Why is it when you treat my headaches, my knees feel better?

I was asked this question just the other day, and I get asked variations of it all the time. This is what I love about this medicine. The strength of Chinese medicine is in its ability to look at the patient as a whole person, as a sum of all parts. We are used to medicine and treatments that focus on one ailment, i.e headaches, or knee pain, or digestive disorders. This falls into the reductionist thinking of modern medicine, which is very different than the way Chinese medicine looks at the body. In Chinese medicine, all things are connected and interrelated. Diagnosis and treatments can only be effectively done when we understand the context of the main complaint. And while treating the main complaint, all the little things that accompany it are also being treated. I will share an example with you, lets look at anxiety. A woman in her late forties complains of an acute onset of fairly severe anxiety, she has heart palpitations, cannot sleep, works a full time stressful job, takes care of her elderly parents and recently has lost her appetite. Another patient, a young man in his early twenties also complains of anxiety. His sleep is good, too good, he doesn’t want to get up in the morning, his appetite has increased, he is getting severe headaches. Both people are complaining of the same thing, they are feeling anxious and unsettled. Chinese medicine looks at the main symptom, the anxiety, but only in the context of its presentation. While we are treating the anxiety, both patients will notice some beneficial side effects. The woman we mentioned should feel less anxious, but also a reduction in stress, improved sleep and a better appetite. The young man would also feel less anxiety, as well as less headaches, improved energy and a balancing of his appetite. The treatment for these two patients would differ because the pattern of their diagnosis is different. What does all of this mean? It means that when we are treating you for your main complaint, all the other little things that accompany it are being treated too. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is a subtle, powerful tool that allows your body to heal itself, the whole self. This is why, when I treat your headaches, your knees feel better!