Nutritional Healing, Roots of the Crisis
Nutritional Healing, Roots of the Crisis
Everything in nature has been synthesized, modified to work faster.
All we owe progress to has come from observing nature and how it heals and survives, no lives. The earth is alive, at it’s core, natural internal combustion, hence our combustion engine. Bridges are built after the tactile strength of spider webs.
There is still so much undiscovered. Why in the world would something be that there is not a use for in sustaining life. If not directly. then in the indirect/direct chain that is ecology.
There was not alternative medicine, it was healing medicine, it was what was handed down through ages. And it worked. It healed, sustained gave vitality.
The underlying concepts of alternative medicine are not new. They represent a return to the principles that have been part of human understanding of health and disease for thousands of years. Over the centuries, medical wisdom evolved within a framework which linked health to a state of harmony or balance, and disease to a state of disharmony or imbalance, and took into account the factors that contributed to both.
“The genius of the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, was not in the drugs he used or his diagnostic skills,” points out Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. of Sebastopol, California, “but in his insight that the elements which were needed to produce and maintain health were natural, and that they included hygiene, a calm balanced mental state, proper diet, a sound work and home environment, and physical conditioning. In addition, he recognized the life forces that pervade all of nature, and which have multiple expressions—some known, some theorized, and many unknown. He taught that health depended upon living in harmony with these forces.” Recognition of these life forces is also vital to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic medicine from India.
A Dangerous Detour
In the mid-nineteenth century, following the discovery of disease-causing microbes, a departure from this philosophy of health occurred due to rival theories concerning the cause of disease. One theory was that infecting microbes called germs (viruses, bacteria and fungi) were the cause of illness. The opposing theory maintained that these microbes only became infectious if conditions inside the body were right for them. According to this theory, by keeping the internal environment of the body healthy, these potential agents of infection will remain dormant.
When the germ theory of disease became dominant, the birth of contemporary medicine, with its emphasis on infectious causes of diseases rather than physiologic balance or harmony, occurred. This provided medical science with the opportunity to greatly expand its role in the treatment of illness. This was followed by the rapid development of microscopy, bacterial cultures, vaccines, x-ray, and in the 1930s the discovery of antibacterial drugs such as penicillin and sulfa drugs. However, the more that medical science embraced the germ theory of disease, the more it also superseded the individual’s role in his or her own health.
The Purpose of Medicine: War or Repair?
The thrust of 20th century medicine can be described by the metaphor of war. Disease is considered an invasion by an enemy and treatment is aimed at developing “magic bullets” in the form of drugs and vaccines to eliminate that enemy. We have seen, for example, a failed “war on cancer,” a proliferation of antibiotics, and a growing number of surgical procedures, cell-killing radiation treatments, and chemical medications (such as chemotherapy), all of which do harm to the body, in one form or another, in their attempts to restore health. Lost in this approach is the concept of repairing the imbalances which allow the illnesses to occur in the first place. Medical science has become one-sided in its focus, increasingly losing sight of the whole person in its attempt to treat the body’s individual parts.
Because the emphasis of conventional medicine remains upon war and not repair, it has led to the organization of medical schools with their various departments, such as cardiology, neurology, dermatology, orthopedics, psychiatry. This forces students to focus their study on one organ system at a time, as if each bodily organ functioned independently of all the others. This diverts attention away from the intrinsic interrelatedness of all parts of our body and the complex dynamism of life forces. It’s no wonder that our “modern” doctors understand so little of holistic concepts of health.
Why Are We Ill?
Health is far more than the absence of disease. When we are healthy all our bodily systems and functions are harmoniously balanced and integrated with each other, and we are also in balance with our environment. In this state of equilibrium our defense mechanisms and our immune system can efficiently handle most of the hazards that life presents, whether these are pathogenic (disease-causing) organisms, toxic substances, or stress factors of various kinds.
