In this episode I welcome my first guest to the Cycle of Mind podcast. As you will see, Dr. Ng is an encyclopedia of Chinese Wisdom, and he was very generous to share his knowledge with us in this interview. He discusses Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the deep understanding of the human body which has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years.
Key takeaways from this week's episode:
- What is Traditional Chinese Medicine, and what is its history?
- What is the one best thing you can do to improve your health?
- Is Chi real, and how is it related to your immune system?
Dr. Ng gives us a fascinating insight into the history of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), and then shares with us its underlying principles of health including Mind, Energy, Food as Medicine, and how our emotions affect our body.
Here are some links that I mentioned in this podcast:
Photos of ancient Chinese Temples:
Black Box Warnings for Humira
Prior Podcast Episode on Why Science Will Never Prove Mind
My guest for today's podcast was born in Macau, China in 1959 – that would make him 60 years old, but honestly he does not look a day over 40.
From the age of 13 to the age of 23 he studied a specific style of Kung Fu in Macao and in Hong Kong – studying with renowned Chinese Kung Fu masters. His knowledge of the Chinese Arts of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has been passed down through his family for generations.
In 1982 my guest emigrated from China to the United States, ending up settling in San Diego, California where he opened a Kung Fu school as well as opening a practice in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
He believes that food is our medicine, and he also believes that our body has the energy and intelligence to heal itself. He is a renowned acupuncturist in the Tung Acupuncture system, and he still uses the acupuncture needles his father gave him.
He has since moved to Sarasota, Florida - where he continues to teach Kung Fu, and he has a thriving practice in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
He is a frequent speaker at Alternative Medicine events. He is a master of Kung Fu, also a master of the Chinese art of Tai Chi which originated as a martial art, and he is a master of Qigong which manipulates energy flow and has a history dating back more than 5,000 years.
In an unselfish effort to pass on what was passed to him, he has documented dozens of training manuals on Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Energy practice. There is perhaps nobody on the planet today with more experience and a better working knowledge of how our bodies work physically and energetically.
It is a real pleasure to have with me tonight an authentic repository of Ancient Chinese Wisdom, a lifetime expert in Acupuncture, a master of Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qigong, an expert in the healing properties of Chinese herbs, an expert in the self-healing nature of our bodies and the food we eat, and a man who I have the privilege of calling my Kung Fu teacher, or in Chinese my Sifu, Dr. Rene Ng.
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Here are my notes from the end of the interview.
I hope you enjoyed that interview. Dr. Ng’s wisdom is truly valuable, and I applaud his generosity in sharing it with us.
He is quite an encyclopedia of Chinese Knowledge. Chinese Medicine to Acupuncture to Qigong, Tai Chi and Kung Fu in the Shaolin tradition – I hope to be able to explore more topics with Dr. Ng. So if you connect with him on Facebook or go to his website, make sure to tell him thanks! Let him know you appreciate his spirit of generosity.
Frankly, everything Dr. Ng discussed is extremely important because those of us who are entrenched in a system of Western Medicine need to hear that there is a different way of thinking about our bodies and our health.
He said Americans are very unhealthy. We pay no attention to our health. And that leads us to realize that Health is something we must choose and commit to. We can’t wait for doctors or our government or corporate food companies to make us healthier. It’s something we have to wake up to.
We see advertisements every day for hamburgers with four slices of bacon, onion rings, and melted cheese – topped off with a delicious milk shake. This is what we are advertising to our children, to ourselves. We have somehow accepted this as normal and ok – and again – it comes back to having a moral compass, to knowing what we stand for. And Health must be the heart of that compass. We must value our Health, regain our Health, revitalize ourselves, and then maintain our bodies to the best of our ability.
As Dr. Ng said, we can choose Room A that is light and well ventilated, or we can choose Room B that is dim and dusty. Our health is our own choice.
Everything Dr. Ng said was important – because we really need to hear this, but I want to highlight a few of what I felt were the more amazing insights that he shared. I want to make sure we listen carefully.
The first was a very clear statement – for thousands and thousands and thousands of years, the Chinese people (and others) have understood that we are beings of Energy. We have definite energetic patterns and our body forms and functions around those energetic patterns.
Our energy structure and our body’s structure are yin and yang, two elements of the same being.
He further explained that when our energetic flow is strong and unimpeded – we are healthy. When the energy flow is blocked or restricted – we experience disease. As Dr. Ng said, energy flow is the key to health.
Dr. Ng spent some time talking about our immune system – and I’m going to share a little story about our immune system in a minute – but in describing the immune system, he said something that I had never considered.
