
—I believe that good medical care demands a partnership between the healer and the patient: in short, patients must do their homework just as I must think and help in the clinic. For most, homework involves changing life patterns toward others that enhance wellness—such as improving diets or sleep habits, exercising more, and practicing relaxation (see The Big Seven in Handouts). Recommended changes not only help heal the current complaints, but also lay the foundation for permanently improved health and put patients more in charge of their own good health.
—Everything I've said above also reflects my integrated view of the body-person, health care, and patient partnering. When this integrated view guides the practitioner's thinking, and when patients can also view themselves from this position, remarkable health improvements can occur. For example, people often present with a long list of 'diseases' and worry that they are 'so sick' when, from the point of view of an integrated medicine, they really have just one underlying problem. Once that problem is identified and treated, the overt complaints begin to disappear, and patients can go back to enjoying life.
—To ground my comments, let me give a couple of examples of successful integrated care:
A two-year-old child had a history of allergies and phlegm attacks so bad that he was frequently taken to the emergency room for drainage. Under my guidance the parents took the child off cow's milk—substituting goat's milk—and gave him digestive enzymes. We did weekly allergy elimination treatments for 12 weeks. At follow-up a year later, he was completely well and could even be in moldy summer rental cabins without developing runny nose. Note: This brief intervention saved this child a lifetime of ill health and drug interventions.
A mother of 3 young children complained of irritable bowel syndrome, gas, weight gain, allergies, and discouragement since she had little time to develop her own interests. The most immediate problem was the digestive discomfort. Along with acupuncture I gave her enzymes to improve carbohydrate digestion and reduce both gas and excessive bowel activity, and nutritional guidance applicable to her whole household. The acupuncture focused on reducing allergic symptoms and supporting her urgent desire to expand her life—yes, there are acupoints that affect energy, courage, decisiveness, and joy! After some weeks she was feeling so well that she was ready to face the longer-term process of weight loss, for which I gave her nutritional and exercise guidance, herbs to support safe weight loss, and of course, continued acupuncture.
A sportsman in his mid-30s with an old bone-deep scar on his ankle complained of increasing numbness in his foot. The foot was dark and mildly swollen, signs of poor blood flow. Using electroacupuncture and cupping (creating a vacuum over the scar), I encouraged the body to separate the scar from the bone, so it could build blood vessels, muscle tissue and good energy flow back into the region. Over a period of weeks the scar lifted to the surface, foot swelling and numbness decreased, and the man returned to playing ball.
A woman who was allergic to dogs and cats was about to be married to a man who kept both. For her, this was an emergency situation, so we quickly began allergy elimination treatments. Several weeks later she was married and reported back that she could be with the animals without symptoms.
A patient was depressed because her parents were dying. Every year she had a date with her son and his family for a week of fun in the sun, but this year, should she forego this pleasure to visit with her parents? After listening to her agony of indecision, I finally offered, very softly "Choose life." She did, had a great time with her grandkids, and her parents lived on for several more years.
A woman said antibiotics had knocked out her bronchitis, but weeks later her lungs were still full of phlegm. It was winter and she feared the onset of severe spring allergies. She began coming weekly for acupuncture. I also gave her an herbal remedy designed to get phlegm out of the lungs. Within 3 days she was coughing up huge amounts and a few days later had clear comfortable lungs. At this point I gave her immune-enhancing herbs. When Spring arrived she was without allergy symptoms, and only kept an herbal antihistamine on hand "just in case." Now she could go 3 weeks between acupuncture visits and still keep well. In late summer we repeat the immune-enhancing remedy to prepare her for Fall and Winter.
A man complained of constipation, feeling dizzy and "hung over" in the morning even though he'd had no alcohol the night before, stiff neck and sore shoulders. On examination he had mild scoliosis, with tense upper back muscles. Diet discussion couldn't identify the cause of the 'hangover' symptom until he said he ate ice cream just before bed. Ice cream is cold and packed with sugar and fat, features that make it difficult to digest. Eating it just before bed made his stomach, intestines, pancreas and liver work all night, rather than rest. He awoke worn out, with symptoms of hypoglycemia. The sidewise curve in his back was located where acupoints serve the digestive system. Scoliosis represents an imbalance in the musculoskeletal system, and that, along with his high stress lifestyle, explained why he was stiff and sore. Acupuncture treatments to balance his back musculature took pressure off both neck and digestive organs, and, with support from digestive enzymes, and a change in lifestyle (no ice cream before bed), he soon felt well most of the time.
A heavy older man complained of back pain—he'd been told he had sciatica. I helped him change his dietary habits to promote weight loss. His acupuncture treatments reduced the pain for several days at a time. But what made a permanent difference was improving his foot wear. I always examine people's feet, for a lot of suffering can be avoided by wearing truly supportive shoes. The ancient Chinese said, "healthy feet are the pillar of a healthy life!"
These are just a few of the cases I see daily in my clinic. Note that I take an integrated approach to each case, no matter how mixed the complaints appear to be. I can do this because, from my point of view, one person—one body, one mind, one energetic entity—is suffering, and the many symptoms are just 'what shows up' in this person's experience of life. Because of this integrated care attitude, I often do not need to send my patients out to specialists. But when I think someone needs a referral, I do not hesitate. My range of referrals also reflects my integrated approach—I may send them to MDs, psychotherapists, life coaches, podiatrists, chiropractors, cranio-sacral specialists, Rolfers, shamans...or even help them network with non-medical professionals such as realtors, financial planners, or employment specialists if these may serve their needs.
Integrated medicine: it makes people feel well all over!