During the Spring and Autumn Period of China (about 700 BCE), King Wen of Wei Province asked his renowned court physician Bian Que, who was one of three physician brothers, who was most skilled among the siblings.
Bian Que, having come from a long line of skilled physicians, pondered the question for a moment then replied:
“My eldest brother is best, second brother second best, and I am the least skilled.”
King Wen was confused and asked: “If this is so, why are you the most famous, then?”
“My eldest brother is the most skilled”, replied Bian Que, “He has the ability to see and treat diseases before they ever occur or show symptoms. Unfortunately it is difficult for most people to recognize how much he has actually helped them, therefore his fame is kept within our family.
“My second brother is next most skilled – He treats diseases in the early stages, and cures them quickly. As a result, people only think he is capable of treating minor illnesses. Regardless, he is famous in his Village for his skill.
“I only treat patients once the disease has become serious and life-threatening. People see me perform surgery and dress wounds and think I am the best because they believe I can perform miracles. That is why I am well known across the entire country.”
In essence, prevention is preferable to corrective action. Simple and gentle corrective action is preferable to surgery.
In our modern age, we are taught to ignore pain and discomfort. These are warning signs of disharmony within the body. If the minor complaints are addressed early, the harmony of the body is restored, complaints resolve quickly and do not develop into full-blown diseases.