An old lady walked into my traditional Chinese medicine clinic surrounded by the laughter of her children and grandchildren. When the old granny told me about her severe foot pain, the youngsters chorused together: “Cut it off and get a new one!” Granny smiled and said: “I would if I could”.
In spite of the granny’s optimistic expression, her frown lines and deep wrinkles reflected her innermost worries and miseries. I tried to comfort her by saying: “There’s no remedy in the world if you don’t have an open mind.”
There are two concepts in traditional Chinese medicine: Jian disease and Jia disease
Jian disease is similar to having a complication in Western medicine. Once the primary disease (Jia disease) is cured, the Jian disease will be gone simultaneously.
From a clinical point of view, all we need to do is identify the primary disease and its complications. As for Jia disease, there is no such concept in Western pathology. It means a patient’s inherent disease or symptom, which is incurable no matter what medicines are given.
Jia disease refers to many kinds of manifestations, which include a person’s emotions and desires. It could be sputum or summer-heat triggered by fear, grief, or anger. When hearing that they have an incurable disease, many patients can’t relax, making the symptoms even worse.
Whenever I see these kinds of patients, I try to put them at ease by saying: “It’s not a big deal, it’s only a tiny problem.” If they can take it easy, the sickness will improve sooner. For those who are suspicious and fear the worst, however, the disease becomes more obstinate and the results of the treatment are poor too.
In fact, it’s not difficult for Jia disease patients to get rid of their illnesses — just a few remediations are all they need to be healed.
If such a patient can manage to look in at themselves, instead of going to a fortune-teller or so-called “healer,” and if that person would try to clarify or reconsider their relationships with others and give up their stubborn thinking, the predicament could change substantially after a little medication.
Depression results in blocking meridians, qi and blood
Later, I learned that the old granny became a widow in her middle age. She strived to raise her seven children on her own. However, two of her sons were irresponsible according to Chinese filial piety traditions and did not share their livelihoods with her.
Therefore, the old granny needed to work until the age of 70 to make a supplementary income. Living under this anxiety and indignation for so long, the old granny had depressed qi inside her chest under her breast and thoracic vertebrae. After my clinical treatment, she was in too much pain to stand. She could not sleep and suffered chest pain while breathing.
After a while, things began to turn around for the old granny, and her family witnessed a change in her physical appearance. Her frown lines and wrinkles were reduced, and she did not suffer so much pain as before. Finally, the symptoms were well controlled and relieved through cupping-bloodletting therapy. This therapy continued for several sessions.
The old granny then told me that she would never have let herself get so angry if she had known excessive anger and worries would make her sick. I asked her: “Do you believe in fate?” “Of course!” was her reply. “We’re miserable people without tails.” Not knowing her implication, I asked what she meant. She answered:
“People like me have been hard-working like cows. But that’s my destiny, and I can do nothing.”
Any human emotions will leave trails in the body, not only anger and worry. Sentiments such as missing someone, loving, blaming, hating, grief, fear, and so on are all emotions that affect the body. Their manifestation combines with body fluids and transforms into sputum.
The sputum will lead to diseases in the end because accumulating sputum blocks the meridians, qi, and blood. Thus, there is an old saying in traditional Chinese medicine: “Rare diseases are mostly derived from sputum.”