Our immune system is not a group of physical things that you can point to on the human body. Our immune system is the very life force that keeps us alive, that keeps us healthy, and even those who have long ignored their own Health – the life force of our body continues to fight with every last effort to keep us healthy 24 hours/day, every day of our lives.
As Dr. Ng said, our bodies have their own intelligence, and all it knows is to try to keep you healthy.
And here’s where it got amazing. He identified two components of our immune system – the fluid portion – the blood / circulatory system. Everything needed for life is carried in the blood to every cell in our body. Our blood stream is literally a river of life.
Then he described the second component of our immune system - the energy portion – the Chi.
The two are connected – as blood flows, energy flows. As energy flows, blood flows. We really have two circulatory systems – the flow of blood through our body, and the flow of Chi through our meridians.
It is the yin and the yang of our being.
He mentioned that over time, stress affects the vital functioning of our liver. Stress weakens the vitality of our liver. The more stress in our life, the weaker and less vital our liver becomes.
And then he explained why our liver is so important to our Health.
The liver manages the storage and use of fat in the body.
Then he explained that the liver is the body’s giant detoxification center – that means it pulls the poisons and negative substances out of our blood stream. He said the liver is like the body’s oil filter. When the liver is weakened, toxins remain in our body and settle in our fat, in our joints, and in our organs.
Then the third function of the liver is that it is the intelligent traffic cop of blood flow. When the liver is weakened over time, the entire circulatory system becomes inefficient.
So when our lives are filled with stress, our own Health is slowly degenerating, we just don’t see it – so we don’t believe it’s happening to us.
I want to take one specific disease that Dr. Ng mentioned, Arthritis, and I want to compare how Chinese Medicine would treat arthritis vs. how Western Medicine treats this same disease.
First of all, the undeniable strength of Western Medicine is its ability to repair, whether that be a malfunctioning heart, or complex brain trauma, or complex broken bones from a serious accident, bullet wounds, even lasik surgery to permanently correct vision problems. The technologies used by Western Medicine to repair the body are almost miraculous. The micro lasers and technologies are almost like science fiction with what they are able to do.
Western Medicine has evolved miraculous abilities to repair the body. But in my opinion – from my moral compass of Health, Western Medicine has several serious weaknesses.
The first thing to understand is that Western Medicine is designed to fix problems. We don’t go to doctors for advice on how to be healthy – we go to YouTube – right?
We only visit our doctors when there is a problem. Our problems manifest as pain, or fatigue, or constipation, or dizziness, or tingling in our fingers, or any one of a thousand different symptoms that something in our body is not right, is not working properly.
When we experience these symptoms we go to a doctor trained in medical school, they do a bunch of tests, and depending on how far along the problem is, they will prescribe medications to alleviate or lessen the symptoms. In fact, in the United States – a country with a population of about 300 million people, Western Medicine – and by that I mean individual doctors – are responsible for writing nearly six billion prescriptions every year.
It would be fair to say that Western Medicine is more designed as a Sick Care system, rather than a Health Care system. Western doctors manage your sickness.
If a doctor prescribes Qigong or herbal remedies or Acupuncture – they would be considered outside the norm of accepted Western medical practices. As Dr. Ng said, the great debate is that medical schools do not teach Chi because it cannot be observed or measured – and here again my episode on Why Science Will Never Prove Mind – it’s the same thing. You can find that episode in my Podcast blog.
Even though it is obvious that we have an energy structure – and it has been common knowledge for thousands upon thousands of years – our doctors do not recognize our energy structure as real, and they keep writing prescriptions.
All this leads us to the next weakness of Western Medicine. The cures that it prescribes, and I’m particularly talking about the surgeries and medications they prescribe – can often times be worse than the original problem.
Dr. Ng talked about Arthritis – he mentioned that it was caused by inflammation – which blocks the circulatory blood flow to the joints, which blocks the synovial fluid from reaching the joints – which then causes us pain.
It’s one of the questions I wish I would have asked Dr. Ng, but I know his answer – “How does Chinese Medicine treat arthritis?” I’m sure Dr. Ng has seen thousands and thousands of people over his 40 years of practice who have arthritis. And he would prescribe changing the foods you eat – removing inflammatory foods from your diet and adding anti-inflammatory foods to your daily diet. He would prescribe an herbal blend that is designed to reduce inflammation, and he would perform Acupuncture to unblock and activate more energy flow / more blood flow to the joints.
