So many things I’ve learned about Chinese medicine I learned from my mom.
Her name is Xue-e Lin, and she goes by Lydia. She’s been a doctor – and a very good one at that – for nearly 40 years. She graduated from Fujian Chinese Medicine College in China, and I grew up surrounded by Chinese medicine.
For my entire life (and even still today), she always relates everything back to Chinese medicine. For example: If I’m upset, she’ll say, “Your liver qi is stagnant.” For a long time, I blew off her comments, but in retrospect, she was ingraining Chinese medicine into my brain. It all flooded back and made sense when I went to acupuncture school.
My education in Chinese medicine began as a child. Afterschool activities were none existent so tagging along with my mom in the hospital was my main activity. I spent much of my childhood sitting in medical rooms doing homework, reading a book or watching my mom treat patients (there are no HIPAA laws in China).
In Chinese medical schools, students are taught both Western and Eastern medicine. Many doctors integrated the two medicines together when treating patients.
My mom is the best herbalist I’ve ever known, and herbs for wellness were a normal part of our lives. My mom also taught me about food, always explaining why she was giving me something in particular: Black mushrooms are for kidneys; eggs are for spleen qi.
As a youngster, I thought I’d be just like her when I grew up. But things changed when we moved to America. I was 11 and wanted to be like all the other American kids, and here began a generational culture clash straight out of The Joy Luck Club (My mom, by the way, would totally be Waverly’s mom).
I instead followed in my dad’s footsteps, studying engineering in college. Meanwhile, my mom continued to practice Chinese Medicine. After she treated my carpal tunnel with acupuncture, I found I wanted to be a healer too. And looking back, I realize that I’m much more like my mother than I used to think.
I find myself teaching my daughter the same things about food, warning her about imbalanced qi and teaching her the pressure point to push for stopping hiccups. As a child, I observed my mom as a compassionate doctor in China, and today I pride myself on being invested in my patients and taking the time to care.
My parents moved to the Charlotte area this fall, and occasionally, my mom will pop into the office. Her specialties are pain management, pediatrics and menopause management. She’s one of my biggest supporters and still gives me great advice.
More and more, I find myself trying to emulate her, and through my work at Inner Peace, I’m overjoyed to know I make her proud.