Inflammation! Everybody’s talking about it, it’s being blamed for all kinds of chronic diseases, and generally speaking the public is learning that inflammation is BAD and needs to be shut down. Everywhere you look there are articles about the dangers of chronic inflammation and the benefits of anti-inflammatory foods, supplements, and protocols. Some of our most common over-the-counter medications are the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Advil, and many others. For physical injuries, the well-known RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol is designed to reduce inflammation as much as possible. We have come to see inflammation as an enemy, a process to fight against, and to eliminate as much as possible.
However, inflammation is absolutely necessary. Without it we would never heal from injuries, we would be unable to fight infections, and from a Chinese Medicine perspective we would lack the ability to generate Heat, a necessary component of life.
This article series will explore the concept of inflammation, from acute to chronic, and its various manifestations and relationships within the body. By examining this process from both a western biomedical as well as a Chinese Medicine perspective, we will be able to gain a deeper understanding of this vital, life-sustaining process. We will also understand how it contributes to chronic health issues. Integrating both the western and eastern philosophies will help us chart a path towards greater health when dealing with inflammatory issues. Understanding the process in context will help us utilize the body’s incredibly powerful ability of inflammation in a more constructive way.