What is healing and what is the role of the healer?
Updated: May 20, 2019
Healing may manifest in different ways for different people. For some it may mean the eradication of symptoms, for others it may mean finding a cure or the restoration of certain functions, while for others it may mean creating a sense of peace and acceptance in the midst of illness. According to the Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, “all healing comes from within,” therefore, one of our most important roles as a practitioner is to allow space for the patient to nurture their body’s innate ability to heal itself within the framework of the systems and modalities of our practice.
The role of the practitioner of Chinese Medicine has often been compared to that of a gardener cultivating harmony and balance in the landscape of the body, mind and spirit. We create the space for healing to occur through the quality of our attention and intention as we turn towards our patients. By maintaining a beginner’s mind, we are open to the infinite possibilities for healing that is available to each patient. Without a beginner’s mind, when we think we know something about our patients, that is all we may be able to see, and this mindset can be counterproductive to healing.
As practitioners of Chinese Medicine, we must first come to terms with our own relationship with suffering so that we can help our patients to better understand and cope with illness. We do this by finding balance in our own lives through self-care, mindfulness and heeding the health advice we give. There must also be frequent examination of our relationship to the systems and agents of medicine to which we and our patients subscribe. We have to guard against using these systems as a crutch to categorize and label people based on their symptoms, while ignoring the underlying cause of disease or failing to see the forest for the trees. We must ensure that we do not practice only to validate our systems of medicine, but always in service to the cultivation of wholeness and health in accordance with the Tao.