Foundations of Health
According to Dr. Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O. of London, England, positive health depends upon three factors, which are interconnected. The first of these is the body’s structural system, including all of the muscles, bones, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and organs and their functions. The second factor is the body’s biochemical process, which involve the absorption and utilization of nutrients, and the elimination of wastes, along with the complicated biochemical relationships which are the key to cellular function and health. The third factor comprises the mind and emotions, as well as the spiritual dimension of each person. “When there is a balanced, energetic interplay between these three components we have health,” Dr. Chaitow says. “But when imbalances exist within any of these factors, or in their relationships with each other, ill-health occurs.
In a state of health, if we cut ourselves, we heal. If we are bruised, strained, or suffer a broken bone, healing starts immediately. If we are exposed to infection our immune system deals with it. These examples are illustrations of the body’s natural tendency towards repairing itself. This tendency is known as homeostasis, the maintenance of the body’s internal organs and defenses to compensate for external health hazards.
When homeostasis is called into play to handle a “crisis,” its activity is usually experienced as “symptoms.” For example, when you exposed to an infection your body will mount an aggressive defensive response which might result in fever. Or, should you injure yourself, the healing process which starts immediately might involve inflammation and swelling of the traumatized area. In other words, under normal conditions, the body will attempt to heal itself without help, and the symptoms produced will indicate what sort of healing process is going on. Unfortunately, many people, including all to many physicians, rather than respecting these homeostatic processes and simply waiting for them to finish their tasks, will actively try to suppress the symptoms of self-repair, whether this be a raised temperature or inflammation in an injured area. When this occurs, we are in effect saying that we know more than our body’s innate intelligence about what is good for it.
In order to maintain good health, therefore, it is important to recognize that many symptoms are actually evidence that healing is underway, and that, unless they are actually unbearable or dangerous, the symptoms should be left alone so that the repair processes can be completed.
The Return to Health
The vast majority of illnesses are self-limiting, meaning that they get better all on their own. Alternative medicine recognizes this fact, realizing that health will usually arise spontaneously when the conditions for health exist. Therefore, once you are ill, getting healthy again requires the very same inputs that were needed to keep you healthy in the first place.
This may seem obvious but it’s a message worth restating. As Dr. Chaitow says, “To regain health once it has been lost we need to begin to reverse some, and ideally all, of those processes which may be negatively impacting us, and over which we have some degree of control. This includes taking responsibility for stopping those lifestyle choices which we know are harmful, whether this be smoking, excessive alcohol intake, or using drugs. In addition, we need to start to positively address the real needs that such behavior masks.”
Depending on the nature of our health problems, this might involve starting to eat more nutritiously, sleeping and exercising in a more regular and balanced way, and making sure of receiving reasonable exposure to fresh air and sunlight. It may also include hygienic considerations, detoxifying and cleansing our bodies, addressing any structural or mechanical imbalances, as well as learning how to properly cope with stress, and deal with our mental and emotional needs.
“That sounds like a vast prescription,” Dr. Chaitow says. “However, even if only some of it can be addressed, such as diet and relaxation, a remarkable phenomenon occurs as homeostasis begins to function more efficiently and health begins to return.” Our bodies are not designed to become ill, they are designed to heal and become healthy.
The return to health is a road which each person must walk according to his or her own unique individuality. It is also a road that needs to address one’s entire being, taking into account one’s mental, emotional and physical aspects, as well as the structural, biochemical and energetic components that shape each of us. It is precisely because alternative medicine honors and understands these concepts that it is now positioned to become a valuable and necessary pathway for meeting the medical crisis we, as a planet, are currently facing.
Burton Goldberg is a nationally-known advocate of alternative medicine. His introduction to the field began through an attempt to help resolve the health crisis of a close friend. This incident sparked an 18 year quest which took him to clinics and conferences around the world; an endeavor which has culminated with the publication of Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide, a 4-year, two million dollar project that assembes the knowledge and experience of nearly 400 hundred leading physicians and scientists in the alternative medical community. This book is available at bookstores and health food stores everywhere.