I’ve spent quite a bit of time in western medical offices this past year getting various types of tests and care that only allopathic medicine can provide. I needed to use multiple approaches – conventional and “alternative” – to properly heal my medial collateral ligament tear, or I’d risk “franken-knee”. As a practitioner with my own health philosophies dealing with an acute injury I have many tools in my toolbox and many “doctors” I see to help keep me tuned up and my healthiest self.

As I looked around each waiting room I felt both gratitude for this toolbox and saddened that not everyone has this. I also felt overwhelmed by a system full of endless co-payments, lengthy button pressing phone calls and frazzled doctors with barely five minutes to speak to me. A system that I found myself currently needing,

The healthcare world is facing lots of potential changes these days. What struck me through this whole process is how many people won’t likely get what they need to heal fully within one system, don’t question it and won’t get the wide range of care they need to get better, heal properly, or fully embrace their path ahead should something develop into a chronic or serious issue. As I sat in assorted waiting rooms gazing at Shape and O magazines from 2014 contemplating why I needed an appointment just to get test results – literally waiting sometimes 90 minutes for a 10 minute follow up appointment – it struck me: What is the long game here? I mean, I’m happy to “wait” but I need a plan.

The long game of Chinese medicine is one which follows the seasonal laws of nature and supports our desire for a long life of good health. In the modern world, we are busy people withstanding a system burdened by inefficiency, expense, and overwhelm, whose long game doesn’t involve or empower us enough and it rarely has a big picture game plan for us. For long term health and well being we must commit to and find our own personal self care plan, not the quick fix which is often presented to us.

As summer approaches I am thinking seasonally; what sustainable practices might I do to protect my health as I transition through the year? I ask you this summer to step into the arena of self care possibility with heart and soul, vigor and fervor, and find the persistence and dedication your body, mind and spirit ask of you, day to day, month to month, season to season. I ask you to think about your own long game and not get too entangled with the short games that are confusing, expensive and ineffective. When we pay attention to our personal long game we can steer the course of our own health and this power of choice can have surprising results. What do you want in your toolbox and how can you share this with your doctors on your always changing health journey? And if you know you’re going to be waiting a long time for an appointment, breathe deep and bring your own magazine.

by Angela Coon, L.Ac.

Photo Credit:  “IMGP6748” by Ollie2363 – https://flic.kr/p/jHVqam

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