Yin and Yang flow through every aspect of our lives. Understanding their ebb and flow gives us a glimpse into the nature of the universe, and our place in it. In our formed world forces exist to interact with the other; to maintain balance; to sustain life. This dynamic is one of the pillars of our medicine, which teaches that health arises from the harmony between people and nature.

As Chinese medicine practitioners, facilitating balance is a central element of our trade. A question from today’s episode is, can we master the integrity and awareness to articulate a connection between our work with our patients and the health of our planet?

In this conversation with Nishanga Bliss, we explore planetary health and climate change from the multiple lenses of Chinese medicine. Our medicine may be founded on the microcosm (humanity), but it is a reflection of the macrocosm (universe). We can use the useful lenses of Yin and Yang to better understand the state of planetary health and see the imbalances causing climate change, which Nishanga diagnoses as a deficiency of Yin. She suggests that a seemingly small input can have dramatic systemic effects, like a well-placed acupuncture needle.
Listen into this discussion on the threat of climate change, electronic activism, and how Chinese medicine fits into this puzzle.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • Seeing climate change through the multiple lenses of Chinese Medicine
  • A technologically connected world and acupuncture’s impact on consciousness
    Chinese medicine gives us a glimpse of the imbalances in our environment – Have we lost the way of balance? Can Chinese medicine offer us a return?
  • How our perceived solutions today may sow the seeds of tomorrow’s problem
  • The conveniences of technology vs. their impact on the planet
  • Leveraging our ‘privilege’ as practitioners
  • Our limited space of influence and magnifying our actions using technology
  • The need for more Yin and respect for appropriate Yang
  • The importance of awareness and integrity as Chinese medicine practitioners—and modeling that for our patients
  • Staying present in the midst of overwhelm
  • Climate grief
  • How crises transform our lives
  • Living sustainably and implementing possible solutions to tackle climate change

“When the spirit is calm, all pain is negligible,” according to the Nei Jing. I always ask myself what is going on with the patient’s spirit and I take it into account in treatment. My favorite point for shen is Du 20.

Nishanga Bliss, DAIM, D.Sc., L.Ac. is an integrative physician and professor of Chinese medicine at the Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, California and the American Academy of Chinese Culture and Health Sciences in Oakland, California. She believes that personal and planetary health are inseparable and her mission is to bring sustainable transformative healthcare to support communities meeting the incredible challenges of our times. She is the author of the Real Food All Year: Eating Seasonal Whole Foods for Optimal Health and All-Day Energy (New Harbinger Press, 2012).


Links and Resources

Read Nishanga's book: Real Food All Year

You can find Nishanga on Twitter or Facebook

In the conversation Nishanga recommends:
The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis, by Brendan Kelly
The Climate Action Now App

You might also be interested in—
The Climate Now organization
The Chinese Medicine Forestry Trust
Acufast Earth Friendly Needles

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