All in a name: Our Philosophy
On all levels, this name is expressive of how I view the medicine. In physical form, roots are roots! - the underground part of a plant that seeks out and stores nutrition which, when harvested, becomes food or an invaluable medicinal herb. They are dynamic, moving, active as they grow, a suiting analogy for the journey and process of health. In functional terms, roots provide structural stability to the entire plant, whether a bending bit of grass or a towering sequoia.
The everyday choices we make in our life affect and actually create our health; if we tend our foundation with care and nourishment, we are able to thrive as a result. Nowadays it can be harder to make those healthy choices because there are so many other tempting options -tastier, more fun, less expensive, and frankly much easier. Unfortunately, our bodies didn't get the memo...We still function best on the things nature provides: real food without chemicals, sleep when it's dark out, more rest in the winter, a sense of community. In this context, roots medicine refers to "going back to our roots," to acknowledging our place as part of the natural world and living more closely aligned with its rhythms.
Because we evolved under these conditions for millennia and the changes we've experienced in the last couple centuries have been so quick and so drastic, our bodies perceive these changes as stress. Aside from the daily stresses of finances, relationships, etc. that we experience in our minds, our bodies all by themselves are stressed by seemingly innocuous modern conditions like not enough sleep, artificial light when it's dark outside, and even feeling far from family and friends. Returning to our roots or even putting down new roots is a symbol of commitment, of home and the richness that provides.
One of the core tenets of TCM is our perspective of root and branch in health. The branches are basically the symptoms a person experiences: the headache, the insomnia, the sprain that just won't heal. The root is the part unseen, that person's underlying constitution, the Achilles heel that allows those symptoms to manifest in the first place. We all have our weaknesses and so, when we get out of balance, those will determine where symptoms tend to show up. As a TCM practitioner, I assess each person as an individual with their unique constitution and notice how their current symptoms fit in to that picture. I treat their chief complaint, of course, but I also get to the root of the problem by addressing their underlying constitution. Patients are often pleasantly surprised when they come in for one thing and notice other things improving too.