In late 2013, I was diagnosed with cancer. I went through seven months of intensive radiotherapy and chemotherapy to beat the disease, but naturally, given the invasive and unrelenting nature of these types of treatments, I still contend with lingering health issues to this day.
Given the significant impact this has had on my life, I wanted to take a more proactive approach towards my own health and wellbeing. However, there was an absence of direction from my doctors and specialists, as the approach of Western medicine is usually reactive towards symptoms, rather than proactive towards healing and wellness.
This being the case, I took the initiative and looked to educate myself, formally and through self-education, and also sought out alternative approaches to medicine and healing.
It was through a workshop on organic gardening (of all things!) that I met Tania Grasseschi. Tania is a registered acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist with over 15 years of clinical experience, currently operating out of a practice in Kingsford, Sydney.
I booked in to see Tania and have felt some great results with various aspects of my health, and she's also been extremely helpful in expanding my knowledge in all things TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine).
She was kind enough to agree to an interview, so please enjoy the chat with Tania, and stay tuned for more wisdom and insights from her in the future!
H3: Firstly, I'd like to welcome and thank you for contributing to our blog, Holistic Human Health! As I've outlined briefly for the audience already, we met through rather coincidental circumstances! Can you please expand on your background and profession in further detail for the audience?
TG: Before Chinese medicine, I spent 15 years working in the corporate world as an engineer. Stress and ill health were my regular companions. It was through discovering Chinese medicine that I learned to better understand my mind, body and spirit.
By receiving treatments and making changes to my diet and lifestyle, I was able improve my health and energy levels to the point where I found my passion and went back to study.
I studied Shiatsu massage and wholefood counselling as well as Chinese Medicine. In 2004, I graduated from UTS (University of Technology Sydney) with a Bachelor of Health Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I now love working with Chinese medicine because it is such a wonderful balance of the science of medicine and the art of healing, and I've been helping my clients achieve optimal health and cope with the stresses and strains in their lives.
H3: For our audience, are you able to provide a crash-course summary of the philosophy behind Chinese medicine and acupuncture?
TG: The wisdom of Oriental Medicine lies in its wholistic approach to health.
Did you know that there are 8 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine?
1. Acupuncture (including Moxibustion, Cupping, and Gua Sha; i.e. scraping)
4. Massage (including Tui Na, Do-In)
5. Exercise (including Qi Gong, Tai Chi)
7. Feng Shui
It is by addressing these eight branches at various levels that you can relieve your symptoms and release underlying causes of many conditions, thus restoring the energy you need to live a fulfilling life.
H3: In terms of medicine and approaches to medicine/medical treatment, most people will immediately think of Western approaches and pharmaceuticals. Can you describe how Eastern medicine is similar and how it is different to the mainstream approaches?
TG: Western medicine is great. It is great at diagnosis and great at treating many acute conditions. However, I have a number of issues with Western medicine’s attitude and approach to chronic problems, sub-clinical problems and illness prevention.
Western medicine tends to be illness-based rather than health-based. If your blood works are within a “normal range”, then there is nothing wrong with you, no matter how you actually feel.
However, more and more, we are finding that 'normal' for some is not so for others. Many illnesses also take years to develop and there are often plenty of warning signs along the way that could have been addressed but often aren’t.
Western medicine appears to have a one-size-fits-all approach to some diseases. Some drugs help some people with a disease but not all people with that disease. While they might consider it 'hit and miss' – how often have you been to a doctor and when one medicine doesn’t work they don’t really know why but give you another to try?
Some pharmaceuticals are quite cold in nature, like antibiotics, others are quite warming. If a patient is cold in nature, what we would call 'yang' deficient, then cold pharmaceutics don’t tend to be helpful. Likewise, a hot patient won’t respond well to hot medicines.
Western medicine appears to have a Band-Aid approach to illness. The signs and symptoms are treated but the root of the problem is often not addressed. You have chronic tonsillitis, then take out your tonsils rather than exploring why they might be so big or chronically affected!
Western medicine also does not give nutrition the emphasis that it deserves. How we nourish ourselves will have a huge impact on our health, good or bad, depending on our diet and our ability to digest.
While concepts like "yin yang" and the 5 phases (i.e. wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) may appear to be a strange way of looking at things, it actually helps to understand the big picture and keep everything in perspective.
Is an individual hot or cold? Are they deficient or in a state of excess – do they need nourishment to feel better or does some pathogen need to be drained
H3: We have a similar view towards holistic health and how it's perceived in modern society. What compelled you to want to share your wisdom through Holistic Human Health?
TG: I love sharing my knowledge and currently also teach Chinese Medicine at Endeavour College of Natural Health, to the next generation of Chinese Medicine practitioners, who love to work with gynaecology, dietetics and paediatrics.
I love to empower others to be better able to look after their own health. This is the reason why I teach at college, workshops and webinars and also write blogs!
H3: What sort of topics can our audience expect to hear from you in the future?
TG: Outside of the many facets of Traditional Chinese Medicine, some of my favourite areas to discuss are dietetics, the mind-body connection and women’s health.
H3: In the meantime, how can our audience find you?
TG: I currently operate from a practice in Kingsford, Sydney, and can be reached through my website Oriental Wisdom.
Thank you for reading and thanks to Tania again for taking the time with this interview!
If you would like to get in touch with Tania directly, see contact details as follows:
Address: Suite 2/372-388 Anzac Parade, Kingsford, 2032, Australia
Phone: (02) 9188 5150
If you have any questions, thoughts, queries, comments or suggestions, please feel free to get in touch with Tania directly or leave a note below!
Strive to live, live to strive.