Food, herbs, and energy – that’s the treatment protocol for Chinese Medicine. And someone who has advanced arthritis isn’t going to change in a day just because they changed their diet, and it won’t be a week, but soon – they will notice a little improvement as the inflammation lessens and the blood and energy flow improves to the joints.
The acupuncture works to create an energy flow – but you also have to make a commitment on your end to change your diet – throw out the foods that are hurting you, get up off the couch and stretch and bend and get your heart pumping and get blood flowing to your joints.
That would be the approach of Chinese Medicine to regain your health – to reduce and reverse the inflammation in your joints.
Let me explain the approach of Western Medicine to treating this same inflammatory disease.
The most popular drug in the world is called Humira. In fact, Humira has been described as the world’s most successful drug, and has been at the top of that list for five consecutive years with annual sales totaling more than $13B.
Humira is the poster child for Western Medicine. And this story of Humira and how it is used to treat arthritis points out, as clearly as it can be pointed out, the difference between Western Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Here is what the company says about this drug: Humira.
Humira was first approved by the FDA in 2002 to treat rheumatoid arthritis, but it has quickly been expanded to now treat psoriatic arthritis, spinal arthritis, juvenile arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis. All of these diseases involve radical inflammation in the body. Humira works by reducing the inflammation, and slowing the progression of inflammation.
Humira has what are called Black Box Warnings. A Black Box Warning is a requirement by the US Government that drug manufacturers disclose the most serious side effects of the medications they sell.
Here are some of those warnings. And as I read these warnings, I want you to remember what we just said about our immune system. How it’s the energy flow and the blood flow, the yin and the yang of our body’s life force, how this life force keeps our body healthy, and how important it is to keep your immune system – your blood and energy flow – in balance. Your immune system is the very life force of your Health.
Western doctors trained in medical schools would never prescribe food, herbs, acupuncture, qigong, riding a bicycle for someone suffering from arthritis – they prescribe Humira. It is their protocol, and what they are trained to do.
So here are some of the black box warnings.
Humira may affect your immune system and reduce your ability to fight infections.
The number one drug on the planet will weaken your immune system – your vital life force - and reduce your ability to fight infections.
Some people who have taken the drug have developed serious or life-threatening infections, including tuberculosis (TB).
Your doctor should test you for TB before you start taking Humira and monitor you closely for any signs of infection during treatment.
Why do you have to be monitored closely? Because the drug is weakening your immune system – isn’t that crazy?
But there’s more.
Taking Humira may increase your risk for certain types of cancer, including basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer.
Children, teenagers, and young adults taking these drugs have also developed unusual cancers.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you may be more likely to develop lymphoma, a cancer of a part of the immune system known as the lymph system.
There is not sufficient evidence to know whether Humira is safe to take during pregnancy. If you're a woman, tell your doctor if you're pregnant, may become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If pregnant, you should take Humira only if the potential benefits of the drug outweigh possible risks to your fetus. Breastfeeding women should not take Humira.
If you have any of these side effects while being treated with Humira, stop taking it and call your doctor right away:
Injection site reactions are common while taking Humira.
Other common side effects of Humira include:
I’ll put a link to all that in the blog post on my website. This is the number one selling drug in the world.
Notice that Humira is designed to stop the inflammation – it does not address the organ or tissue or joint that is inflamed – it simply reduces the spread of the inflammation. It does not cure the root problem, it simply masks the symptoms so people can go about living a normal life without pain. But the tradeoff is that while it masks your symptoms, the drug is weakening your life force – its weakening your immune system.
Which brings us perhaps to the most significant weakness of Western Medicine is that it is a for profit business. From doctors to hospitals to drug companies to insurance companies – everyone involved in the Health Care system is in business to make money.
And while Western Medicine can and does perform miracles, far too often at the end of the day, Western Medicine is not about Health, and it is not about Care. It is less an industry organized for the purpose of Health Care than it is an industry organized for the purpose of making money.
And finally Dr. Ng said your body has its own intelligence and its own way of communicating with you. Becoming self-aware is the key to better Health. Aware of our body’s intelligence, aware of our body’s communication with you, aware of our body’s energy, aware of our body’s needs, aware of our own rhythms and moods, aware of our own emotions, aware of the stress we allow into our lives.
Self-Awareness is the key to better Health.
If you haven’t already signed up for the course in Happiness – I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. I break Happiness down into Six Elements, and the very first element is Health. Take control of your Health. Take control of your Happiness. Take control of the thoughts you put in your Mind, understanding that every thought you have today is creating your future. Point your Mind to Health and Happiness!