THE FIRST TEN MILLION
Healthcare Reform Begins With Awareness
The body is self-healing
In our last post, we discussed the body’s wisdom and self-healing capacity, governed by the laws of homeostasis. The human organism is very resilient and intelligent; it comes equipped with innumerable balancing and counter-balancing mechanisms to ensure maximum health and vitality at all times. The body is ALWAYS moving in the direction of balance and wellness; that is its very biological nature. From broken bones to viruses and everything in between, it is YOUR BODY that does the healing. (Medicine can either support this process or work against it.) Our last post was all about the profound wisdom of the body. But it probably left you with one giant, burning question: “If my body is self-healing, why am I [still] sick?"
Obstacles to cure
The truth is that while the body absolutely IS self-healing, it is not indestructible. While homeostasis is a consistent and powerful balancing force, it does require the right conditions in order to do its job properly. In the absence of these conditions, the efforts of homeostasis will be challenged, or blocked. We call these blocks “obstacles to cure,” barriers blocking the body’s healing capacities.
Ignoring the obstacles leads to disease
When obstacles to cure are consistent and remain unaddressed, the body yields to imbalance. Imbalance begins long before we notice symptoms. If an out-of-balance or “dis-eased” state is allowed to continue (i.e. if we do not address the obstacles to cure or root cause), we eventually manifest symptoms.
The body doesn't "know" individual diseases
Conventional medicine tends to view the symptoms as the illness itself, assigning labels to different collections of symptoms as this or that disease. However, as you now understand, they are only reflective of the imbalance. They are not the illness themselves. It is important to note that the body does not recognize different chronic illnesses or diagnoses. It doesn’t think, “now I have chronic fatigue” or “this is happening because I have IBS”. It only knows imbalances, and it strives to correct them.
Three types of obstacles to cure
The presence of chronic dis-ease indicates the energy of homeostasis is in dire need of our help: we must remove the obstacles to cure. Only then will the mechanisms of homeostasis be free to work their healing magic.
The principle obstacles to cure fall into three broad categories:
Another way to look at “removing the obstacles to cure” is “what are the best things I could do to help my body work better?” The first two above are fairly obvious. If the body is not properly nourished, if gut/digestive function is compromised in any way, then the body is likely not getting something it needs.
A powerful example of impaired digestion as an obstacle to cure is the issue of protein malnourishment. In my 25 years studying our health care paradigm and working with various doctors and healers, I’ve been amazed by how often I’ll hear doctors mention that most of their patients, regardless of what disease they are suffering from, are protein malnourished. They go on to explain that except for some vegetarians and vegans, this is not due to not eating adequate protein but is, rather, the result of the body’s inability to digest and absorb it efficiently.
You are what you eat digest, absorb, and assimilate
You are likely very familiar with the old adage, “You are what you eat”. A much more accurate statement would be, “You are what you digest, absorb and assimilate”. Good digestive function is vital to making sure the human organism is getting what it needs. The number of people dealing with digestive dysfunction goes far beyond those with an IBS diagnosis. Most people have some degree of digestive dysfunction.
For example, many people only have a bowel movement a few times a week. Others can have 6-8 per day. Both may think this is “normal”. And this is something, unfortunately, that modern medicine doesn’t address as a fundamental element of health. Digestion is the engine that fuels the whole body; its importance cannot be overstated. The fact is, you could eat the healthiest diet in the world, but if you are not digesting, absorbing, and assimilating this nutrition, your health WILL suffer. You can only derive optimal nutrition from food if your digestion is optimal.
Elimination and Detoxification
Another comment I often hear from natural medicine doctors is that second to digestive function is the matter of toxicity (the second “obstacle to cure”). In order to be healthy, the body must be able to efficiently remove waste. “Waste” includes byproducts from normal metabolism as well as chemicals and toxins present in the foods we eat, the liquids we drink, and the air we breathe. This is the role of our filtering organs: the kidneys, and, more importantly, the liver.
Toxicity taxes the body
When our detox organs are overwhelmed, toxins, instead of being eliminated, end up being stored in fat and other internal molecules and interfere with healthy biological function. This creates a tremendous ongoing stress and energy drain which interrupts the body’s natural healing efforts. In fact, often a very toxic body will actually go into fat storing mode: the body will intentionally store fat so that it has somewhere to ‘hold’ the toxins; it does this as a survival mechanism, to protect our more vital systems from being poisoned by this waste that has nowhere else to go.
