Chronic Diseases have steadily been increasing worldwide, and are the leading cause of illness, and disability in developed countries. They are the new plague of the modern world!. As of 2011, chronic diseases accounted for 90% of all deaths in Australia and the USA, also making it the leading cause of death!
The term chronic disease applies to a group of diseases that tend to be long lasting and have persistent effects. These include such conditions as heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, IBS, and autoimmune disorders.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
As of 2012, about half of all adults—117 million people—had one or more chronic health conditions. One of four adults had two or more chronic health conditions.
Seven of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases. Two of these chronic diseases—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for nearly 48% of all deaths.
Arthritis is the most common cause of disability. Of the 53 million adults with a doctor diagnosis of arthritis, more than 22 million say they have trouble with their usual activities because of arthritis.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations other than those caused by injury, and new cases of blindness among adults.
What causes chronic disease? Most people would say Genetics, Pollution, Poor Diet and Hydration, Stress, and Lack of Exercise. Chronic Disease is rampant and rising. Once considered diseases associated with the aged, it is now occurring in younger people and children. I would agree, these five factors are very important and may be critical and significant factors in developing chronic disease. However, they are not actually the cause! They contribute to a suitable environment for the primary causes of chronic illness, they are not the cause itself.
Many people try to live a very healthy lifestyle, as we all should! Yet, still end up developing a chronic disease. On the other side of the coin, we all know of someone who is over 90, who smoke and drank their entire life, doesn't eat vegetables, never went to the gym, and had a stressful job, yet they have longevity and a relatively high quality of life. How can this be, is it purely genetics?
It certainly helps, but the real causes of Chronic Disease are 3 things:
Poor Circulation, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation. If one can prevent these from occurring, they will not develop a chronic disease. And if a person can resolve these three things, they can recover from a chronic illness.
Lets, examine these causes in more detail.
1). Poor Circulation - The rivers of the body are blocked and stagnant.
Blood travels to nearly every part of the body, carrying energy, oxygen, nutrition, and immune cells. When circulating well, every cell is nourished with what is required for optimal cellular metabolism. Blood also carries away waste products and pathogens. When blood is not circulating well, waste lingers and pathogens proliferate, cells are unable to metabolize efficiently, repair, and reproduce.
2). Oxidative Stress – Damaging Toxins and Pollution.
This refers to premature aging, due to damage by free radicals. Too many free radicals can disrupt a living cell and cause damage. Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body even creates them on purpose to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, they are most often spawned by pollution, heavy metals, and radiation. Recent research also suggests negative emotions contribute to oxidative stress. Normally, the body balances free radicals with antioxidants. This is why certain vegetables, herbs and teas are thought to be anti-aging. They contain a large amount of anti-oxidants.
3). Inflammation – The body is in attack mode, struggling to contain and eliminate the garbage.
Inflammation is an important way for the body to fight invasion and infection by removing the harmful agents – pathogens, irritants, and damaged cells. Inflammation causes an increase in immune cells to an area. Arteries dilate; blood flow increases, and capillaries become more permeable, allowing white blood cells, nutrients and hormones to move into the space in between cells. Where the white blood cells ingest the foreign agent, pathogen and damaged cells. Blood clots form by the release of a hormone and tissue is heated to aid in killing any pathogen.
However when out of balance, inflammation becomes chronic. When this happens the immune system is working overtime. White blood cells swarm to ingest a continual pathogen, or irritant, and in doing so inflammation can become systemic causing a vast array of chronic illness. In some conditions, the body sends an inflammatory response to a perceived internal threat that does not need an inflammatory response. The white blood cells swarm, but have nothing to do, and nowhere to go, and start attacking healthy tissue.
We already stated the obvious things that contribute to Poor Circulation, Oxidative Stress, and Inflammation, namely the big five: Genetics, Pollution, Poor Diet and Hydration, Stress, and Lack of Exercise. We could all benefit by improving the things above that we have control over.
But, there is more that can be done to prevent and even resolve chronic disease.
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and QiGong!
Specifically, because they address the root cause of Chronic Disease, they improve circulation, reduce oxidative stress, reset and reduce the inflammatory response. These modalities have an extraordinary ability to resolve difficult conditions. I have personally healed myself of a chronic illness and have helped many people recover from debilitating and stubborn conditions. In a past article, I explained the important and overlooked fascia network, and how Acupuncture, Massage, and QiGong interact with this system to facilitate healing. In future articles, I will explain in more detail how these modalities work with such amazing results, and will provide certain methods and exercises that you can do yourself!
To learn more, please visit:
Taoist Acupuncture is located at the Alchemy Wellness Centre in Nashua, NSW near the village of Bangalow in the beautiful Byron Bay Hinterland.
RJ Singer is a registered Acupuncturist, and Chinese Medicine Doctor with AHPRA and AACMA. He is also a highly regarded QiGong Healer and Teacher, and Feng Shui Consultant. RJ’s area of special skill is in the successful treatment of stubborn and difficult chronic disease, and all types of painful conditions.