Have you stopped and wondered why so little discussion of healing takes place in health care? To many Americans, healing and health in general have become like a foreign film without subtitles, just engaging enough to ensure that we pay attention if we have to, but complicated to the point that it borderline demands that someone within the field – not limited to doctors, mind you, in this day and age of well-rounded, forward-thinking practitioners of various types – be a translator of sorts, offering guidance to ensure that health care continues its grassroots movement toward a greater number of sick people truly getting well and the genuine reform and loosening pharmaceutical grip that will come with it.
Until greater change is made, the unfortunate truth for most people is that they are unlikely to learn much about health until they in some pronounced way become aware that they are no longer healthy. A basic understanding of healing is paramount for everyone, especially as we collectively inch toward a more proactive paradigm, but it is particularly meaningful for the person reaching the fork in the road and making a very important decision to, like Neo standing before Morpheus in The Matrix, accept the figurative red pill en route to a fundamentally different paradigm for regaining and sustaining health or to accept the blue pill and find out how deep the allopathic (traditional medical) rabbit-hole goes. Chronic illness and pain destroy more lives than all our other societal challenges combined and, when people have been through enough to learn that the most common solutions are often major parts of the problem, the path that they take at the fork in the road often becomes one of the defining moments in their lives.
Health is defined as a state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity; put in a simpler way, health is basically like wealth. When being educated about managing money, you are given the foundational knowledge that you cannot spend more than you have, as you will otherwise find yourself in a poor state of financial wealth, loosely defined as having a lot more than you spend. Your body is like a bank account, trillions strong cellularly and with an innate potential expressed to such a degree of ad nauseum that it is taken for granted; it has the ability to create new cells billions of times per day, not just replenishing the stomach lining every quarter hour or the liver cells every month and a half, but also repairing a broken cut in mere days and a broken bone in mere weeks. The most powerful and productive assembly line there has ever been, your body is fundamentally healthy, but enough debits even to a system that robust eventually take their toll.
Confusion surrounding the basics of wealth or health management similarly create chaos, the difference being that virtually everyone knows that a massive hit to their financial well-being can be offset with more earning, whereas the fact that unmanaged stress is regarded as the leading cause of disease and that the annual leading causes of disability, death, and missed work/school days are mostly preventable suggest that we societally lack the equivalent level of health education. No matter your diagnosis, in this day and age, the first suggested step to take on your so-termed road to recovery is prescription medication to subdue your symptoms, regardless of their cause and context. Your body has built in warnings about too many debits being taken from your health account, but from an early age we are taught to ignore these initial heads-up, suppressing them near-constantly until we inevitably are on red alert. Once that point is reached, it is not as easy to replenish the system, even when you finally know how.
New cells are made of the food you consume, so consistently poor nutrition debits frequently from your health; traumas occur that create short-circuits within your own internal network, weakening organ function, and accordingly debit consistently from your health too; those same traumas induce shifts in the physical frame that slowly but surely debit from your musculoskeletal system the ability to hold firm its structural integrity; sedentary lifestyles at work and at home prevent the muscle movement that the body requires (structurally and internally), further debiting from and exhausting the once vast natural resources highly intelligently designed for thriving, not just surviving; negative attitudes and living your life around fear sour your soul by filling your mind with garbage, debiting from your health not just mental energy and hope (and the cascade of consequent effects from a lack thereof), but also normal neurologic rhythm (due to the ensuing fight or flight response from the stress); environmental influences also take from the health account, as does a constant bombardment of the system via pharmaceuticals; the average American family pays $833 per month just for “health” insurance premiums, so there is also financial stress to be considered. The list of debits is enormous, but where are the credits?
When your health account is depleted indefinitely, you become unhealthy, no matter how good you may have felt before the debits mounted to the extent that you really noticed. Healing, not just to feel better but to actually be better, involves accepting the fact that you are often starting close to square one with a significantly drained account (or even worse yet in debt) and that you have to learn how to replenish it with the restoration of balance and function, the adoption of persistent exercise, the daily improvement of attitude, the proper management of finances perhaps, the habitual pattern of eating clean, the reduction or elimination of medication necessity, etc. The instant gratification mindset is not applicable to healing, as no more than you could expect to become wealthy in no time at all, you cannot expect to become healthy on the fast track either.
It is as if we have previously been taught to think of our health as equivalent to being given a lump sum of money with the expectation that it would to some uncertain degree decrease until we expired, with limited opportunities to maintain or build up the bottom line. Benjamin Franklin once said that an investment in knowledge pays the best interest; the further aware we become, of what it means to be healthy, of the realities of modern health care, and of what it takes to heal, the more clarity everyone will have, making these topics more approachable and making authentic change far easier to come by for those sick and tired of being sick and tired and the wellness-oriented alike.