Pontiac success story with traditional medicine Got a cold? Try something new, something very old

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Fred Ryan

When Blaise Ryan had finished his schooling – first at Poupore in Fort Coulonge and then Pontiac High in Shawville – he followed the dream of white-water rafting he had picked up on the Ottawa River and it took him literally around the world. The Italian Alps, Peru, Mexico, and Nepal all offered him the

Fred Ryan

When Blaise Ryan had finished his schooling – first at Poupore in Fort Coulonge and then Pontiac High in Shawville – he followed the dream of white-water rafting he had picked up on the Ottawa River and it took him literally around the world. The Italian Alps, Peru, Mexico, and Nepal all offered him the
challenges he sought, but it was in China, Taiwan to be precise, that he
discovered a different challenge, one worthy
of a life-time pursuit: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). 
Upon his return to Canada, Ryan researched the training available, from Rosemont, Quebec, to Nelson, British Columbia, and it was the latter with its impressive Academy of Oriental Sciences that got his attention. The subjects, from acupuncture to herbal treatments, moxibustion to the martial arts and Jungian counselling opened up a new and stimulating world. He gave the Valedictorian address to his graduating class and made his way back to the Ottawa Valley, setting up a clinic in Ottawa,
which proved remarkably successful.
“TCM is thousands of years old and has proven itself in many areas of
medicine,” Ryan told the Journal. “It offers a very
different approach and uses language more colourfully than modern sciences.
Its terms are almost metaphors, and if they are taken that way, they make a lot of sense and lead to very interesting results, results proven not with lab rats,
 but with huge populations over thousands of years.
For example, you’ll see
reference to ‘the Kingdom’, and ‘defending the Kingdom’ – that’s the body, simple and clear.
“TCM looks at the body in terms of ‘layers’, deep to superficial. What has direct contact with the world, our lungs, our skin, is the
‘superficial’ layer. In terms of illness, these are the entry sites of infection.
“Today, in mid-winter, everyone is concerned with colds, chills, and the flu. Usually we’re told there’s not much we can do other than taking Tylenol and
getting rest. But TCM sees four stages in treating colds and flu.
“The first is the most important, prevention – this is the most effective place to fight illness by keeping our immune systems strong and keeping pathogens out of lives.
“Next is the Onset stage, where the pathogens are still in the exterior level, and where the treatments focus on opening and releasing the cold from the skin or ‘outer body’.
“Finally, comes acute inflammation – ‘fire and heat’ are the metaphors here: fever, sore throat,
yellow and green mucus, headaches and muscle aches. The fourth stage is Recovery, once the toxic heat excess has been cleared out and the worst of the symptoms are gone; our treatments here rebuild
our immune systems (the
‘protective wall around the kingdom’).
“Each stage has its
specific character and
treatments. There’s no
one-size-fits-all remedy in TCM. Each person is
different, has a different
history, and may respond differently. People get sick when the pathogenic
influences, like viruses, bacterias, parasites, etc, ‘invade’ our kingdom, by overcoming our defence system which is our immune
system. An individual’s immune system is made up of three main organ systems in the body, the lungs, spleen and kidneys. If any one of these, or a combination of these organ systems gets compromised, our immune system cannot defend the kingdom.
“We’ve learned to work with each step, with each organ, and each process in the healing process. This is a key point, and indicates the usefulness of Traditional Medicine.
“Visit your practitioner, follow his or her advice and use the remedies, herbs, and acupuncture to ‘protect yourself against colds, the flu and allergic reactions’. Each treatment will differ depending on these factors. The efficiency of the treatment should be evident.”
Mr Ryan says he likes to intervene at the earliest point in the ‘Battle against sickness’, the prevention phase, and he says here the recommendations are clear and sensible: the immune system in the winter needs more sleep and rest. Chinese medicine follows the movements of nature and so our lifestyle habits get adjusted with the
season. Because the nights are longer and it’s cold, the body’s energy reserves grow if we sleep longer. That’s following the
movements of nature. The saying in TCM is “Sleep more in winter to prepare for growth in the spring’, just as our planet does.
“What we eat and how we live our daily lives also affects our bodies and our health. Excessive sugar and poor diet weakens our immune systems, likewise if we are stressed, constipated, or lack sleep. These repress our digestive systems, adrenals and kidneys.
“The whole person is under treatment here because the whole person is infected. Even extreme or excessive emotions weaken us—and so does dehydration; not getting enough
liquids in this dry winter
climate and in our dry, heated homes can negatively impact the lungs.
“This is all common sense,” says Mr Ryan. “Strengthening our imm-une system, our organs, and our eating habits will do an immense amount of good – all in the cause of prevention.” TCM is focused on this approach and TCM practioners are trained to evaluate and identify stages and appropriate remedies or strengthening agents.’
In Part 2, Mr Ryan will discuss more detail and the particularities of each phase of a cold. Blaise Ryan can be contacted at 613-702-5377. He is accepting new patients at his Westboro Acupuncture clinic in Ottawa, minutes from The Champlain Bridge. More information can be found on his website at
www.blaiseryan.com