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Tradition and Technology

Posted on April 10, 2020 | No Comments on Tradition and Technology

The wisdom of East healing traditions combined with technological advancements of Western medicine may be just the antidote for a sick world.

Most clinics offer water in the waiting area. If you’re lucky, you can choose between hot or cold water. When I noticed that water in this clinic was contained in red, yellow, and blue containers as part of “color therapy”, I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Call me picky, but first impressions are important when I enter a new clinic. After all, I’d be entrusting my health not only to the doctors but also to their working environment. The reception area should set the scene for the ensuing experience, and the alkaline, oxygenated “color therapy” water offered at Health Is In, Quezon City, did exactly that. Very few doctors know about the ancient practice of color therapy—which has its roots in China, India, and Egypt—and its effects on both physical and psychological wellbeing. The thoughtful attention to detail was impressive indeed, and when combined with bright green and red reception chairs, one can’t help but feel lively and enthusiastic about getting healthy—a refreshing change from the sleepy, spa-like waiting rooms trending most health centers today.

Upon a pleasantly short-and-sweet process of completing paperwork, the receptionist proceeded to measure my weight, followed by the nurse taking my blood pressure. I wondered why this part of the examination was being done in the waiting area, rather than in the privacy of an examination room. Perhaps influenced by the nurse’s courtesy and the clinic’s cheerful ambiance, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and continued into the examination room.

Advanced Wellness System
The nurse gave me a brief introduction to the first part of their wellness check, called The Advanced Wellness System. As Ian Nubla, PR and marketing manager, would later explain, this non-invasive, painless procedure is designed to identify areas of dysfunction that could potentially lead to disease, if neglected. “The idea is to emphasize prevention, to prevent patients from becoming sick by showing them which areas of the body are starting to show beginnings of imbalance, even when the patient feels fine.” Over the next few minutes, wires and gadgets were brought out. A measuring device reminiscent of one half of a headphone set was clipped to my hand for a few seconds. Another test followed, in which a pen-like tool was pointed to several spots on each foot, followed by computer beeps telling the nurse to move to the next test area. Too fascinated by the wires and changing computer screens, I remained silent and continued to observe as the nurse expertly went from one test into another.

Before I could gather my thoughts and form a question, the nurse moved on to the second part of the wellness assessment: the Mini-Lab Reading. She handed me a silver cylindrical object that looked like it could attach to an iPod and make it fly (ok, so that’s a bit of a stretch, but it looks high-tech nonetheless). I was instructed to hold the silver tool “not too tight but not too loose, and don’t speak while it’s testing.”

The most fascinating part of the assessment happened in the next several seconds, during which red and green numbers flashed rapidly back and forth on the computer screen, and I stared intently as if I were waiting for lottery numbers to appear. The numbers stopped, and although I had no idea what the numbers mean I couldn’t help but try to soak up all the facts and figures flashing before me.

As if to read my mind, the nurse assured me that the doctor would be able to explain it all. She added, “It’s very similar to getting a blood/urinary laboratory test done, but of course without the needle.” Knowing I’d be better off asking the doctor, I nodded my head and sat silently as she put away all the wires and devices. As she closed the door, I checked my watch. My entire check-up was done in ten minutes! No gowns, no needles—could it really have been that easy?

Traditional Chinese Medicine
According to Nubla, the technology behind the Advanced Wellness System and the Mini-Lab Reading is based on concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine, particularly that of energy. “All cells of the body emit particular amounts of energy when it’s healthy, and this energy differs in a state of disease. The assessment system we use detects abnormal energy levels within certain systems of the body, indicating a need to focus on that particular system.” He emphasizes that while these assessments provide a great starting point for people looking to get healthy, they are by no means diagnostic. In other words, they’re not replacements for your primary care physician. “The results from these tests will indicate that something may be wrong within a certain system, but it still takes a doctor to integrate the patient’s medical history with the information from these tests to determine what exactly the problem is, and put together a complete clinical picture for the patient.”

After a few minutes, the doctor entered the exam room and handed me a printed report of my test results. Admittedly, I was far from eager to see and hear about the test results, as I had recently returned from a rather gluttonous and lazy vacation (I normally eat healthy and exercise three times a week). But to my surprise, the general analysis revealed excellent results. Energy, balanced. Metabolism, balanced. Mental State, balanced. Tendon/Bone, thyroid, and autonomic system—all balanced!

Not surprisingly, however, there were one or two areas of concern. For organ systems and particular organs rated as “weak”, the doctor proceeded to ask questions regarding family health history and current medical history—something all doctors do in any routine examination in order to form a complete diagnosis. “Whatever you’re doing to stay healthy, keep it up,” the doctor tells me. She wrapped up the appointment with some final recommendations for nutritional support as well as some supplements to “top me off,” so to speak. She walked with me to the reception area, and thanked me for coming.

As I turned towards the exit, I caught a glimpse of the shelves full of supplements and other wellness products. I quickly realized that despite her supplement recommendations the doctor did not try to push the sale of their products. I appreciated the gesture of leaving it up to me to find whatever products I wanted, whenever and wherever I wanted. It was a humbling reminder that at the end of the day, it is only me—not the doctors—who is in charge of my health and wellbeing.

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