East vs. West: What approach really works? | Mind of Mad Dog

Every year it seems there is another health, nutrition or fitness guru claiming to have the miracle cure to solve issues like losing weight, building muscle and controlling joint pain.

But in the United States, we seem to continually buy into it.

Before spending your hard-earned money, why not look outside the box of Western approaches to health and fitness and look into Eastern ideas such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or homeopathic approaches to bettering your health and fitness?

For example, with TCM, many of the things we love to eat or drink every day have roots in its philosophy. It's all about regulating the flow of chi (vital energy) and restoring our healthy energy balance.

The key here is to not only look at TCM or homeopathic medicine as an alternative approach to your health and fitness, but to also keep the door open to known Western medicine, health or fitness approaches. You want a balance of both at your disposal.

For example, the teas we drink, especially green tea, well known in TCM, have many antioxidants and overall health benefits to living a long and healthy life. But you also can take a good multivitamin, which can give you vitamins and minerals to act as antioxidants for your body. You also can consume all organic food products, which are staples with many homeopathic philosophies. Doing all of these gives you a three-pronged attack to overall better health and fitness levels.

With some of the foods we eat, like steak, chicken or fish, TCM takes the bones and creates "bone soup" recipes, which have natural cartilage that help in joint pain and rebuilding the joint cartilage; the same way Western medicine prescribes glucosamine and chondroitin pills.

Over the years, dealing with my joint disabilities, I have looked at other protocols, especially with TCM and homeopathy. I have learned other ways to fight joint inflammation from acupuncture and yoga, to many homeopathic approaches with chiropractic care, massage therapy, myofascial release techniques (aka foam rolling), trigger point therapy or injections and porolotherapy.

With TCM and homeopathy, you have less evasive ways to deal with pain and injuries than going under the knife from Western doctors, which I have done in the past.

The point in all of this is do your own research. Don't always believe what you see on TV, read in magazines or hear from one doctor. Seek the advice from your healthcare provider or a fitness professional, but also don't hesitate to get second and third opinions, or go down a path of what you think will work for you. At the end of the day, only you know what's best for your overall health and fitness.

Tom "Mad Dog" Schneider is the owner and operator of Mad Dog Boot Camp Fitness in Auburn. He conducts Indoor and Outdoor "Real Army Style" Fitness Camps focused on building strength, muscular endurance, and overall cardiovascular training. He is a Certified Army Master Fitness Trainer and Small Group Leader with more than 30 years of combined military and civilian fitness experience. For more information, email or call 253-736-5740.

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