This article was previously published in the Western Canadian Newspaper and all rights are reserved. If you choose to copy and share please reference Coralie Raia’s Writing Road as the original source.
By Coralie Darsey-Malloy
When you buy a pill
and buy peace with it…you get conditioned to
cheap solutions instead of deep ones.
It is becoming increasingly evident that our health care system needs healing. In the past, modern health care has been largely devoted to pathology management of sickness caused by our own “civilized living.” This contemporary model has been built upon a contagion theory of disease. Within this paradigm, a supposed return to health is pursued through a ‘fight against harmful outside influences’ and the totality of the individual is left out. Emphasis is placed on diagnosing diseases by addressing patient’s symptoms. Within this diagnostic approach, the “owner” of the body and their part in the disease process is often excluded. Looking at illness from this perspective personal power and self-responsibility is often given over to the health practitioner rather than remaining with the individual.
I have been working in the communication field since the early eighties and my focus is health and wellness. I wear many hats literally and figuratively as a freelance writer, author, public speaker, life coach and group leader. There are continuing advancements and greater acceptance of complimentary and preventive health. There are increasing numbers who are seeking a more holistic approach to their health problems than settling for symptom relief.
The emerging consciousness in health and healing has a different framework for managing illness and disease. Allopathic medicine has a specific perspective and tends to approach disease as the enemy. This method creates an air of hopelessness and helplessness and asks the salient question “Why me?” As an alternative health, problems are viewed as something self-created by a lack of understanding about natural principles. It asks, “Why now, and what needs changing?” This approach is corrective, optimistic and empowering rather than antagonistic, overwhelming and fear-based.
True healing requires a multi-dimensional approach. Within new frontiers in health and healing, there is a convergence of body-mind-emotion-spirit and energy. This direction is epitomized by some new hybrid sciences with pioneers Candace Pert at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She spearheads research in the biology of emotions. Her approach is called psycho-neuroimmuology or PNI. She specializes in researching biological interaction within blood chemistry and the correlation with mind, emotion and beliefs influences physical health.
Others in this field include the Symington’s, and Dr. Bernie Siegel. They worked with cancer patients and discovered that neuron-peptides within the body are carriers of information. The concept within the biochemistry of emotions developed through studies that revealed how positive images and affirmations raised the immune system’s white blood cell count.
Studies with patients who were unwilling to accept cancer as a verdict coupled with strong determination to overcome their diagnosis had a higher survival rate that those who gave in to resignation. Pioneering doctors within the whole person healing movement have come to accept that seeming ‘miracles’ are often a direct result of the patient’s shift in consciousness. Physicians and psychological specialists report that in their experience catastrophic disease often serves as a call that patients need to examine other aspects of their life and how they had lived it prior to their illness. Those who are willing to consider the benefits of whole person healing methods provide new support for the body’s defense mechanisms. Every doctor admits that they do not heal the body…the body heals itself. The best any practitioner can hope to do is create the proper environment for that to occur.
In North American society mainstream medical practices of symptom relief and management has been at the forefront. However, it is still a relatively new modalities compared to healing systems of old. Chinese medical practices have a far greater record of success than the modern approach of treating symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of disease. In ancient China, physicians were paid to keep people well. When patients became ill…all reimbursements stopped until full health was restored.
Chinese doctors work with patients to restore balance and energy to the body so it can heal itself. Their approach was and still is very holistic. They teach patients the ‘art of living’ by encouraging balanced, accountable living, moderation in all things, sound nutrition, proper breathing, positive thinking and supplements only as needed. They use acupuncture as a means of creating proper energy flows within the innate life force or ‘chi’ within the body.
This is a radically different approach than the ones taken in modern medicine. This term is based upon the principle of counter-action: using medicines to impede or reverse unwanted symptoms. The preventative and holistic approach to health and healing is like an umbrella that includes a variety of methods. Instead of masking symptoms and ignoring root causes it looks for deeper and inter-related connections.
With the modern approach to intervention, it is similar to seeing a red light on the dashboard of a car. The mechanic chooses to sever the connecting wire, the light goes off, and the driver carries on in blind faith that ‘symptom relief’ has fixed the problem. However, we all know what kinds of crisis that occur down the road. Using medication to mask the symptom may work for a while…but eventually the problem will come back…because it never really went away. Within this approach, there is no need for thoughtful, accountable choice making because temporary discomforts have been assuaged.
The significant difference within whole person healing is that there is a call to living a more aware, accountable life and considering the consequences of choice every step of the way. Whole person healing emphasizes restoration of balance in every area of life and a willingness to give up, alter or exchange detrimental life patterns for those that will lead to health within body, mind, spirit, emotional and energy fields. Awareness, accountability, choice and consequence are the main co-factors within new frontiers in health and healing. It is up to each of us to decide what path will lead us where we want to be. Listed below are some of the key themes within each system:
ADVERSARIAL: Disease process is treated by symptom relief within terms that reflect adversarial nature: “military rhetoric used to describe problem: “germ warfare, attack, fight disease, battle against, build defenses, etc.”
DISEMPOWERMENT: Treatment is based on the professional’s mind-set. Outside authorities “manage” disease. Patients are expected to follow dictates without question. “Them” versus “us” approach. Alternative or holistic approaches usually discouraged and/or rejected.
EXTERNAL CAUSALITY: Disease-orientated approach. Focus is outside the patient, Viruses, bacteria, poisons, cellular degeneration, things ‘growing’ separation of mind- body-emotions-spirit.
INTERVENTION AND SUBSTITUTION: Drug therapy, injections, treatments are geared for interrupting, altering immediate reduction of symptoms. “Cures” are approached through labeling, controlling, reducing or destroying symptoms creating the disease rather than considering contributing factors that created it.
ATAVISTIC: Considerations to lifestyle, attitude stressors, family dynamics, body, mind, emotional states are usually excluded from the cause and effect of disease and health problems and illness of any kind.
DISASSOCIATION FROM NATURAL WORLD: Disease is viewed as an assault from outward influences with little consideration given to other contributing co-factors.
PREVENTATIVE AND WHOLE PERSON (HOLISTIC) APPROACH
PROACTIVE, PLURALISTIC: Emphasis is placed upon awareness, understanding, acceptance, self-reliance, prevention, education, informed choice making, fitness, and responsibility
BEHAVIORAL, INNER DIRECTED Illness and disease are a process and inseparable from the patient. Awareness develops about the co-factors of diet, livelihood, relationships, stress, attitude, habits, beliefs and their effect of health, well-being and quality of life.
EDUCATIONAL AND EGALITARIAN: Focus on long-term results and removal of root causes. Patient and professionals work together and emphasize awareness, accountability and action. Their aim is for long-term results through whole person healing and spirit-mind-body unity.
TRANSPERSONAL: Embracing loving relationships seek unity and support from others…spiritual awareness and search for universal dimensions in life. Practitioners are receptive to the healing power of love, prayer, pets, ceremony and life-affirming belief systems.
CORRECTIVE, CO-OPERATIVE, MULTI-OPTIONED: Seeks diversity of healing modalities from doctors, patients, therapists, families, support groups as therapeutic team members that work together. Thoughts, language suggests choice, empowerment, self-responsibility, unity and positive outcomes.
ENVIRONMENTAL: Includes the importance of clean, unpolluted air, water, food, and connection to the natural world. The fundamental premise of an environmental framework emphasizes the importance of balance and creating the environment for the body to heal. Rather than masking symptoms through artificial additives.