Eastern Medicine


(Yunnan Province, China)

It is here where the holistic mind resides.  It is the ever changing energetic and  dynamic relationship between the strong steadfast majestic mountains, the cleansing and nurturing waters; flowing over vast landscapes to sustain life as it moves through time within the phases of the moon and the cosmic influences.

It is within this metaphoric, poetic beauty that we find ourselves and our connection with our spirit, mind and body to all that is.


Our body and the workings of our physiology are constantly interacting with the environment around it, within it and beyond it. We use the term Eastern medicine, due to the origin of its geographical position and the ancient healing arts that came from the Asian cultures.

The basic fundamental principles in Eastern medicine are Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that includes acupuncture, medicinal herbs, massages, food therapy, meditation and movement practices. It is one aspect of the holistic, complementary approach to overall wellness.


When we consider modes of healing we think in reference to the imagery of the Tree of life. Where the branches and the leaves are the structure and functions of the organs and systems; the trunk being the entire body that holds it together and upright; and the roots are the foundation to supply and sustain the tree with which it needs to grow, and flourish.

Every part of the tree is dependent upon the other parts for the optimum expression of itself.


Symptoms are how our body speaks to us to tell us that “something” is wrong. It does not tell us “what” is wrong. So if we treat just the symptoms, we will only obtain temporary relief and the “what’s” wrong part will have a tendency to move deeper and wider into our physiology until, like a child who starts off with a tug on our pants for attention evolves into an uncontrollable, inconsolable tantrum; and we experience a complete all systems break down.

We must address the entire tree, and there are a variety of ways in which we do that.


Acupuncture is the ancient practice of placing fine needles into acupoints along the energetic meridians of the body. It facilitates the gateway to healing by moving energy or Qi, affecting blood flow and the release and production of biochemical and cellular responses. It helps to re-establish balance while creating analgesia, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Read more about this in the Sands of Thyme Blog. CLICK HERE.


Plants sustain us by giving us oxygen and healing. Every living organism uses plants to heal and support them in one way or another. The use of plants for health and healing for humans can be dated back to Paleolithic times and throughout many ancient and indigenous cultures.

Medicinal plants are a gift from the earth and have been used by every society including the Shamans of indigenous tribes, the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ayurveda practices in India, TCM in China, Greek and Roman philosophers and many other herbal enthusiasts and nature observers throughout modern history.

Singular herbs and herbal formulas were designed to treat specific conditions, through the understanding of the condition and the behavior of the herb as it applies, based upon the teachings of medicinal botany.

All substances have the potential to be beneficial or harmful; it all depends upon the understanding and the nature of the plant and the proper way to use it.

Plants are an intimate part of our existence.

Before using an herbal preparation for yourself or your pet it is important to seek professional council from someone with advanced training and knowledge.


I can’t say enough about the benefits of touch. Touch is one of our innate five senses. The use of touch in various forms of therapy have been identified to relieve stress, alleviate pain, reduce heart rate and blood pressure, boost immunity and temporarily create an altered sense of time and space.

Massage therapy is defined as the application of specific hand movements on a patient to improve muscle and joint function by relieving tension, spasm, or other restrictions to proper motion. It can be used for warm-up purposes, for relaxing or stimulating muscles in order to prevent injury, or for rehabilitation of a patient after an injury has occurred.

Massage is also used to facilitate changes in impaired circulation by augmenting the normal flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. Finally, massage is used to stimulate the function of various internal organs through local portals of access, termed trigger points and/or acupressure points.

Our desire to touch animals and for them to be touched is an innate predisposition. As opposed to the simple “petting”, therapeutic touch or massage as a form of rehabilitation has been shown to be highly beneficial.

A few of the more common techniques include trigger-point massage, craniosacral therapy, acupressure, tui-na, friction massage, myofacial release and passive range of motion therapy. Some of these techniques require special training and improper use of a technique in certain situations can have a tendency to worsen the condition.


What we put in our bodies is the fuel it uses for metabolic processes to occur. Diet for people spans across many cultures and can depend upon geographic indigenous sources and availability. The culinary arts lend itself to creativity and the diverse and expansive palatable tastes.

Diets for animals have always best been viewed as feeding a species appropriate highly bio-available diet.

Read more about this in the food and nutrition section. CLICK HERE.


The act of meditation brings us into a deeper state of knowing. It is the practice of quietly going within and connecting with ourselves and our innate intuitive intelligence. There are many words that one uses to describe divine connection, there is no right or wrong. The practice of meditation helps to train our attention and awareness. Mindfulness is bringing ones attention to experiences into the present moment without judgment.

There are various techniques and teachings around meditation, and the one that you choose is the one that is right for you.

Gazing into the eyes of your beloved animal friend; dog, cat, horse, or even lizard is a form of mediation. It is a place where we can get “lost” or disengage from the outside influences and “found” or engage in our own heart space.

Our animals have the ability to be in their hearts and communicate with us through feelings and imagery.

Read more about this is my Sands of Thyme BLOG. CLICK HERE


Physical bodies were designed for movement. The purpose of the skeleton is for structure and support and the muscles to facilitate the movement. How we move is up to us. The body is not just something that was designed to carry our brain from the places our minds want to go. It is important to use the body for the sake of the body.

Everyone’s level of activity is different; from the parkour, elite trained athlete to the slower paced stroller and meanderer; and to all that is in-between.

It doesn’t necessarily matter. What matters is that you move, and move every day. It is also important to prepare the body for movement by gently stretching, bending, and rotating the body parts. If you’re not sure why, all you have to do is look at a dog or cat getting up after a long rest and see what they do and how they move. It’s called “downward dog” for a reason.

Physical rehabilitation is an important practice in getting an injured or sick body back into wellness. Some techniques can be done at home while others are best done through a trained facility. There are varieties of reputable places that exist for animals.


Our bodies are essentially made of atoms and molecules, as such we are truly more energy than matter. As energy, we emit electromagnetic fields and we have the ability to affect these fields in various ways. Ancient and indigenous cultures have recognized this and use this in their healing practices.

Chakras – (the Sanskrit word for wheel) can be considered intelligent energy centers along the middle of our bodies that connect the meridians, nadis and other energetic channels in the body. These energy centers and channels are a part of our bio-field.

Our thoughts and emotions are a large part of creating the information that is in these fields. This coincides with the our Heart – Brain communication and the harmony and coherence we can create.

Healing through energy medicine uses various mechanisms and techniques that subscribe to the ancient teachings and modern understandings of our energy or bio- field physiology. These include healing touch, acupuncture, Reiki, Pranic touch, emotional release techniques and various other structured modalities. All are based upon love and our intentions to create healing.

Read more about this on the Heart Intelligence page. CLICK HERE.

Those are the moments when we are very grateful for the successes, trials and tribulations of Western Medicine.

Overall, health and wellness is truly a balance and integration of both Western and Eastern Medicine

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Dr. Barrie Sands is a veterinarian, healer, scientist, author, artist, and an international educator and speaker.

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