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Finding Hope in the Struggle With Chronic Illness

By David Berkshire, L.Ac.

If you have struggled with chronic illness, you know the feeling: "Will I ever have my life back?" Maybe you haven't said it, but you've thought it: "I'll never get better." The hopelessness that accompanies chronic illness can be overwhelming. Often, a feeling of defeat is the first thing I hear from new patients.

Throughout the last seven years of clinical practice, I have witnessed many powerful and lasting changes in patients' health. In most cases, however, people arrive feeling defeated and disempowered after a long period of suffering.

If you or a loved one has been through this, you know the despair that is often magnified by your experiences with other therapies that haven't worked. Have you been disappointed by your family doctor, surgery, herbal remedies, homeopaths, massage, even acupuncture and Chinese herbs? Perhaps some of the remedies and medicines seemed to work for a short time, but then everything went back to where it was.

Nature Cure: Treating the Individual

When doctors go through medical training, whether Western or holistic, the educational emphasis is on treating what's wrong. Of course, both patient and practitioner want the ailment to "get better." However, focus on a screaming symptom is not attention to the whole you. You are not the chronic headaches, or the chronic fatigue. You are an individual who responds to life in your own unique way.

Taoist Master Chuang Tze wrote a parable about an arborist. This arborist put great care into rooting his trees in good soil. Then, he would leave them alone, trusting nature to help them grow.

I've pondered why some of my clients who walk in having tried everything start to get better. Ultimately, it is an act of trusting nature.

My role as a medical provider is to take the arborist's path. My goal is to treat your whole being to support your natural state of health, not to "fix" you. So, for example, when your head, back or neck is "killing you," we may nourish your soil by aiding your digestion. We may support your roots by relieving stress and balancing your mind. With these systems working well, the pain will naturally subside. Plus, you may experience other wellness benefits, such as enhanced energy.

Year after year, I am more intrigued and mesmerized by the power of natural medicine. The most amazing aspect of this medicine is your personal ability to heal and recover. The tools of natural medicine-acupuncture, homeopathy and a deep trust in nature-have been efficient tools in helping people transform their lives quickly and efficiently.

The Kwan-Yin Team

I have been working with clients since 1992, initially as a therapist for homeless youth and adolescents struggling with drug addiction; now striving to help people transform their lives back into vitality and wellness through natural medicine. I am committed to keeping my mind open to your individual ability to respond. Given the uniqueness of each individual, this commitment drives me to continually learn more as a practitioner. After four years of graduate work, I now spend at least four weeks each year in continuing education, along with countless hours reviewing cases with mentors.

About four years ago, I fully acknowledged that I can never know it all! This recognition led me to gather a team of medical providers together who think and believe in your ability to heal as much as I do. Kwan-Yin Healing Arts Center is now an extraordinary group of naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, psychologists, and massage therapists who collaborate in patient care. We all have different strengths and areas of expertise; but we all believe that we must understand your unique body as a whole before we turn our focus to your dis-ease.

Our website has a list of each of our bios: http://www.kwanyinhealingarts.com/practitioners. You may also call the office at 503-701-8766 and speak to Lottie or Nicole, our amazing office managers, who can guide you to the right person for your individual needs.

In the meantime, a few suggestions that seem to help most of my clients: Drink enough water! (This equals half your body weight in ounces-if you weigh 150 lbs., drink 75 oz., or two Nalgene bottles' worth.) Surround yourself with good people who can make you laugh but also can hear about a bad day. And finally, be gentle with yourself. So often, we focus on what we aren't doing. Most of us try really hard: Acknowledge yourself for the efforts you are making.

Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have. We encourage you to schedule a complimentary 15-minute free consultation so we can hear your story. We hope to have a chance to meet you in person!