Something that has been profoundly beneficial in my life is the practice of looking across disciplines, and drawing from a wide range of perspectives and practices to help make my life better in terms of health. This has gifted me with all kinds of healing that I have come to rely on for myself, my family, and for those I work with. My only criteria in this gathering is that whatever it is that I am drawing on, serves real human needs, supports the body without harm, includes all of me, and carries with it a resonance of truth and wisdom.
For a while, I did not fully see the value in the amalgamation I was engaging in. At times, even going so far as to hide or downplay what was working for me. I thought maybe there was something wrong with this kind of approach; that I was being some kind of flighty mutt by not committing to just one thing. But then I spoke with my daughter whose degree is in interdisciplinary studies. Not only was there a name for what I was doing, but a deep understanding that when it comes to the really big issues in Life, it is only by drawing from a number of perspectives, that we can hope to come to real and lasting solutions.
Which brings me to where we currently find ourselves with the health crisis we are in. One, by the way, that we have been in long before a virus showed up, but that is revealing all the more, all of the ways, that our current medical paradigm is just not working. Unfortunately, instead of opening up the view around what we are up against, we are further entrenching ourselves in a system that emphasizes disease, insists an expert knows more about your body than you, deals in fear to gain compliance, and justifies the treatments offered as being the only way to deal with what we are facing.
What would it be like though, if on a national level, our conventional medical system opened up the discourse around how best to approach what it is that stands before us? What if the vast array of health approaches that have been safely and effectively practiced all over the world for hundreds and thousands of years were included in how we bring health back to our people?
But that would require a loosening of the monopoly the current medical system in power has over our health. It would require that the AMA stop demonizing other traditions. (Something that dates back to its inception when it declared other legitimate approaches like herbalism, midwifery, indigenous healing and more, unlawful). It would mean the accusations from a system that routinely kills people every year through properly prescribed medications and procedures, would need to stop. This one has even got a name. Iatrogenic illness. Which translates to “doctor induced,” and which claims hundreds of thousands of people’s lives each year, while disabling millions.
If there was ever a time to explore and include other traditions, it would be now. Right now.
The Indian system of healing, Ayurveda, is the longest continually practiced health care system on the planet, being 5000 years old. Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Herbalism, Naturopathy, just to name a few are hundreds and thousands of years old with rich traditions of not only healing in general, but possessing the very solutions we need right now. There is also the old, accessible standby, food. The very same thing that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, spoke so eloquently about when he said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.”
Alternative health care approaches need two things from us to claim their seat at the table. They need to stop being referred to as “alternative;” being pushed to the periphery for the whackos or as last ditch attempts. And they need our trust and our willingness to explore their vast offerings. We, as the consumer, have the right to determine what it is that makes sense to us in terms of how we care for ourselves. And we have the right to demand medicine that does not hurt us. With that said, the biggest shift in our current “health” care system will never come from the government, the doctors, the hospitals, or those who train and credential them. It will only come from us.
This will require an enormous shift on our part. One where we must learn to take full and personal responsibility for our own health. One where we begin to question what is not working, recognizing that it is not, as we have come to believe, that the lack of results is due to the virulence of something, but that it is an indication that we are looking in the wrong direction. And that is where we begin.
Is there some place inside of you that wonders if there is a better way? A place that is willing to ask another question, look a little deeper, challenge what is being offered when what is being done is not working? If so, start there.