Chinese Medicine | Photo by Lisa Hobbs on Unsplash

Fixing tables: a new analogy for Chinese medicine

My first woodworking project, a Shaker-style side table made of walnut
My first woodworking project, a Shaker-style side table made of walnut

A teacher of mine once compared Western vs. Chinese medicines to fixing tables. I love this analogy not just because woodworking is one of my favorite activities, but simply because it is so apt: if you have a table with a broken leg, the easiest way to deal with it is to repair or replace the leg. If you have a table that’s a little “off”- wobbly, sharp edges, scratched or dented, but fully functional – then replacing a leg is not just overkill, it might ruin a perfectly good table.

Western and Chinese medicine are simply very good at very different things. I would send someone with a broken arm straight to the hospital, but advise them to come back to the acupuncture clinic to help speed up their recovery time. Chinese medicine has a lot to offer for healing bones, as well as related conditions like sprains, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow. Acupuncture, topical herbs, and cupping can promote the flow of qi and blood to an injured area in ways that an immobilizing cast/brace cannot do.

Perhaps the very reason that acupuncture continues to fly under the radar is because many conditions it excels at treating (like migraines, insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues, menstrual irregularities, etc.) affects people just like that creaky table with the uneven legs: uncomfortable, annoying, bothersome… but most of us can get away without fixing it for quite some time. 

It’s usually not until the table breaks down that people are finally driven to do something about it. Sadly, by then, the table will probably need a new leg.

Unlike the table, you can’t toss your body to the curb and simply go out and get a new one. Chinese medicine is best applied as preventive medicine, correcting the imbalances in the body before they become a bigger problem. Don’t wait until your choices consist only of major surgery or taking the type of drugs that are strong enough to knock horses out. Make the investment sooner rather than later to get better sleep, eliminate aches and pains, and reduce your stress levels.

There’s another carpenter out here… and absolutely no reason for any table to limp along until it breaks.

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Chronic issues that respond well to acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine:

  • Migraines/headaches
  • Insomnia and anxiety disorders
  • Allergies
  • Women’s health issues like PMS, irregular periods, menopausal symptoms
  • Chronic pain like arthritis, plantar fascitis, tendonitis, and of course, neck, shoulder and lower back pain
  • Stress
(Source: 123rf stock photo)
Acupuncture works wonders for the common cold

Acute conditions that Chinese medicine treats very well include:

  • Pain – sprains, muscle spasms, bruises
  • Bell’s Palsy
  • Common cold

Other areas of treatment that acupuncture can support:

  • Fertility – to promote regular cycles, ovulation, fertilization (also applicable for couples undergoing IVF)
  • Cancer recovery – to help the body recover from chemotherapy or radiation, reduce nausea, improve appetite, alleviate depression


Photo credit: 123rf stock