THE PROMISE OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE
by Jerry Gore, M.D.
Imagine that you had no fear of illness! You felt that things did not “just happen” but that there was a reason – a reason that you could control or modify somehow. Wouldn’t you feel empowered and confident? That’s the promise of holistic medicine. Let’s look at a few hypothetical examples to find out how this works.
Asthma: John, a 36-year-old computer programmer complained: “I’m tired of these bronchodilators and I’m depressed over always feeling tightness in my chest when it’s cold, or I exercise. Besides, I feel like a victim – a victim to weather, to activity, to animals etc. Is there anything I can do to help myself?
Nutrition and Supplements: “Yes, there is. There is an Ayurvedic concept that certain foods increase “mucous” in the airways. These foods create problems. In other conditions such as bronchitis, sinusitis, allergies, etc. stop taking wheat, diary and bananas for starters. “Live” food such as fresh fruits and veggies are preferred over frozen or canned. This alone should help a lot. Besides, add a natural anti-inflammatory such as flax oil and a natural bronchia dilator such as magnesium. You’ll feel better.”
Natural Medicine/Homeopathy: “Yes, John, there is another way,: try “energy medicine” such as Homeopathy or Acupuncture: Homeopathy is the science of medical therapeutics where we use very dilute portions of plants, mineral, or animal tissues and individualize this treatment for you. Your asthma is worse from exercise, cold air, and tobacco smoke. Try Lobelia (from the Indian tobacco plant), and after a few doses you might find yourself very much improved. But, if your friend has asthma worse during dampness, take Natrum Sulph, or asthma’s worse after indigestion, take Nux Vomica. You see, three people have ‘asthma’ but require 3 different remedies because we’re treating the individual person’s symptoms, not the diagnosis.” John smiles at the thought of approaching his asthma in a way that was unique to him.
Breathing Instruction: “Yes, John, there is another way. Let’s examine your breathing. Put one hand on your chest and one hand on your tummy. Which hand moves while you breathe?” “My chest does,” he said. I answered, “Did you know that chest breathing tends to stimulate the fight or flight response in our body and creates anxiety? Try a more efficient method of breathing called diaphragmatic breathing. The first stage is involves moving the belly out on inhalation, and in on exhalation. Keep the movement equal and smooth. The second stage involves the lateral expansion of the ribs on either side. Feel all that air filling up from bottom to top.” John looked relaxed as he focused on his breathing gradually gaining in confidence and feeling self empowered he said, “Tell me more”!
Cleansing: “Yes, John, I’ll tell you more: The topic here is cleansing and is sadly neglected in the West. Did you know you can buy a little tea-pot like structure called a nette pot – fill it with water and a few pinches of sea salt and pour it through your nose? This clears out mucus, opens clogged sinuses and leaves you with the feeling of “I can breathe through my nose. Other more advanced “washes” exist so that a person can literally “wash out” mucus from the stomach that accumulated overnight. This washing effect really helps me breathe much easier. Some people also do this in the change of seasons as a preventive.” “Oh,” John said sounding less and less like a victim,” anything else?”
Stress Reduction: “Yes, John: There is another concept I want to share with you. Yoga theory would say that Asthma involves the heart chakra i.e. the expression of love, nourishment and relationship with others. It’s inspiring to see a person use their difficulty expressing air (asthma) as a metaphor to examine their feelings, thoughts, hopes and conflicts, in love and their relationships. Indeed, the very symptom of their illness becomes their opportunity to grow and learn about themselves in a new and powerful way.”
At this point John had a doctor’s bag full of nutrition, supplements, homeopathic remedies, healthy techniques and cleansing techniques. He also had an idea about where to take his next emotional step. Looking confident and solid with his newfound skills and knowledge he turned to me and said, “Yes, Dr. Gore – there is another way.”
JERRY GORE, M.D.
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