Women are not well documented in the history of ancient Chinese medicine, as they were often not valued for their contribution to society’s progress. Women historically were not supported in their desires to get an education, many even being forbidden to do so. Sadly, this view still exists in some cultures today. Unaware of their impact on the future of women, our ancestral mothers and grandmothers that defied their cultural traditions to better themselves and others are the inspiration that feeds the hopes and dreams of all women today.
Tan Yunxian (1461-1554) was born into a family history of accomplished doctors. While women were not educated much beyond primary levels of schooling, Tan’s grandparents saw the potential of their granddaughter and tutored her in Chinese medicine. Her grandmother would quiz her understanding of classic medical teachings. As Tan began to practice medicine, she would depend on her grandmother’s years of experience to support her own diagnostic skills. Tan’s own grandmother was a pioneering woman of her day, which explains the tenacity of Tan’s constitution.
Due to the confines of the Chinese culture, Tan was forbidden to treat men; therefore her practice was composed of predominately women in search of cures for female related disorders. As a result, she was seeing patients that male doctors wouldn’t be apt to treat as effectively because male practitioners were also unable to touch female patients. Thus, male doctors were less capable of diagnosing and were very limited in their treatment options for their female patients. This obviously limited the medical options of women to get adequate healthcare.
At age 50, Tan Yunxian had completed writing an autobiographical account, The Sayings of a Female Doctor, which included 31 case studies. Chinese cultural also deprived Tan of the right to publish her clinical practices and findings. Even though Tan was forbidden to publish a book in her culture, she was determined to have her work move forward to help others. The inability to get her book published wasn’t going to deter her mission, she had printing blocks made and self-published her accounts. This book, called The Sayings of a Female Doctor, a few copies can be found today.
It can be assumed that the years of research that Tan did has played a role in increasing the quality of care that women receive in China. First to those women she treated, getting focused treatment would improve quality of their lives. Secondly, the documentation and publishing of her clinical findings would improve outcomes and give a basis to new or improved discoveries. Maybe the most important attribution she has given all humanity was that her determined efforts empowered other women.
As a woman, I can’t help but feel a sisterhood to Tan Yunxian and her achievements and to others like her. The determination and desire of some of the historical women play an important role in the equal rights movement all over the world. If only Tan Yunxian could have known the impact she would contribute, not only to medicine but maybe more importantly to humanity by showing the value of women’s contributions.
Why aren’t doctors taught this is medical school?
What if science can prove that the best asset for optimal health lies within you? You own one of the most powerful and least invasive tools available today to help you reach your best version of you. Along with all the wonderful health benefits, it also comes with positive life-changing side effects. Why isn’t this taught in medical school as the first-line of treatment options? How about a good night’s sleep?
Everyone loves to get a sound sleep that allows you to wake facing the day with energy and optimism. Studies have shown that quality if non-REM sleep improves with meditation. Non-REM sleep, allows for the growth and repair of tissues in our bodies, this allows the body to heal. Additionally it’s been proven that meditation boost the immune system, thus increasing our ability to fight off disease .
That equates to a better integrating and functioning of the mind, body and spirit.
Reduction of chronic pain?
Pain is a multileveled experience, which involves sensory and cognitive factors. The treatment of chronic pain is very challenging. Our current method of treatment is the use of opioid -medications, and even when taken as prescribed it can often lead to misuse and addiction. Researchers found that mindfulness-meditation is a technique that has been found to significantly reduce pain in experimental and clinical settings .
Need less stress and anxiety in your life?
The Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Wake Forest School of Medicine:
“Anxiety is inversely related to brain activity associated with the cognitive regulation of emotions. Mindfulness meditation has been found to regulate anxiety .” Eastern medicine’s holistic view of the body, equates emotional stress as a precursor for disease within our bodies and western sciences are starting to make the connection as well.
Want to reduce your risks factors for cardiovascular diseases?
American Heart Association made this scientific statement; “Studies of the effects of meditation on cardiovascular risk have included those investigating physiological response to stress, smoking cessation, blood pressure reduction, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, endothelial function, inducible myocardial ischemia, and primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease .” Studies of meditation to date suggest a possible, benefit of meditation on cardiovascular risk reduction. AHA also recognizes the need for further studies.
Want to improved attention, memory and cognitive functioning?
“Recently, there have been studies on the influence of meditation on cognitive functions in the context of aging and neurodegenerative diseases. A review of these studies, suggested a positive effect of meditation techniques, particularly in the area of attention, as well as memory, verbal fluency, and cognitive flexibility .”
Another Study published found, “Regular, brief mindfulness meditation practice improves electrophysiological markers of attention control. This study suggests that meditation may alter the efficiency of allocating cognitive resources, leading to improved self-regulation of attention .”
Want to instill self-esteem into children? Imagine the places they could go.
“Studies conducted on third grade students showed that the Maum Meditation intervention had positive influences on self-esteem and on school adjustment .”
With the emphasis of zero-tolerance for aggressive behavior, it could only help to instill this as a practice early on in life. While not only boosting self-esteem it also teaches compassion and understanding for others.
Beyond Healing…..It’s Prevention!!!
Meditation practices can provide a solid foundation for success in life. The ability to unify the mind, body and spirit, helps to balance our holistic being and leaves us with the best possible chance at a healthy life. Imagine a world where meditation was a part of everyone’s daily practice, it teaches compassion, understanding and unity.
Why isn’t this taught in medical school? And taking it one step further, why isn’t this taught in homes and primary educational institutions?
If you would like a better understanding the benefits of meditation, try it, it can’t hurt, in all actuality, it can only help!
The Author, Robin Roarke AP DOM RN, Doctor of Oriental Medicine @ Holistic Healing Arts
“I found meditation early in life, quite by accident and I have always practiced in a non-traditional way. I developed a unique style to help others enrich their lives and develop their own skills to center their being into stillness. I can attest to the benefits and the significant role meditation can play in your physical, emotional and spiritual health”~ Dr. Robin Roarke
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