• Ben McCrary

Why I chose to practice Chinese Medicine

As your acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Denton Alternative Medicine Center, I would like to talk to you a bit about my mission and why I chose this path to bring you Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was a long road to get here but I would like to tell you about it and why I am so passionate about practicing this medicine.

Since I was 12 years old, pretty much the only thing I cared about in life was playing music. I started learning the guitar and playing in bands with my friends. Eventually that passion lead me to begin studying music at Collin College who had a very well-known Classical Guitar Program. My future in music was bright. I was awarded an Emerging Scholar award for music theory, several scholarships, competed and placed in several guitar competitions, and received recognition for music theory and guitar.

As my time at Collin College was ending, and I was working on repertoire for auditioning at several schools around the country, something didn’t feel right. I would say that the idea of doing something that I hold sacred, music, as a job was losing its appeal to me. I wanted to play because I wanted to, not because I had to. Not to mention I had a growing interest in holistic health that kept growing.

To understand this we will have to backtrack a little, when I had graduated high school I was very overweight and unhappy. My number one goal in life was to make the bigtime with my band. We were just getting out of high school and really wanted to take music seriously. One of the aspects of being more serious, on my end, was to lose weight in order to better present myself. Over the course of a couple years, I was able to lose over 70 pounds, and in doing so I developed a love of running, an interest in nutrition, and a rekindled interest in martial arts, which was my first passion in life before I found music.

I had a bandmate who holds a black belt in a style of Karate called Uechi-Ryu (pronounced way-chee ri-yu) and he got me to start learning. At its foundation is a form called San-Chin that was an ancient Chinese health and martial arts form. It is a form of Qigong (pronounced chee-gong). Qigong means working with Qi, primarily through breathing exercises and movements to strengthen the body, and to integrate the mind, body, and breath. At this time, I also started reading Kung Fu/Qigong magazine that promoted martial arts and qigong, as well as some of the health remedies from Traditional Chinese Medicine that are closely related with Chinese Martial Arts.

The pinnacle of this interest, however, came from a movie. I know it’s a little silly but it really had a big impact on me. The movie was a Hong Kong martial arts/comedy movie called Iron Monkey about a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine who by night uses his skills as a Kung Fu master to rob from corrupt government officials and give to the poor and starving people of his town, similar to Robin Hood. This movie introduced me to many of the traditional treatments that we currently use at Denton Alternative Medicine Center!

So here I was at a crossroads in my life. I needed something different and yet playing guitar was the only thing up to that point which I had really put forth years of effort, or the only thing I knew I could do well either! It sounds really insane, as I am writing this, that I was going to give up something in which I had a pretty good future, and that I loved over the influence of a movie!

But what I came to realize was that the stage of my life where I lost weight, learned about nutrition, and rediscovered martial arts had made me a new person. It gave me such confidence and such a sense of well-being that I have not been unhappy, like I was before this time of my life, since. I was able to successfully change my life for the better with the help of these ideas of health instilled in both Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts. Looking back on it now, the positive changes I made in my life during this time helped me to convert music from a teenage passion into something I actually had a future in as well! I applied the aspects and discipline I learned from the ancient Chinese way of health to my music and achieved much more than I had before.

In retrospect, this was the best decision I’ve ever made. I have since earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a minor in Japanese and Chinese. I have been able to earn a Master’s degree in Acupuncture and Oriental medicine and an Instructor Rank in Ving Tsun Kung Fu. The things I gained from the philosophy of health and wellness in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Martial Arts have changed, and continue to change my life for the better. I can’t hold something like that to myself. I have to share it. I believe wholeheartedly that the best way to share this with you is through being a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.

Whether it’s to help you with pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia, allergies, getting over a cold, or whatever you may need, I believe the strength in this philosophy of health and wellness, from Traditional Chinese Medicine, has the power to change lives and to change communities! It has made all the difference in my life and it is my hope that it will make all the difference in yours!

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