The Body Has An Amazing Capacity To Heal Itself
By far, the human body itself has corrected more health problems than any other entity. The body is continually recovering from illness and healing from injury. It’s constantly adapting to its environment. In fact, the body is so good at healing on its own that some people wouldn’t even consider an illness a “health problem” unless the body couldn’t recover from it on its own. We’re often surprised when the body develops chronic health problems, but isn’t it amazing that people stay as well as they do, and how often they completely recover from all kinds of injuries and difficulties? This alone is a strong demonstration of the body’s ability to heal itself.
Usually The Body Can Heal Itself But Sometimes It Can’t
Let’s suppose we had never fished before and we did sign up for fishing lessons from a man who knew how to catch a lot of fish. Let’s say this man has years of experience and has won many fishing tournaments. What if the man remarks, “I’m not catching as much fish today as I usually do,” during our first lesson? Let’s say he wants us to help him catch more. Having never fished before, would it make more sense for us to
- watch him carefully and help him do what he’s doing
- decide he’s “doing it all wrong,” and get in his way by doing something totally different?
Likewise, the body sometimes gets stuck in a state of poor health. But considering the body is such a master at healing itself, wouldn’t it make sense for us to
- observe it carefully and
- help it do what it’s doing
instead of doing something totally different?
Restorative Medicine often focuses on assisting or recalibrating the body’s built-in mechanisms, rather than circumventing them. The very approach and techniques that make this approach so different is the same approach and techniques that are making people well after doctors have told them that there’s nothing they could do for them.
Here’s a true story to show how much more pleasant life can be when we work with the built-in mechanisms.
Recently, there was a man that for some reason couldn’t relax enough to urinate. As much as he tried he could not empty his bladder. It got to the point that he was in so much pain he went to the emergency room of a local hospital where they inserted a catheter and performed a very expensive and unpleasant cystoscopy (the doctors looked inside his bladder with a lighted scope). The doctors found nothing wrong and sent him home. Now and then he’d have the same problem and he’d have to wait a long time in the emergency room to have his bladder drained with a catheter. Each time the doctors had no advice for him as to what was wrong or how to fix it.
Finally, he went to a doctor who liked to work with the body. Almost everyone has experienced the urge to urinate when swimming, showering, bathing, or even just hearing running water. The doctor suggested that the man take a warm bath when it happened again. From then on, whenever he had trouble starting his stream of urine, he would take a bath and was able to urinate without any trouble.
What would have become of that man had he not gotten that advice? Would he have had to go to the Emergency Room now and then for the rest of his life? That’s a lot of hardship easily corrected with a very simple solution, but if he had never found it, he would have never benefited from it.
What Can We Do When The Body Gets Sick And Gets Symptoms We Don’t Like?
We have two choices. We can
- decide that we can’t help the body recover, and focus on getting rid of the symptoms (keeping the sickness)
- focus on helping the body overcome the sickness, so the sickness and symptoms go away.
Restoring health is fundamentally different than just treating symptoms, which is what most doctors have been trained to do. Let’s consider this analogy to more easily see the difference.
Let’s say a man named Luke wasn’t making enough money to pay his bills, and for some of the things he wanted. He could treat this symptom by putting some things on his credit card. That way, he could have his bills paid and have some of the things he wanted. Luke’s symptom is gone, for now, but it will come back because he still has the same underlying problem of not making enough money. On top of that, he will soon discover side effects… interest and credit card payments. Next month Luke will have to pay for bills, some of the things he wants, plus credit card interest payments with the same income he had before (not to mention the money on the card he has to pay back).Likewise, when we focus on treating symptoms
- the treatment might be pretty easyour symptoms might go away, for nowour symptoms will come back because our problem will still be there other things might get worse (we can get side effects)
- our overall condition might get worse and worse
Let’s go back now to our friend Luke’s original problem. He’s not making enough money to pay his bills and for some of the things he wants. Let’s say that instead of buying some of the things he wanted, he paid for some extra tools and training and worked a little harder at his business and started to make more money. His problem might have gotten a little worse, at first, (because he didn’t buy some of the things he wanted) but within a few months he’s making enough money to pay his bills, buy some of the things he wants, and have enough left over to pay off some debt and buy his mother a present. Those are nice side benefits. The month after that he can always reinvest some of his extra money for more tools and training. Similarly, when we focus on restoring health
- it may take a little work and sacrifice at firstour symptoms might even get a little worse in the beginning (this usually doesn’t happen, but sometimes it does)once our health is restored our symptoms are gone and don’t come backwe can even get side benefits
- our overall condition can get better and better
Treating Symptoms Versus Restoring Health
It can be a classic example of
- Short-term gain, long term inconvenience.
- Short-term inconvenience, long term gain.
Which would you rather have?
Touching The Problem Can Touch The Symptoms
Let’s say you had a splinter in your hand that was causing you a lot of pain. You could just take a pain pill and cover it with a bandage and hope it doesn’t get infected. It’s unlikely the pain pill would make your pain any worse so it might seem like a good approach. However, when the pill wore off you’d still have the splinter and over time it might get infected. On the other hand, you could get a pair of tweezers and pull it right out. You could wash it with an antiseptic, keep a bandage on it and you’d be done. However, if the splinter was buried more deeply you might need to get a needle and try to poke through the skin to get the splinter out. Every time you hit the splinter with the needle you might feel the exact same splinter pain you’ve been having but maybe even worse for a flash. The reason your splinter pain got worse for a moment is because you were touching the exact problem, the splinter. But once it’s out, it’s out. When doctors don’t touch the problem and just treat the symptoms they have very little chance of making the symptoms worse but essentially no chance of correcting the problem. However, in restorative medicine, when a treatment touches the exact problem a patient is having; it can sometimes temporarily worsen the exact symptoms of which a patient is complaining. Nevertheless, the symptoms can then improve and disappear completely and permanently. Usually, the symptoms don’t get worse before they get better. But in more severe cases, the symptoms can occasionally get a little worse before getting better.
The Body Tends To Keep Doing Whatever It Is Doing,
The Trick Is To Get It Healthy So It Will Tend To Stay Healthy
The human body is very complex and has a lot of inertia. Inertia can be defined as the tendency of objects to keep doing what they are doing. For example, a moving object tends to keep rolling unless some outside force stops it, and an object that’s not moving tends not to move unless some outside force moves it. The good news is that when the body is truly healthy it tends to stay healthy, and can resist and overcome many adverse conditions. The bad news is that when the body isn’t healthy, it may take some focused outside influence to get it healthy again. Some more good news is that once the body actually does recover, it tends to stay well. It often takes outside forces like poor diet, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, excess stress and other factors to make a healthy body sick. Likewise it often takes time, effort, energy, and resources to make a sick body healthy. This effort and energy may take the form of watching what we eat, or taking the time to exercise. It may also take the form of buying the medicines and substances we need to get better. When people want to restore or replace their kitchen floor, they are sometimes not surprised when it costs $1,300, or more. Yet how much more valuable and thrilling is restored health compared to a restored floor? Also, restored health can quickly and easily pay for itself in terms of increased job performance, and increased life enjoyment. With restored health a person can often get more enjoyment out of an ordinary day than a sick one can get out of an expensive vacation. Amazingly, many people can get well on their way to recovery for far less than it costs to replace a kitchen floor.