Article #3: Holistic Approach: Relying on the Doctor Within by John M. Barry, N.D., D.Sc. & Dawn Lyman
You have within you a tremendous capability both to defend yourself against becoming ill and to heal yourself when you do become ill. Medical practitioners have long referred to this capability as your defense mechanisms. These defense mechanisms include your mind and emotions as well as your body.
They include all your physiological and psychological functions as well as all your glands, organs and inner systems. All these functions, glands, organs and systems interact in whatever way is needed for your well-being according to some inner wisdom which is obvious to researchers and practitioners alike, but which is poorly understood.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer called these defense mechanisms your "doctor within" when he advised physicians they would be at their best if they gave the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to work. Your "doctor within" is inborn and functions involuntarily throughout your life to repair injuries and keep you well; or return you to health after an illness. If you give this "doctor" a chance to work, s/he can even "cure" the common cold. S/he can compensate for the loss of a large part of many of your organs, including three-fourths of your liver, an entire lung or kidney or adrenal gland, restoring your functions to nearly normal. S/he restores normal functioning, not because you only needed one lung or one kidney or one-fourth of your liver to begin with and, by some happy chance, just happened to have extra; but because s/he is able to improvise with whatever is left of the injured system to compensate for what has been lost.
Whether you call it "the doctor within," "innate intelligence," the body's immune and defense mechanisms, or whatever, this is the only force capable of healing you of any disease. Only this inborn healing capability knows exactly what is really fundamentally wrong, and how corrections should be made. There is more information stored in the billions upon billions of cells which comprise you than is stored in all the libraries on earth. This information is used for continuous improvisations of your peculiar and specific mental and physical systems. No scientist knows how this works. And, no battery of instruments can indicate how it works. In addition, how it works in your case is entirely different from how it works in others.
You may wonder why you get sick in the first place, if your "doctor within" is so marvelous. Well, even if you weren't exposed to such debilitating factors as pollution, stress and poor judgment as well as circumstances beyond your control (the new baby has colic and you have to go to work after getting 87 minutes sleep), you would still have to deal with entropy, the process by which all things break down into the elements of which they are composed. Because you are subject to all these deteriorating influences, you need to take some action to assist your "doctor within" in order for him/her to maintain your health.
Most health practitioners try to assist your "doctor within" in one way or another. Of the available methods, the orthodox medical approach is the most popular and most widely accepted. Drugs, radiation, surgery, and dangerous invasive procedures have become part of the orthodox medical approach and supposedly are used to assist your "doctor within." And, in many cases the need to assist the "doctor within" is secondary to malpractice liability which usually dictates that doctors provide the "correct" (acceptable to the medical establishment) treatment regardless of expected outcomes. The orthodox approach relies on drugs which in most cases are used simply as symptom-relievers. When a symptom poses an immediate threat to your life, it must be dealt with directly and at once, and drugs are used in such cases as a last resort.
However, trying to outwit the myriad of complex and still mysterious chemical, hydraulic, mechanical and electrical systems which comprise your "doctor within" by repressing symptoms with chemicals is a lost cause, like spraying flies around a pile of manure. As long as the manure is not removed, you will always have more flies to spray, no matter how many you kill. No amount of observing of symptoms or performing of tests will show the entire, united, submolecular workings of the human system. Therefore swatting symptoms with chemical drugs does not remove the manure pile of ill-health causing the observed symptoms. In fact, some symptoms can be caused by the healing process itself, and are just reactions from the improvising used by your "doctor within" in his battle for maintaining health and should not be interfered with.
In addition, both the safety and effectiveness of any drug is open to question. Each drug is tested by its own manufacturer," not by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as many assume. Each manufacturer selects the persons used as subjects, selects control groups, designs the experiments, and selects which data it will submit to the FDA. The FDA makes drug decisions based on what the drug company presents as findings about a product from which it hopes to derive a profit; long-term adverse reactions to the drug are never considered.
The orthodox medical viewpoint has emphasis on germs, viruses, and specific abberations rather than on the knowledge that poor health is usually caused by the elements of your lifestyle and environment which contribute to eroding the strength of your "doctor within." Factors contributing to disease are infinitely varied. A partial list might include contaminated water, food or air; improper nutrition; unnatural chemical interference (including prescription and/or over-the-counter drugs); psychological or physical stress; lack of exercise; lack of fresh air; lack of sleep; and allergies including specific food allergies. These disease-causing factors are brought under some control, not by drugs or the technology associated with medical science, but by the actions of farmers, plumbers, legislators, garbage collectors, pest exterminators, food inspectors, and many others. Diseases such as beriberi, pellagra, pernicious anemia, rickets, scurvy, tuberculosis, as well as many of the contagious diseases and parasitic infestations have not retreated in modern industrialized nations because of drug therapy of medical science. They have retreated from improved sanitation, better nutrition, refrigeration, food and drug laws, meat and dairy inspection, rapid transportation of fruits and vegetables, inside plumbing, clean water standards, sewers, proper garbage disposal, more bathtubs, heater-ventilation codes, the forty-hour week, elimination of "sweat shops" in industry, labor laws, etc., etc.
As the methods used by the "doctor within" become better understood, more and more orthodox medical practitioners are turning to a more holistic approach to health. The holistic method acknowledges, in effect, that you can't repair a broken sidewalk without cement, aggregate and water. To repair a sidewalk you need to use those elements of which the sidewalk was made in the first place. You also can't repair a sidewalk under adverse conditions (while people are walking on it, for instance, when the temperature is too low). Likewise, the "doctor within" needs favorable conditions in which to make repairs and the elements of which human tissue is made.
The holistic approach is one that assists the body's defense mechanisms by supplying the proper items and conditions needed for good health. This approach, because it involves your entire lifestyle, requires your knowledgeable participation, since only you are privy to all aspects of your life on a running day-to-day basis. The responsibility for your health belongs to you. A condition of total wellness can be attained only by learning health-building principles and applying them in your life. It is up to you to supervise your own nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress reduction, and mental attitude. You are the one to avoid pollutants and self-destructive habits. You are one that should examine the social and economic factors your life which may be contributing to ill-health. If give your "doctor within" the proper tools and conditions, s/he will provide a state of happiness and harmony within yourself, with others and with the environment.
Reprinted from the Herald of Holistic Health
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