Monday, April 13, 2009

Healing must take place on multiple levels

With each patient the physician treats, he must address the total person, in order for healing to be sustained and permanent. This is my pet peeve with Western Biomedicine: Instead of addressing the origin of a patient's illness or the nature of his imbalance, the Western physician measures success by his ability is to ameliorate the patient's symptoms in the least obtrusive and painful manner. (That being said, let me make it clear that pain, which is a wake up call, does need to be addressed, but by reversing it, not covering it up!) Unfortunately, many alternative practitioners also take this approach, and even though they may be successful in using natural modalities such as acupuncture or Chinese medicines to treat conditions, in my opinion, their mindset is wrong, and other important issues and questions need to be considered:

First, is the patient doing anything harmful to exacerbate his condition? That could include allergies and food sensitivities (which cannot be underestimated and certainly manifest a degree of an inflammatory response), exposure to heavy metals or chemicals, poor diet, poor lifestyle habits, and addictions (including food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, drugs, pornography, adrenaline, etc), and parasites.

Second, has the patient experienced any significant life-changing traumas, either physical or emotional, anytime in their lives, even as far back as childhood or before! Never underestimate their impact! Living in an unnaturally stressful world forces every person I have ever met to adapt just to survive. It is our ability to release and completely let go of those traumas which are unbearable, that makes the difference between surviving and flourishing. Also, just because someone is efficient, can multi-task, thinks quickly, is charismatic and makes a powerful impression, doesn't mean that they are succeeding and flourishing. There are lots of folks out there who are wonderful performers, but who are miserable inside, and candidates for autoimmune dis-ease, which, I strongly content, more often than not results from sympathetic hypertonicity (repeatedly not allowing oneself to rest after being in fight-or-flight) .

Third, consider biochemical deficiencies. Let's take a couple of examples: As far as hypertension is concerned, two nutrients specifically come to mind as potential causes: Zinc, magnesium and essential fatty acids. I had two patients that I want to tell you about: The first one was an athlete, who, after receiving acupuncture, CranioSacral therapy and herbal formulae, was feeling great. He was highly motivated and was doing everything right, but one problem remained unresolved: His blood pressure remained dangerously high, and he refused to use western drugs. I found the key when I asked him about his diet, which, he revealed, was completely lacking in essential fatty acids. I told him to eat minimally 1 avocado a day, have at least one portion of fish daily, and take a tablespoon of hemp seed oil twice daily. Within one week, his BP dropped from 160/110 to 125/80, and it has pretty much stayed there ever since. Then there was a very different patient, who though she did not have hypertension, was very stressed out--and was in constant state of fight or flight. It so happens that the minerals, Zinc and Magnesium, are often depleted by stress. Zinc deficiency can cause the arteries to become hardened, brittle and inflamed instead of soft and flexible. This loss of flexibility will raise BP, especially systolic pressure. Interestingly, it is very easy to test for Zinc deficiency: Zinc Sulfate in distilled water is swished around in the mouth for 30 seconds and then swallowed. If the patient is deficient, the liquid will taste like fresh spring water. But if the patient has sufficient zinc, it will have a metallic, unpleasant rusty flavor. Magnesium is more subtle: If a patient has a magnesium deficiency, they will tend to be constipated or have hard bowel movements, and they might have bone spurs, osteoporosis, muscle spasms or tight muscles, elevated cholesterol or atherosclerosis, and poor sleep. I started to patient immediately on Zinc Picolinate, 20mg twice daily, and Magnesium Citrate 1 gram three times daily. Using the liquid Zinc test, it actually took 2 months before she starting to taste ever so slightly the zinc. In addition, her mood has dramatically improved as has her sleep. Meanwhile, she is noticing that her sense of smell has dramatically heightened (from the Zinc), and though blood pressure is not an issue for her, it certainly should be considered when herbs and acupuncture don't make an impact.

The bottom line is always consider the whole person: body, emotions, mind and spirit, using integrative therapies, which address the uniqueness of each individual: biochemically, biomechanically and bioenergetically. Concerning genetics, DNA can be changed, and pre-disposition is not necessarily pre-destination. The greatness of the human species is our ability to change and adapt, and just because parents and grandparents had a condition, doesn't mean that we are doomed to the same fate. Our free choice is part of our tzelem E-lokim (our image of G-d), and we are only limited by our ignorance, imagination and fear. When we educate ourselves, let go of fear, and work closely with a physician who thinks differently serving the patient instead of his ego, the paradigm shifts.

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