Archive for June, 2013

The Trouble with Time

June 21, 2013

impatient manThey say that good things come to those who wait. I’m not sure I believe that since sitting around waiting usually doesn’t accomplish much. However, most good things do take time. In our hurry-up, get-it-now, no-waiting, fast paced world, it’s easy for us to get in a mindset of instant gratification. We expect to see results immediately, and if we don’t, we assume that the results aren’t what we were looking for.

When I was attending chiropractic college, I worked part-time as a smoking and weight therapist. Among other things, we taught people about why smoking is so addictive. Outside of the chemical addiction to nicotine, there is a strong psychological addiction due to the way in which smoking affects the body and makes you feel. Smoking can be both relaxing and stimulating simultaneously, both of which occur quickly, while you are still in contact with the cigarette. Other effects, such as anxiousness and fatigue, which are just as attributable to the tobacco as the previous effects, take a little longer, after the cigarette has been extinguished. Therefore, the mind gets programmed over and over that “when I am in the process of smoking, I feel good… when I am not smoking, I feel bad”. Get that into your mind a thousand times over and no wonder it’s a hard habit to break.

There are a lot of things in life that are somewhat like a tobacco addiction. Although we are blessed with the ability to reason and to look beyond the immediate situation, we are too often not much different from single-celled creatures – drawn toward pleasure, repelled by pain. Without conscious thought and determined purpose, we drift toward whatever feels good at the moment. However, since we are able to reason, when we take the time and effort to use our God-given intelligence, we can see beyond the moment and examine the consequences of our decisions. Therefore, we can exercise, knowing that it will give us strength and energy, although at the moment we feel more weak and tired. We can say no to that cinnamon roll that’s calling our name because we know that we’ll be healthier in the long run if we don’t give into that temptation.

Imagine a gardener plucking seeds back out of the ground or abandoning the garden simply because there was no harvest within a week of planting. Time itself accomplishes nothing. However, time is an important factor in virtually every process. We understand that. However, in life, it’s not always very straight-forward. Every time we try something new or change the way we do things, when we don’t see immediate results, we’re left to wonder whether we’re on the wrong path or if we just need to give it more time. The gardener knows approximately how long it takes for sprouts to appear. He doesn’t worry about it unless it goes significantly past a certain amount of time. However, in most new situations in life, we have no idea how long is too long. Healthcare is a lot like that. People get used to taking drugs where they often feel an almost immediate difference. So when they start taking nutritional supplements and don’t feel any difference for two weeks or more, they wonder if the supplements are doing anything. I’ll sometimes have people come in for treatment and if they don’t feel major changes in one or two visits, they feel like they’re wasting their time and money. Natural health takes time. Proper effort and patience will pay big dividends in the long run.

To sum it up, time does not heal anything. Only healing processes heal. However, all processes take time. Use your knowledge, intuition and inspiration to know what paths to follow in all aspects of your life. Then follow through, stick with it and give it sufficient time to allow natural processes to do their job and bring you the health, happiness and success that you seek.

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The Complexity of Healthcare

June 14, 2013

Internal organs

The human body is extremely complex. I believe that any comment or approach that implies otherwise is naïve and an insult to the Creator. I have been treating people for over 30 years and I think I’m less confident now in giving patients a prognosis than I was in the beginning. That’s because I’ve found that people are very unpredictable. We’re not machines produced on an assembly line. Each of us is a unique individual. What’s normal for one person may not be for another. There is a saying that goes something like this: if all you have is a hammer, then you see every issue as a nail. It’s that way in healthcare. If you’re a surgeon, you’re far more likely to recommend surgery. That can be motivated somewhat by greed, but in all fairness, it’s natural to look first for a solution that you typically work with. Someone who isn’t involved with surgery is more likely to consider it a last resort. As a chiropractor, I see many health problems as being related to nerve interference secondary to vertebral subluxations (spine out of alignment). Most of the time, I’m proven right, but I realize that’s usually not the complete picture. Health problems generally have many facets to them.

