Musings: Take the Plunge Into Commonsense Good Health
An elderly friend of mine asked for advice on whether or not to start taking krill oil. I take krill oil daily and mentioned my belief in the importance of seeking out quality-made supplements with no synthetic ingredients. Fish oil, for example, can turn rancid if heat-processed rather than molecularly distilled, causing digestive problems. I recommended a good brand and advised her to take the dosage she felt most comfortable with. You don’t have to take two capsules just because the label says so; your body knows exactly how much it needs.
“I wish I could believe the same way you do!” she sighed. “I know my body can take care of itself — we grew up that way — but it’s so hard to believe it now.”
I don’t blame my friend for her lack of healing confidence since our healthcare system does not empower patients, nor healing, in my opinion. An insurance-based healthcare system is a for-profit business. Wellness is not the goal — profit is — so it is not surprising that while healthcare has become more complex and expensive, people have not grown any healthier. Instead we have become more anxious about insurance coverage, drug side effects and the next diagnostic test result to tell us whether or not we are healthy. How did something as everyday and common sense as good health become so elusive?
Beliefs are a very powerful thing. If you believe you can do a thing or believe you can’t, you’re right (Henry Ford). The mysterious placebo effect documents amazing cures from patients who healed after taking nothing but a sham treatment or drug, simply because they expected improvement. This includes fake surgery procedures, fake pharmaceutical trials, fake acupuncture back pain treatments and many other research experiments. Patients in the placebo group often showed more improvement than patients receiving the actual cure. Exactly how powerful, then, is the mind in healing the body?
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have begun to believe that the expectation of healing causes actual physiological changes in brain chemistry that trigger these responses in the body.1 This research confirms the powerful mind body connection — it’s the brain, not the drugs doing the healing — and compels us to consider the possibility that our too complex, too expensive, doctor/drug-based healthcare system is no longer the best chronic care medical system. Safer, less expensive options are available that everyone can afford; they are the medicine of the future. Why take the risk of dangerous pharmaceutical side effects and dependencies if the brain can elicit the same or possibly even a more powerful healing response on its own?
Could new thinking technologies, rather than new drugs, be researched and cultivated to cure cancer, malaria or any plague of humanity? We know only a fraction of the brain’s potential. Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, has discovered that the single healthiest thing you can do to reverse the unhealthy effects of a sedentary, seated lifestyle is to stand up from your seat every 20 minutes or so. By doing this you can take advantage of some very unique healthy effects gravity’s interaction has on your body and brain. The key is frequent intermittent interactions with gravity, rather than repetitive actions all at once.
Many people mistakenly believe their bodies are frail and prone to disease. On the contrary, our bodies are infinitely wise in the ways to keep us healthy and adapt even the most unhealthy physical specimen into a living, breathing vehicle. The healing intelligence of the human body is phenomenal.
We are still far from understanding exactly how much healing power we possess. 25 years of heavy-duty pharmaceutical advertising have all but convinced us that good health is available by prescription only, but we can already see the old roots of common sense healing traditions beginning to sprout again — more awareness about nutritious food, stress reduction, healthy exercise and cultivating a positive attitude and relationships. For some, the switch to a new form of healthcare is simply a matter of not being able to afford the drugs, doctors and insurance, but for many it’s the awareness that healthcare doesn’t need to be so intimidating or expensive. Go ahead and take the plunge into common sense good health. It’s not only okay to believe in your own healing ability, it’s a surefire solution to keeping yourself healthy.
1. Harvard Health Letter, April 2012. “Putting the Placebo Effect to Work”
Carol Bedrosian is the publisher of Spirit of Change holistic magazine. Visit www.spiritofchange.org.