I often ponder this question regarding my own health and the patients I treat. Does sound health mean the absence of any aches or pains, flawless results on our blood work, limitless energy and the ability to leap tall buildings in a single bound?
Of course, many of us yearn and strive to improve our health, which I feel is a worthy goal. I treat many patients with chronic, multiple health concerns. My typical patient might have urinary urgency, migraines and acid reflux, another patient may present with depression, fused cervical vertebrae and iritis.
It is great when all of a patient’s maladies can be cleared up but this is not always possible, despite a patient taking responsibility for their own self-care and my earnest efforts to help them in that process.
What if, by the concerted efforts of my treatments and the patient’s own self care and awareness, they feel better and are happier?
Even though some of their health concerns remain, they experience a level of improvement that enables them to co-exist with their disharmonies more peacefully.
We might call this “inner conflict resolution.”
Our health doesn’t necessarily become perfect but better, despite what medical tests might portray. Maybe they have a brighter facial glow that was lacking before acupuncture, walk with greater ease or can eat at a restaurant without having digestive repercussions.
Perhaps they don’t miss work or have fewer sick days, due to debilitating migraines or severe menstrual pain. They notice the quality of their sleep has improved, they feel a sense of clarity that was so elusive, previously.
Sometimes I battle my own demons because my wish for the patient’s elevation of health is higher than their own.
Some patients reside in complacency and are happy to have their sniffles go away but are willing to tolerate getting up in the middle of the night to pee multiple times or a stiff neck that has bothered them for years, unable to back out of a parking space without turning their upper body.
As a perfectionist and a practitioner who is constantly striving to improve his capabilities, it is a hard won battle, I am attached to “results”, as my teacher in Tokyo, likes to remind me of.