The Mountaineer - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada
© 2003 The Mountaineer Publishing Company Limited.
February 24, 2004
Traditional Chinese Medicine Presentation Held At The Rocky Legion
by Helge Nome
A small but very attentive group of people attended a presentation on traditional Chinese medicine at the Rocky Legion last Saturday, February 22. The main presenter was Dr. Kenneth Wu from Red Deer who has operated an acupuncture clinic in that city since 1985 and is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine and an acupuncture specialist.
The presentation was jointly sponsored by the Rocky Coop Pharmacy and Aspen Springs Herb Gardens Ltd.
MC for the occasion was Len Preuter, who introduced Dr. Wu as someone who, at 47 years old, had attained recognition in Alberta and internationally in his field from beginnings as a physically handicapped youth who was unable to walk before he was nine years old. Kenneth Wu also operates the International College of Martial Arts in Red Deer and was the 1994 Canadian Champion in Kung Fu.
At the beginning of the presentation Dr. Wu challenged the mindset of those present by telling a story of how scientific research had shown that Canadian geese navigate their way to nesting grounds by following our highway system which has become a convenient navigational tool for them in recent years. In other words, they have adapted to changing times and incorporated new clues into their knowledge base. He suggested that humans should do the same and expand their horizons as new knowledge in the area of health becomes available.
In his own case, Dr. Wu's uncle introduced him to traditional Chinese medicine while he was still severely handicapped and he spent a lot of time learning about it. This medical system has evolved in an orderly manner over a period of some 5000 years and its theories are being proven by modern scientific research. It has many elements including acupuncture, herbal and food therapies and physical aspects such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Kung Fu and is holistic in nature by regarding humans as integral parts of the natural world which is permeated by Qi (pronounced "chee") which is what keeps us alive and well when it is allowed to flow unhindered along some 20 meridians in our bodies.
Contemporary mainstream western medicine tends to divide our bodies into smaller and smaller parts for observation and specialization for medical practitioners with emphasis on the physical, chemical and other interactions. From the traditional eastern perspective the "energy field" is the real you. The body is regarded as a vehicle. A malfunctioning body will distort this energy so its proper maintenance is very important. Stress and bad habits are major causes of such distortion and long term health can only be attained by good habits and tolerable stress levels.
Acupuncture and herbal therapies can be used to help this process by clearing Qi blockages in the meridians and support the various body systems. The underlying idea is to attain a balance between the Yin and Yang of the body which are also universal principles applicable to all aspects of the world.
Kenneth Wu, who was born with a heart condition, came to Canada from China when he was 14 years old and was kept on antibiotics until he was 17 years old at which time he made a decision to follow his own path to health. However, he is also greatly appreciative of western medicine as evidenced by the success of knee surgery needed following an accident in recent years.
Practitioners of oriental medicine can identify problems in organ systems by examining external features of a person such as the tongue, eyes, skin, etc. There is a connection between the liver and the eyes, for example. A person's energy field, which can be sensed by an experienced practitioner, is indicative of her or his state of health.
Dr.Wu stressed the importance of proper exercise, not just physical work, which tends to put more strain on some muscles than others. Regular stretching and flexing of joints will promote fluid and blood circulation in the body and help against numbness developing in the extremities (fingers, toes, etc.).
When selecting a medical practitioner for consultation and help, it is important to find someone with the proper qualifications and experience. A minimum of three years of training for acupuncturists was recommended. The individual practitioner's "feel" for the profession was also considered to be very important.
During the presentation, Dr.Wu, using a volunteer, demonstrated how an acupuncture needle inserted at a strategic point in one arm, can make the other arm powerless against pressure exerted to move it. He also pointed out how lucky Canadians are with access to consultation rooms and all the space in the world, compared to the Chinese where lineups of 200 people or more, based on his own experience, were treated by an acupuncture team in corridors in an assembly line fashion.
When asked about how individual meridians had been identified, Dr.Wu said that experiments that were sometimes very cruel, and carried out on prisoners, had been used in ages past. Carla Green, who is an acupuncturist in Rocky and present at the presentation, said an experiment had been conducted where a part of the visual cortex, under the scrutiny of an MRI machine, had been stimulated by the insertion of an acupuncture needle at a particular meridian point in the foot.
In response to a question on internal cleansing using herbal treatments to clean out the colon, etc., Dr.Wu cautioned against "quick fixes" with powerful herbs that can cause major upsets within the body. The prevailing mentality which demands instant results leads nowhere. It takes steady work and effort to maintain health. When asked about vegetarianism, he said that the main reason why Asians don't eat a lot of high protein food, is because it is very expensive. Different kinds of foods are suitable for different kinds of people involved in various kinds of activities.
In closing, Dr. Wu reflected on the power of a person's mindset on health, emphasizing the power of a positive frame of mind.
Jeri and Len Preuter, who own and operate the Aspen Springs Herb Gardens near Leslieville, had a display of herbs and essential oil products at the presentation session. These products have been formulated according to principles of traditional Chinese medicine in cooperation with Dr. Wu and are focused on body systems as well as functional aspects of the human body such as weight loss, menopause and tissue repair.The products are sold at the Rocky Coop.
If you want to find out more about this subject, call in at the Rocky Coop pharmacy and talk to pharmacy manager Leanna Overwater or check out www.aspenspringsherbs.com.