Traditional Chinese Medicine Medicine with Meaning that Recognizes Relationships
Dr. Jingduan Yang
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Medicine with Meaning that Recognizes Relationships
by Linda Sechrist
Anyone who listens to Dr. Jingduan Yang, a leading physician, board-certified psychiatrist, and international expert on classic forms of Chinese Medicine, explain the basic principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are in for a treat—simple explanations that are not only easy to understand but also that make sense. In fact, the founder and medical director of TAO Institute of Mind & Body Medicine has such a gift for articulating his “whole systems” integrative medical approach that his articles appear in the popular online newspaper, the Huffington Post. It is possible that his “medicine with meaning” is likely to impact the ways in which we comprehend how our body, its organs and systems, actually work and metaphorically speak to us in the form of “symptoms” that should never be ignored.
The human body is a perfectly designed self-modulated sustainable system. “Feedback, in the form of felt or visible symptoms,” says Yang, “is a mechanism that can be found in almost every system of the human body.” For example, he points out that when someone is taking in too much sugar from food, the body produces insulin to transport sugar from the blood to cells in order to keep blood sugar at a normal level. “The body is able to self-balance, self-repair, and self-heal when it functions normally,” notes Yang.
When the body’s functions are challenged, unwanted physical and mental symptoms may occur. “Any symptom we experience is a message from our body that something is wrong and that we should pay attention to it. The worst thing that anyone can do is to give medications to relieve the symptoms without addressing the underlying issues. It is the equivalent of silencing the whistleblower and masking a bad situation,” says Yang, who recommends treating symptoms as friends, not enemies.
“Do not silence symptoms or kill them with medication because it is your body’s way of giving you important messages. Respect and listen to symptoms so that you can make changes in your lifestyle, treat the root cause of the problem, and live a longer, healthier, and happier life,” Yang remarks.
Yang offers some examples that demonstrate how his years of experience in TCM afford him a unique view the body. “The liver is not just an organ that metabolizes and detoxifies food and medications, it is also in charge of vision, regulates mood, and is responsible for planning, decision-making and judgment. The kidneys do not only produce urine and cleanse body fluids, but also are in charge of brain function, hearing, bone health, fertility, sexual function, control of bowel and bladder, will power, and motivation. The spleen is a major organ in charge of digestive and metabolic process as well as analyzing, reasoning and processing information,” advises Yang.
In TCM, the human body is a single unit composed of an infinite number of biologic processes so intertwined that abnormalities in almost any of its parts or processes have profound effects on multiple other body areas. “In TCM we do not separate the mind from the body. There is no need for a patient to see a neurologist for migraines, a gastronologist for irritable bowel syndrome, a psychiatrist for depression and an OBGYN for menstrual cramps. We look for a common energetic pathway and take everything into consideration because the environment, the people you interact with, what you eat, how you eat, how you interpret your life events and how you react to them are parts of the whole story about an illness. All of these things are part of the story of an illness,” explains Yang.
A faculty member of the Integrative Medicine Department of University of Arizona, Yang teaches TCM for the Integrative Medicine Fellowship Program. His multi-faceted holistic approach at the TAO Institute of Mind & Body Medicine includes psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, neuro-emotional technique, acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbal medicine in the care of patients with a variety of emotional and physical illnesses.
Yang is following family tradition as a fourth generation teacher and practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in acupuncture, which he personally administers to clients. “I always offer my psychotherapy patients acupuncture, unless they have objections,” he says.
Tao Institute of Mind & Body Medicine, 1288 Rte 73 S. #210, Mount Laurel; 856-802-6888, TaoInstitute.com