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Let me start with a story: Recently I paid a home visit to an elderly client who couldn’t get up the stairs to our clinic because she was having severe spasms in her back. For five months she had been having conventional treatments and expensive tests to try to alleviate her pain and discover what was wrong, but her doctors couldn’t find the cause, and physio and other treatments hadn’t helped.

We talked about what was going on, and I asked lots of questions and examined her gently from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holistic perspective. It turned out that 6 years previously she had a car accident and injured her back. She had deep bruising which had slowly moved out along the floating ribs and was causing her pain. Examining her from a different perspective, and with my own experience of bruises which took months to appear on the surface, I was able to identify the pain at its root. The signs and symptoms were all there, but the assumptions that her medical team made had prevented them from seeing the true problem.

Now, I am not suggesting that TCM has the answers to every disease and problem, or that you should only use TCM. My point here is that we are all immersed in our own assumptions, perspectives, and ways-of-seeing and that these all come with inbuilt blind spots. So we have a choice: we can live with our blind spots, or we can be open to other new perspectives and frameworks which might bring healing to our mind, emotions, soul and body.

The problem with seeking independent advice and new perspectives is that we may hear things we don’t want to hear, or can’t relate to.

How is that a problem? It’s not really… or it shouldn’t be. But what do you do when you hear advice that you don’t like, or which sounds trivial or ‘wacky’? If you’re like me, you’ll often disregard it until you are truly desperate for an alternative solution.

When I look at my own issues, in any area of life, I’m always biased by the things I know, or “think” I know. For example, when it comes to my own health I have a tendency to minimise interventions in ways I would never suggest to my clients. This is the reason why most doctors don’t treat themselves or their own family members… because assumptions can be both wrong and dangerous!

I like to challenge myself on a regular basis to change some apparently trivial habit of thought, activity, or routine, as well as looking outside my own discipline of TCM for health information and advice. When we mostly listen to people who think and talk like us, we miss out on the opportunity to look at life from different angles and this may not be ideal for our mental, emotional, and physical health.

Next time you are tempted to think that a recommendation is too trivial or irrelevant to make a difference, ask yourself, “Why not give it a try?”