Occupation and toxic exposure
Some professions add considerably to our toxic load. I’ve personally known three auto mechanics who died young, and I’ve always suspected their deaths were associated with the toxic load they faced in working with petrochemicals. It is also not uncommon for hair stylists to struggle with migraine or other conditions due to the harsh chemicals used in salons. You can probably think of other jobs where the work environment provides an additional challenge to the organs of detoxification.
Toxicity and lifestyle
This is in addition to the more obvious lifestyle choices like excessive use of alcohol or tobacco, lack of exercise and movement, poor nutritional consumption or over-reliance on processed foods, etc, which can all reduce the capacity of our detox organs to keep our bodies “clean.” The innate energy of homeostasis is designed to keep us healthy and balanced; our choices can assist this process or make its job more difficult.
Gut/liver, gut/liver, gut/liver
Many natural healing traditions assert that “everything starts in the gut”. They recognize that healthy function of the organism starts at the level of digestion. Gut and liver are two sides of the same coin, both equally critical to normal healthy function: Proper digestion supplies all the body’s processes with the necessary energy and nutrients; proper elimination keeps the channels clean and allows the energy for healing and balancing to be available as needed. The energy of homeostasis cannot achieve its goal of optimal health if the foundational functions of gut and liver are compromised. Therefore, when trying to assess the first steps in supporting the body’s natural healing mechanisms, my mantra has become: “Gut/liver, gut/liver, gut/liver and when in doubt….gut/liver.” Simply put, when these two systems are enjoying healthy function, the organism experiences healthy function.
Vitality, the life force
The third obstacle to cure is equally powerful but much harder to pinpoint or measure. Vitality refers to the state of strength, energy, or life force in the body. If the body’s vitality or energy is low or depleted, it is difficult for the organism to accomplish the goal of homeostasis.
That loving feeling
Have you ever noticed how, when in the midst of falling in love, you seem to be able to sleep less, eat less, and still be filled with energy? That energy is vitality. That which inspires, empowers, or uplifts us raises our vitality: Healthy relationships, a great book or movie, a fulfilling job, nourishing friendships, compassion, gratitude, generosity, laughter, music, dancing, exercise, etc. These things contribute powerful life force energy that nourishes our bodies and minds and helps cultivate optimal health.
“This job is killing me.”
What drains our energy? It’s easy: the things that feel bad: Hurtful or abusive relationships, jobs we hate, anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, stagnancy, an unhealthy diet, the inability to forgive… Our language here is often quite literal; we will say these things “drain us.” Or we will will say, “This job/relationship/situation is killing me.” There is an element of truth to this! When our precious life force is funneled into these toxic emotions and situations, there is little energy left for healing.
Listen to your body!
Again, the body is wise! It tells us what we can do to improve our health, if we would only take the time to listen. We’ve all heard stories of people whose “chronic” condition suddenly cleared up when they quit a job they hated or left an abusive partner. These situations can absolutely drain one’s vitality and catalyze the breakdown of healthy function.
Vitality is largely personal
As you might suspect, a good doctor can help and guide you in addressing the issues of digestion and detoxification. There are supplements, dietary recommendations, detox protocols and other tools you can use to remove the first two obstacles to the cure, but the issue of vitality is often more personal. While certain doctors, counselors, and loved ones can assist in helping us shine the light of awareness on areas that are draining our vitality, as individuals we would be well-served to make choices in our lives that move us in the direction of reclaiming our power and life force.
Dis-ease can’t occur in the presence of balance
When we remove the obstacles to cure, we effectively fuel the energy of homeostasis and balance returns to the body. Balance equals health, and dis-ease cannot occur in the presence of balance. It is important to remember that in any given case addressing and removing the obstacles to cure can be challenging and to a large degree requires your active participation. But it is the path to cure.
Health is your natural state
There is no more powerful healing energy on the planet than your body’s driving force of homeostasis. Obstacles to cure are the only thing that can stop it. Removing them unleashes its amazing healing capacity. This is not debatable as it is the very nature of all organisms.
In our next blog, we’ll apply what we’ve been learning to begin to look at dis-ease and diagnosis in a new way. I hope the pieces are beginning to come together for you! Stay with us!
Tom is the founder of ForeverWell and has spent decades studying and working with some of the most gifted healers in the field of natural medicine. Recognizing that our healthcare system is failing us in the area of chronic illness, he is passionately committed to helping catalyze a paradigm shift driven by education, awareness, and individual empowerment.