East or West, Japanese or Canadian, Traditional Medicine or Western Medicine – do I have to choose one way or another?
Hi, I’m Shinko and passionate about living a natural lifestyle!
Growing up in Japan, where I lived in a home of four generations under one roof, I learned to fill the age gaps and incorporate the diversities into my own identity. In other words, my life was a balancing act. As if I were a weaver, I created intricate layers of unique patterns mixed with old and new, traditional and modern. I learned to treasure the traditional things that were passed down through generations and the innovative ideas that had been introduced from overseas.
Soon after moving to Canada to advance my education and cross-cultural understanding, I started struggling with my newfound identity. As I learned the new language and North American culture, I began to lose touch with my mother tongue and a traditional part of my cultural identity. Although I became more westernized inside, needless to say, my outward appearance didn’t change. As much as I longed to stay unique and neutral, I felt I was expected to belong to one way or the other. Polarized emotionally, I considered myself as neither Japanese nor Canadian.
Not only language and culture were different in North America, as well as the type of approach many used for their healthcare. Back home in Japan, Kampō Medicine, of which roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine, was used for overall health. We used Kampō herbs for minor mishaps and non-medical emergencies since we knew they were safe, effective and without side effects. Kampō Medicine is fully integrated into the modern health care system over there as well as Western Medicine.
Here in Canada; however, I found out that traditional medicine was not regarded as reliable as Western Medicine. Although, as much as I trusted the ability of Western Medicine to treat and heal people, I also knew the limits and potential risks of pharmaceutical drugs on our health. For example, the excessive use of antibiotics can lead to the birth of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in our bodies. I started questioning if there was anything as effective to combine the two medical approaches. I believed there was a way to combine wisdom and knowledge from the Eastern and Western worlds, not only in the healthcare industry but also in my own identity.
East and West finally met and emerged when I got married and had two beautiful children with my husband, British Canadian. Right around the time, I was introduced to Therapeutic Essential Oils. The concept of utilizing medicinal herbs in liquid form seemed foreign to me at first. However, I soon realized the similarities between Essential Oils and Kampō Medicine in techniques, exercises and applications. I was also delighted to find out some of the fragrances reminded me of my home, which filled me with a sense of emotional belonging and security. Filtrated the barriers and filled the gap between Traditional Medicine and Western Medicine, East and West, Essential Oils became must-have staples in our household!
Being able to bridge the cross-cultural gaps with the help of my loving family and therapeutic essential oils, I no longer question my identity or the way I take the best care of myself. Since I have realized that I will never be entirely Japanese or Canadian, I don’t have to act one way or another. Instead, today I choose to bring out the best part of both cultures and provide value to those I love! With that thought, I have created an oily group in which people can embrace cultural diversities and integrative healthcare. So, join me and become a part of the oily community – a journey for your self-discovery and health starts right here –