There is frequently a temptation to oversimplify. We get one or two clues about a possible condition and suddenly we think we know all about it. Non-professional friends and relatives are quick to give you a diagnosis and give you a suggestion for how to manage it. Even professionals may do the same thing. Have you ever gone to the doctor with four different problems and walked out with four different prescriptions? That happened to me a few years ago. I was taught to look at the whole picture before offering a diagnosis, which is the basis of the prescribed treatment. So I wanted to see what my medical doctor would say about some issues that I was having at the time. So I gave him a list of my symptoms. Instead of looking at the bigger picture to see how the symptoms fit together so he could have a good understanding of what was going with me, he looked at each symptom separately and prescribed treatment for each one.

When I was in chiropractic college, which is similar to medical school in many ways, I was always amazed at the number of physiological principles that were not totally understood. It’s important to understand that, in spite of all the fancy instruments, scientific studies and research, healthcare is more art than science. There’s a helpful article about the problems with research entitled “That Study Is Wrong: The Truth About Research”. In actual practice, there is not a great deal of precision. We should certainly strive for greater precision and the ability to duplicate positive results. However, it’s important to understand that it’s not an exact science. That’s why a little inspiration and intuition can be so helpful.

I am constantly amazed at the functioning of the human body. (I realize this all applies to animals also, but the human body is what I work with.) It’s not only a highly coordinated system of many thousands of intricate chemical and electrical processes, but when you add in the mind, the spirit, the electromagnetic fields and so forth, it’s totally astounding! (And to think that all of that came about by accidents of nature! [yeah, right]) I’ve seen lots of people who talk about their body as if it were some old piece of machinery held together by bubble gum and baling wire and that anything they can do to it would be an improvement. That simply is not true. I have great respect for the body. I rely on treatment methods that work in conjunction with the wisdom of the body, rather than fighting against it. There are many drugs (pharmaceuticals) out there that are necessary. However, many drugs are designed to “trick” the body, to make it think that internal conditions are different than what they really are so that we can get it to provide a desired physiological response. The problem is that the body is far smarter than the doctor, not the other way around. So you need to be very careful taking that kind of control into your own hands!

I firmly believe that our bodies were designed by an all-knowing, loving Creator. Our bodies have great wisdom. For the most part, if we remove interference and give them what they need (physically, chemically, emotionally, etc.), then all we need to do is get out of the way and let them function as they were created to do.

Moon, Stars & New Paradigms

June 6, 2013

moonstarsI recently got to look at the full moon through a telescope. It was so amazing. I’ve seen detailed pictures of the moon, but this was very different looking at it myself. What was so astounding to me was the fact that I was seeing something that I had seen thousands of time, and yet I never saw it like this. It was like seeing it for the very first time.

There’s another astronomical fact that causes me deep reflection. When I look up at the night sky, whether through a telescope or just the naked eye, I realize that I’m not seeing how the stars are, but how they WERE. The closest stars are 4-6 light years away. Most of them that we see are much further away. What that means is when you look up at the stars, you’re actually seeing the past. You’re seeing the stars as they were several years ago. While it’s very cool to actually be able to witness the past, it’s also a little disturbing that I cannot see the stars as they are right now. Astronomers can come up with extremely powerful telescopes, but even they cannot see what’s happening in the distant cosmos right now.

I used to put a lot of faith in science and research. It seems like the older I get, the less faith I have in it. Research, even the highly respected double-blind studies, can be biased, results can be manipulated or misinterpreted, and so forth. Even when research is done very carefully and without bias or agenda, we can be limited by our senses, our degree of understanding, and the methods used in gathering data. I’m definitely not saying that we should do away with science. Quite the contrary. However, we just need to recognize its limitations. Many people have set aside religion in favor of science. But then they treat science as if it were a religion. To be scientifically minded is to be open minded, not clinging to dogma or preconceived notions of how the universe operates.

As I progressed in my practice as a chiropractor, over the years, I realized that body, mind and spirit all work together. I needed to learn to see things in new ways. I didn’t have to set aside the scientific model that I had been clinging to. I just had to open up its boundaries to allow new ideas in. I had to realize that the way I was looking at the human body didn’t tell the whole story. As I opened up my mind to new ways of gathering information, including tapping into the storehouse of data contained in the subconscious mind, I was able to accomplish much more with my treatment and help people with a broader range of problems.