Right Running & The Root Of Illness/Injury

On Saturday I had the chance to attend a running workshop held by my colleague Pete Garbutt.

I had always found running excessively laborious in the past, and avoided it where possible. It had only vaguely occurred to me that my self-taught running technique could be woeful, making running far harder than necessary.

Down at Nara Park that afternoon, Pete systematically explained and demonstrated just how inefficient many of my running habits were. Many of these bad habits are very common in a country shod with thick-soled running shoes, as it turns out.

Having shown me the worst faults in my running, Pete then assembled a new technique for me, one component at a time. Each new aspect was added to the foundation of the previous, until, voila! My running style changed completely. It is now vastly more energy efficient. More importantly, my new running technique is far less likely to generate a back, hip, knee, ankle or foot injury.

This got me thinking about the root causes of illness, a topic of fierce debate throughout history :-)

In the Meridian Therapy style of acupuncture, the root cause of disease is considered to be a weakness or deficiency in either the Lung, Spleen, Liver or Kidney organs. Although a patient's presentation may be fantastically complex,  the best results are generally obtained by focusing on strengthening just one of these major organs. Of course, this approach does need to be highly customised for each patient and their problems, but this is the basic theoretical thrust of the Meridian Therapy method. I have found this approach to be effective time and time again.

However, sometimes the root of a problem can lie outside an organ. Sometimes, a lifestyle pattern or habit is at the real core of the problem. Certain habits may continually weaken our organs, rendering treatments that strengthen those organs less effective.

For instance, a person who is continually experiencing problems related to Lung disharmonies (poor immunity, persistent cough etc) may improve if an acupuncturist treats their lungs. However, if that person is a pack-a-day smoker, no treatment will be as powerful as just quitting smoking.

Similarly, a person with persistent low back, hip, knee & foot problems may be treated effectively for Kidney disharmony. However, what if that person is a runner with abysmal, injurious technique? Until correct running form is learnt, acupuncture treatment will function only as a bandaid. In this situation, poor technique is the real "root" of the problem.

As Einstein's Razor says, Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”