Monday, January 9, 2012

The Process of Healing

A colleague of mine from California, named Yehuda Frischman, L.Ac., has written some wonderful essays that I have enjoyed very much.  It is with his permission that I post one his essays here on my blog.

The Process-part 1

Just as my previous blog may not have been viewed as politically correct
by some, perhaps many people, this article may be even more so.

Most of us have grown up considering ourselves as basically healthy and
functional, and when we do get sick, we have been taught by our parents
and society as a whole to view illness and disease as an assault which
must be repelled, in order for us to continue to function normally. And
the results had better be quick, because we have neither the time nor
money to waste! If this entails taking medicines to suppress symptoms,
then, of course, that's what we should do. If we are weakened and can't
figure out what's wrong with ourselves, then we must go to the doctor, and
have him identify what is attacking us, for there must be something
wrong!: either a bacterial pathogen, a virus, some kind of a fungus, or
maybe, even, G-d forbid, some kind of auto-immune disorder. If he can't
figure out what's wrong, then maybe we're delusional, depressed or
suffering from some other kind of psychological disorder, and he will
probably refer us to a psychologist to help us "talk" about how bad we
feel, or a psychiatrist to give us drugs to help us feel happy!

I tell you, though, with absolute certainty, that this "process" has
engendered a society in which superficiality, quick fixes and anesthesia
are endemic. We have an economy and a health care system that is bankrupt,
and despite the fact that more and more money is being thrown at it, it
gets worse and worse, more and more out of control, both the health care
system, itself, and its victims, us. And unfortunately, millions and
millions of people, yes the vast majority of society accepts the mantra,
that the doctor knows best, that he has our best interests in mind, that I
must vaccinate my children and myself to prevent diseases from attacking
us, and if I do get sick and they are not able to cure me, then it must be
my fault.

Well, I take a different approach, and view illness and disease, whether
physical, emotional, mental or even spiritual, completely differently. In
this this two-part article I would like to consider this other, different
"process".

The Process-Part 2
A first consideration, which not always, but often is ignored by Western
biomedicine, and society as a whole, is the question of why?--What is the
pathogenesis of the illness, what caused it to happen. This question of
etiology, though perhaps of interest to the Western physician, is less
relevant to him, than determining or putting a name on the disorder, a
diagnosis, so as to determine how to attack it. But does it make sense to
treat 10 people who have the same illness, but who all have had different
relevant accompanying symptoms, have different constitutional body types,
and have had different life experiences leading up to their illness,
should they be treated the same? The Western biomedical answer, is
generally yes.

My answer is emphatically, no, and the explanation of this answer is the
antidote to the illnesses that Western medicine has been unable to cure,
and the illnesses to society in general that I spoke of earlier.

As I have written before, the key to health is balance. Getting sound,
peaceful, adequate unbroken sleep, and at the right time; eating the right
amount and the right kinds of food, eating frequently enough, being in the
right frame of mind while eating, viewing eating as a spiritual experience
(and not a necessary evil), and not multi-tasking while eating; having
adequate exercise of the right kind, the right amount and at the right
time of day; and being engaged in activities which one enjoys, which make
one happy, which nurture a sense of well being, which foster a
connectivity, to oneself, to one's loved ones, to society and to one's
Maker: These are the ways for one to maintain balance. Yet,to allow
oneself to become depleted, hungry, tired, or in pain, is to foster
imbalance. Even worse, to force to body to continue to function when it
reaches to point of dysfunctionality, is to exacerbate this imbalance.
View the body like an investment bank account: In order for one's account
to grow, (ie. building up one's health) one must maintain some principal.
When we deplete the principle of our body, we compromise our balance and
our health. But even worse, when we tap into our overdraft (using
adrenaline, stimulants or substances which block our pain), we pay very
high interest to recover the damage that we have done, paying back for a
much longer time than the short term pleasure we experienced by tapping
into our overdraft, which allowed us to keep going. Any thinking person
would consider it madness the price that we pay, and yet, who doesn't do
it? And ultimately, the price is chronic degenerative illness, and
premature death. A very expensive price indeed.

The real problem, though, is that so many of us wake up when it's already
very late, when we finally realize that our dis-ease is not a microbe, but
is instead a severe imbalance. This realization is the first step on the
way back to balance. But, again, it can be a long process, an expensive
process, a painful process, a process that engenders loneliness and
self-doubt as one hears from friends, family, neighbors, religious
leaders, even spouses, that "what are you doing? you're spending all this
money, you're eating strange food, and you're just as tired and sick as
you were before!" Yet the key is to look within. The wise person will
daily talk to one's Maker, out loud, and review what one has done and how they
feel. Those who have the wisdom to do this will clearly recognize that
they are getting better, much better! And they know, and they are correct
in knowing, that the day will come if they are patient, when they will
feel like a curtain has been lifted off from them, and they will feel
strong, happy, balanced and whole, for maybe the first time in their
lives! This is the process that I encourage my patients to take.

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