(208) 377-1455
6550 W. Emerald Street, Suite 112
Boise, Idaho 83704
Modern Innovation and Ancient Wisdom
By Peter Games, L. Ac.

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Boise Acupuncture & Alternative Medicine - Exercise (Walking, Hiking)So, why do some people get sick in certain situations while some do not? A person gets sick when the pathogenic influence is strong (an extremely cold or windy environment, for example) or when the body’s defenses are weak. Although it was not formally called the immune system, there has long been a concept in Chinese medicine called defensive energy (or wei Qi) which is responsible for keeping one healthy and preventing illness and sickness from occurring. Chinese medical theory holds that if the defensive energy is weak, even a mild pathogenic influence would be able to invade the body.

The treatment principle for the common cold or flu in Chinese medicine is to sweat the pathogen out of the body, or to use Chinese medical terminology, “release the exterior.” In this way, the pathogen which entered through the pores and remains in the exterior energetic layers of the body, is forced out of the body through the pores with perspiration. Inducing perspiration is accomplished with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Often, a patient is advised to drink a hot tea made from acrid herbs such as ginger, cinnamon, peppermint, or chrysanthemum. Then immediately after drinking the tea, the patient is told to wrap up with several layers of clothing or blankets in an effort to promote sweating. This treatment approach is very important, for if an invasion is not properly treated in this way, the pathogen can penetrate to deeper energetic levels in the body, eventually affecting other organ systems.

Interestingly enough, thousands of years after the inception of Chinese medicine, modern research lends support to many Chinese herbal recommendations, showing that certain herbs do indeed have antibiotic effects or in vitro inhibitory effects against viruses. Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs in Boise Idaho - Star AniseEven though these herbs were initially prescribed long before viruses were discovered, pharmacological and clinical research has shown that they have antiviral and antibiotic properties. Similarly, the key ingredient in Tamiflu, a drug made by Swiss drug giant Roche aimed at treating bird flu, is derived from the seeds of star anise, a star shaped fruit which is a household Asian spice.

Advances in science have helped us to better understand the human body and disease. However, ancient medical systems have sought to understand and explain the human body and disease for thousands of years, and with remarkable success. In recognizing the similarities and differences between the medical systems of today and those of eons ago, we gain an appreciation for valuable scientific advancements and also for the wisdom and intelligence of medical practitioners of the past who lacked both the tools and constraints of the modern scientific revolution for which they laid the foundation.

In closing, I would like to share the following popular passage:

A Short History of Medicine
(Author Unknown)
2000 B.C. – “Here, eat this root.”
1000 B.C. – “That root is heathen, say this prayer.”
1850 A.D. – “That prayer is superstition, drink this potion.”
1940 A.D. – “That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill.”
1985 A.D. – “That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic.”
2000 A.D. – “That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root.”


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