Correction of Nutritional Imbalances: Traditional Chinese Approach

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Preliminary Study Plan

The constantly growing human impact on the natural environment presents major challenges to the public health. Great number of dangerous diseases are either triggered or aggravated by the nutritional imbalances, which are due to soil degradation, contamination of foods with harmful chemicals, as well as by lifestyle-related issues (Seelig & American College of Nutrition, 1977). The approaches used by Western medicine tend to address mostly the consequences, i.e. specific health problems, rather than the cause, which is the systemic impairment of human organism’s vital functions. As a result, the heath care systems in the West are predominantly treatment-oriented, while only very small fraction of total health care expenditure goes for prevention-related purposes (Commission of the European Communities, 2007; Kongstvedt, 2012). Therefore, a paradigm shift is needed in the area of health protection, which would include paying much more attention to the dietary issues because they constitute one of the key factors that determine the health condition of an individual. In this respect, the methods used since long ago by traditional Chinese medicine and, in particular, Chinese nutritional practices deserve a thorough study in order to achieve better protection of human health and increase in life expectancy.

Focus and Goals

Area of Study and Focus

Broad area of study: Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Focus: Correction of Nutritional Imbalances within the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Learning Goals

The learning goals include acquiring knowledge of methods and approaches used in the traditional Chinese medicine for prevention of diseases, studying ways to promote health and healing for individuals and communities through the use of better nutritional health systems, learning how to raise the dietary awareness in different communities in the cross-cultural context.

The above goals will be achieved by means of studying the curriculum, including such areas as holistic sciences, health philosophy, multicultural perspectives, nutritional health, integrative health systems, mind-body studies, ecopsychology, cross-cultural healing, and other disciplines as appropriate. A review of the relevant literature will be conducted in the field of traditional Chinese health philosophy and healing practices with the focus on nutritional aspects of health protection.

Recommendations will be made on how to integrate traditional Chinese dietary practices into Western lifestyles and how to promote nutritional literacy as part of general prevention-oriented self-care concept.

Skills and knowledge obtained as a result of the aforesaid learning and studies will be demonstrated in the thesis paper dealing with the issues of nutritional imbalances and the methods of their correction used in traditional Chinese medicine. The volume and structure of the thesis paper will be as required by the College administration.

The paper might be dedicated to supporting, if appropriate, the necessity to introduce certain dietary elements used in oriental medicine into our everyday health care practices.

The topics to be addressed in the thesis paper include:

  • description of the most common nutritional imbalances and their impact on the health condition supported by the relevant statistics,
  • environmental and lifestyle-related components of nutritional imbalance,
  • comparison of Western and Chinese health care philosophies,
  • traditional Chinese approach to the balanced nutrition as a means of disease prevention,
  • demonstrated effect of Chinese dietary supplements,
  • recommendations on the subject.

Bringing the Graduate MA Degree into the World

Living in the time of impressive growth of the wellness industry (Pilzer, 2001; Pilzer, 2007), I consider a career in that dynamic, rapidly developing sector, probably in the role of health consultant. My aspiration is to contribute to the healthier society where health protection will be based on the prevention of diseases rather than on the costly treatment procedures. As balanced nutrition plays crucial role in neutralizing harmful effects of poor environmental conditions on the human health, I believe that the acquired in-depth knowledge of effective nutritional systems, including the traditional Chinese one, will help me to achieve my professional and career goals.

I would also like to use this acquired knowledge to ensure better health and long active life for myself and the members of my family.

Process of Study

The methods of study to be used include attending the required class sessions, completing the relevant class work and home assignments, reviewing the literature related to the learning goals, analysis and interpretation of the relevant statistical data, written research projects if necessary, participation in available workshops and trainings focused on healthy lifestyles, oriental medicine, and nutritional health.

The above choice of the area of study and focus is based on the existing extensive scientific evidence demonstrating that correction of nutritional imbalances can either ensure the prevention or help in treatment of numerous diseases (e.g. Hefferon, 2012; Nelms, Sucher, Lacey & Roth, 2010). This is well known from the ancient times: e.g. the famous saying quoted, among many others, by McGuire & Beerman, (2012), “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food” (p. 3), is attributed to Hippocrates who lived about 460–364 B.C. Relatively recently the effectiveness of traditional Chinese nutritional practices has been internationally acknowledged (Campbell, Campbell II, Lyman, & Robbins, 2006; Kastner, 2008; Prout, 2000). Therefore these practices should be thoroughly studied and applied in order to cope with the consequences of current global health issues and challenges. Nutritional literacy should become one of the core elements of self-care. Such attitude shift would promote the public health and at the same time contribute to the limitation of health care expenditure, including both public spending and individuals’ insurance-related as well as out-of-pocket expenses.

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