Science and technology have given us the ability to test, study and pick-apart to the nth degree what affects our health and what supports it.
If you’re the type that likes to follow health trends, you’re also probably pretty cynical by now – no salt/low salt, well you do need some sodium, no eggs, only egg whites, nope, we got it wrong, eggs are okay, it’s fat you should worry about……… and on and on.
The diet that made your friend look smashing gave you headaches and depression.
The wonder drug for unexplained muscle pain worked, but now you have severe digestive problems. You’re wondering if you need to get a bigger medicine cabinet.
Everyday further studies debunk what we thought we knew yesterday – Trying to keep up on it all is overwhelming even for doctors, let alone for the average joe who has work to do, a family to support and a community to contribute to.
It’s no wonder I see some version of the following at least once a day as I troll the articles and comments of health related internet verbiage:
“I would like to fix (insert problem) but there is so much information and a lot of it is contradictory…….how do you know who to believe?”
Sorry, I don’t have any cut and dried answers – I’m still on the path to health myself, but I will share with you a story from a book my acupuncturist loaned to me, Sun Zi’s Art of War and Health Care:
Two men came to a doctor with similar symptoms. The doctor prescribed two totally different remedies for each and they both recovered. His apprentice, astonished at the wide variation in the prescriptions asked his mentor why he was treating them differently, when it was obvious they suffered from the same malady. The doctor told him that though the outside symptoms appeared the same, the imbalance within the patients was different – he sought to restore the balance in each, (heal) not just alleviate the symptoms (cure).
This approach was known, understood and effectively implemented over thousands of years in a variety of traditional health care systems.
(Did you know that in some areas of ancient China, a physician had to hang one lantern outside of his home for each patient he lost? Read it years ago and when I worked for a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, I asked if it was true. She said yes.
She also said that in small rural villages, such as the one her grandmother still lives in, the village physician is still held responsible for the health of all in the community. The physician observes the environment and directs his charges on what to do regarding cleansing their homes, teas to drink and foods to eat when weather patterns, bacteria or viruses indicate a need for extra protection. Villagers are expected to follow the directives. If they do and still become ill, the fault is laid at the physician’s door. If they disregard the preventative measures, then they are on their own. I will say this approach is focused on bolstering health, not curing illness.
I also think western medicine has tried to adopt this approach, but has been corrupted by our fascination with one-miracle-pill-fits-all mentality……….)
My rules of thumb for healing?
- Yes, I’ll take temporary relief when it’s offered, but I’m more concerned with finding the root cause of the discomfort. Sometimes that’s easier than others. Sometimes that means contacting one more provider when you’d rather just take to your bed and give up. Sometimes that means exploring a new kind of healing modality you haven’t tried before. And if you’re really sick, it means asking family or friends to fight/search for you.
- I only allow providers to “practice medicine” on me when the following caveat is given: “I’m not completely sure what is causing these symptoms. We will try this, if it doesn’t work, it will not do further harm. And if it does work, then we will know we found the cause.”
- I only work with providers I respect and trust. If I think you sound like a condescending baboon (and trust me, I’ve ran into just as many in the holistic health care field as in western medicine), and patronize me from your holier-than-thou pedestal, I’m probably not going to be very cooperative. No matter how good you are, if I can’t follow your directions, then we aren’t going to be successful in healing me.
- I also only work with providers who honor the fact that I want to be informed and participate in my own health care regimen. If they tell me taking extra vitamin C when I feel I’m coming down with a cold is a waste of time and money, I’m out of there. Doesn’t matter who is right – for now, our views on what heals are too different for a successful partnership to emerge.
- I only choose health care regimens that:
- a.)I can sustain, given my current time and money budget,
- b.) do not promise miracles,
- c.)are not greatly restrictive or border on the insane (drastic purges, regimens including extreme variances in body temperature, etc. If you’re already ill, extreme treatments may cure the disease but kill the patient…meaning you.)
- d.)do not require life-long maintenance from an outside source in the form of sessions, herbs, prescriptions or buying into auto-delivery every month.
- I try to get references whenever I can before visiting a new provider or trying a new self-care technique. If I can’t get references, then I write or call. If the provider is too busy to talk to me and answer some general questions over the phone, I surmise they are too busy to have another client.
- (Many holistic health care providers provide a Free Consultation (usually about 15 minutes). That is their gift to you. Please return the gift by coming prepared to the consultation with your health concerns, your questions about them and above all, be honest with them on what you are willing and not willing to do to support and participate in your healing. Honor the gift of time they have given you.)
In the end, I’m okay with practicing on myself – but I’ve gotten very picky about who I allow to engage in that practice with me.
If your response to this list is, “Duh – that’s just common sense!” I will state that when you are ill and trying to find answers, it’s all too easy to get distracted from common sense and lured in by those who may very well have a service or product that helped them and others, but may not necessarily be right for you. If you’re too ill to restrain from blind belief in whatever anyone tells you, get a family member or friend to assist you in your quest.
If you’re interested in more information regarding modalities/nutritional guidelines I’ve utilized in my health care, here are informational links from the sites/providers who have helped me over the years:
- FAQ about Acupuncture
- Chinese Herbology
- Healing vs. Curing
- Differences in Medical Practices
- What is Native American Healing?
- About Chiropractic Care
- Philosophy of Chiropractic Care
- Characteristics of Traditional Diets
- Know Your Fats
- What is EFT?
Here’s to Your Health!