rencontres 36 Making dietary changes to promote health and healing is one aspect of medicine that has existed for centuries but is often overlooked. Foods not only offer the nutrients that our bodies need, but also possess different properties, or may illicit specific changes in the body.
From a Traditional Chinese Medical perspective, symptoms or disease manifest or present as the result of an imbalance or multiple imbalances in the body. In diagnosing and treating these imbalances, certain foods may be suggested to aid the body in achieving or maintaining a better balance, resulting in diminished symptoms or disease presentation and severity.
Based on this theory, while some foods may help to achieve balance others may actually aggravate the imbalance resulting in a worsening of symptoms or disease states. The focus of Chinese Medicine is to restore balance where balance has been lost, by adjusting one’s diet according to imbalances that exist in their body one may help their body to achieve or maintain balance.
This theory not only applies to treating disease states or symptoms, but also applies to constitutional weaknesses or imbalances; therefore dietary changes are recommended as a form of preventative medicine as well.
For example, if an individual presents with a symptoms due to a weakness or imbalance of the digestive system, often referred to as the Spleen in Chinese Medicine, foods that help to tonify or strengthen the Spleen would be recommended, while foods that may further damage or weaken the Spleen, or are hard to digest should be avoided. Over time, these dietary changes help to tonify the weakness, or restore balance to the body resulting in increased health and a diminished disease state and symptom presentation.
Dietary changes are also recommended in conjunction with the change of seasons in Chinese Medicine to help maintain balance. As the seasons change, different foods may be recommended to help maintain balance throughout each season. Organic and locally grown foods are often recommended to maintain better health throughout the year.