For preventative medicine when should someone seek treatment?
In the west we have the saying "prevention is better than cure". In Chinese medicine there is a saying "The person who waits until the problem is severe, is like waiting until you are dying of thirst to begin digging a well". As mentioned above, TCM can resolve minor problems before they become major ones. So the best time to seek treatment is when you are well or at least in the early stages of the problem. In treating when you are healthy, the body’s well-being can be strengthened, and constitutional weak points may be guarded against.
However, clinically most people don’t know of any problem until symptoms start appearing. Realistically, many people don’t invest much time and money into their own well-being and quality of life if they can’t see a major problem, so once you begin to be aware of a problem the sooner the better to seek treatment! In the long run treating when the problem is mild can actually save people money because their conditions are usually easier to treat!
What is important is understanding your own constitutional picture. And what aspects of diet and lifestyle habits may help you or hinder you. E.g. alcohol consumption and eating spicy and greasy foods may hinder a skin rash complaint. Where as eating green vegetables, sprouts, cucumber and some non-acidic fruits may help the body.
And so by addressing the constitutional pattern and balancing any disharmony, a preventative effect can be seen along side resolution of symptoms. Through using our diagnostic techniques we can often see the pattern emerging before it develops into a problem. Achieving a balance and strengthening the underlying core of the person, the individual can be brought back to a centre point of well-being.
Understanding your own constitutional tendencies, and being aware of the changes allows you to make educated choices throughout many aspects of your life, including mind and emotions which in TCM is indivisible from the body. Thus you can be more self-empowered to lead a happier and healthier life!