What is it that makes us get sick? Many years ago there was a painkiller commercial on TV that showed a big hammer hitting someone in the head. The hammer stopped whacking him when he took the right pill. That’s the picture most of us grew up with, that disease and bad health are things that just happen to you, and if you take the right drug (or get the diseased parts cut out) you will miraculously become well. Cause was never even considered. But there must be a cause other than bad luck or lousy genes. The fact is that diseases usually start because of a breakdown of the function of one or more parts of our bodies. Although it can relate to genetics, trauma, infection, or poison, often this breakdown of function happens because of inappropriate or suboptimal lifestyle choices we have made, and continue to make, or that are made for us.
The viewpoint that illness comes about from poor lifestyle choices leading to altered function marks a contemporary resurgence of ideas long held by various traditional healing systems. Dictionaries define health as a “state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity,” or a “condition of wholeness, in which all of the organs and systems of the body are functioning at 100% efficiency, all of the time.” This echoes the traditional idea that health is the natural state of balance and harmony that exists within each of us, when we are living in harmony with our environment. In this view, illness is a departure from this normal state, and we get sick only when we become susceptible because we have made choices that are not appropriate for the rules of biology, which have led to altered function and lowered our resistance, allowing disease to occur.
If indeed health is our natural state, then illness must be caused by obstacles that inhibit the body’s natural healing capabilities. These obstacles to healing are the causative factors of illness. They are trauma, deficiency, pathogenic factors such as toxicity and infection, and stress. Not only can these factors alter the function of our body systems; they can change our structure and function at the molecular level, and limit our activities and the enjoyment of our lives. These causative factors can affect us on the chemical, structural, energetic, mental-emotional, or even transpersonal level. When trauma, deficiency, pathogenic factors, and stress affect us, our immune and regulatory systems work to overcome them, and restore our natural balance of harmonious function. If we are unable to restore balance, our function breaks down, and we get sick
This understanding of health and illness leads to different types of treatment than you may be used to. Medical doctors prescribe drugs when you are sick, which are designed to shift your chemical balance toward normal. Unfortunately, in addition to their hoped-for action, drugs can have undesirable, sometimes harmful side effects. And, since most drugs are unnatural chemicals that our bodies were not designed to deal with, they can add to our toxic burden and need to be broken down and eliminated. Most importantly, drugs almost always work by covering up our symptoms without correcting the underlying problems that led to the symptoms in the first place. For instance, patients with allergies are often given antihistamine drugs, which shrink and dry out their nasal membranes, lessening their symptoms. But the allergies didn’t come from an antihistamine deficiency, any more than headaches come from an aspirin deficiency. The allergies had to come from some abnormal response of their immune system, which if it could be fixed, would be a better solution to allergies.
The philosophy of giving drugs to change symptoms is actually based on the idea that your body, when sick, is broken down and out of control, and has lost the ability to correct itself. Once you accept that this is true, you have no choice but to buy into the idea that you will need doctors to take over your health, often prescribing drugs which are expected to be taken for the rest of your life. Natural health care practitioners feel that your body is fundamentally smart, and capable of correcting itself in response to a nudge in the right direction, rather than fundamentally stupid or flawed and requiring ongoing medical management. We feel that, although there are some times when crises happen and we all need short-term or even long-term medical intervention, in many cases we are capable of excellent and remarkable self-healing if we are given what we need, that is, if the obstacles to our healing are removed, and if we are supplied with the things and conditions that our bodies require.
We will do our best to help you with removing the obstacles that are keeping you from your inherent ability to heal yourself and creating optimal, radiant wellness.