Climate Health is Personal Health

What is Sustainable Medicine?
Chinese medicine teaches that health arises from the harmony between people and nature. In texts thousands of years old, the wisdom of balancing rest and activity, eating with the seasons, exercising and maintaining emotional harmony was laid out, while herbs and acupuncture were used to correct imbalances that arose from the stressors of modern life. Modern life has come a long way since then, and humans are ever more out of balance with nature. The twin crises of coronavirus and climate change are transforming the way we live and adding to our collective eco-angst and concern over our own health.

My vision of sustainable medicine is an approach to healing that sees human health in the context of planetary health.
You might call it a bio-psycho-social-eco model of health.

Nutrition counseling is a cornerstone of my practice of internal medicine.
-The source of food, its method of preparation, and the mindset with which one eats are just as important as which foods are chosen.
-Preventing food waste is a core practice in my kitchen, and I have learned that parts of food often thrown away, like herb stems, carrot tops, and leek greens, are rich in nutrition and fiber that can feed the microbiome.

Appropriate exercise, restorative sleep and meditation are three foundational practices that keep the mind and body in harmony. For most people, using tinctures, decoctions, teas or pills of Chinese and Western herbs, or including herbs in cooking, is essential for vibrant health and optimal immunity. I work with clients to find ways of including herbs into their lives that are sustainable for them, that is, both ecologically sound and doable over time. In my clinical sessions at AIMC Berkeley, I offer acupressure, medical qi gong and acupuncture with eco-friendly needles by Acufast, which use less plastic and packaging than traditional needles.

This moment in history has brought home the ancient wisdom that personal and planetary health are inseparable. The way we live has global consequences and global issues affect our individual lives in profound ways. As a teacher of integrative medicine, my mission is to inspire the next generation of physicians to practice medicine in a sustainable way.

Nishanga Bliss, DAOM, D.Sc., L.Ac.

Read more from Nishanga on how flying affects our health, on the Flight Free USA blog.

Nishanga works with Sunrise movement, Sierra club, Climate Health Now, Flight Free USA, Turtle Island Restoration Network, and Lillium Initiative. Connect with Nishanga on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about her sustainability work.

Check out Nishanga’s recipes for supporting the gut biome, buy the book Real Food All Year, and check out upcoming classes.

To make an appointment for Chinese medical treatment or holistic nutrition counseling, call AIMC Berkeley’s clinic at 510.666.8248.
Appointments located at:
AIMC Berkeley
2550 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704