Americans seem to be getting sicker. Over 90% of people say they suffer from chronic digestive complaints. About 35% can't sleep. More employees call in sick due to stress than for the common cold. And antibiotic resistant infections are now the fifth leading cause of death.
Our Western technological medical model is great for emergency care. Yet, when it comes to the growing number of chronic conditions, the remedies can carry a lot of unwanted side effects - not only "possible death" as we hear at the end of commercials, but tremendous cost for our pocket book, our health and our environment.
Like nations around the world who can no longer afford this westernized approach as their only source of health, many American's are turning to alternative practices.But standing in the health and beauty aisle of your local health food store, or perusing a Google Search for CAM practitioners, it can seem downright overwhelming and potentially expensive.
To help make sense of it all, I refer clients to Susun Weed's Seven Steps of Healing, or what I affectionately refer to as "The Wise Progression of Health" (a nod to the yogic tradition.)
When you are not feeling well, either down in the dumps, low immunity, fatigued or simple facing a chronic issues, consider the following steps for navigating your journey of healing:
0 - Do nothing. Simply unplug from the world for a while. Radical disconnection from our daily habits. For, as Hippocrates advised, sometimes we simply need to "let thy body heal itself."
1 - Ask meaningful questions. Is there a cause and effect to your troubles? Perhaps certain foods, situations or hormones play a role.
2 - Engage the energy. Consider powerful therapies with no side effects, such as: yoga , homeopathic remedies, flower essences, exercise or moving the energy with conversation, tears, anger or laughter.
3 - Nourish. Commit to getting all of the vitamins, minerals, macro- and micro- nutrients you need through a high-quality diet. When we are malnourished, we can experience anxiety. Low in magnesium, we may experience depression. Utilize foods and tonifying herbs (and know how to use them).
4 - Drive the energy Sometimes we need something more, especially for chronic or acute conditions. So we "drive" the energy in one way or another. Acute acting herbs, essential oils, and more heroic methodologies (like cleanses) may be helpful at this point, though they will draw on other systems of the body temporarily.
5a - Supplementation Synthesized vitamins, minerals and supplements may offer some needed support but will come with more or longer-term side effects.
5b - Drugs Provided by your Doctor and may draw on your system in significant ways as they try to address symptoms and issues.
6 - Break and Enter Including such things as surgery.
Too often, American's skip the first layers and jump right to step 5 or beyond. This is great for a motorcycle accident, but perhaps less so for other issues. Wherever you decide to enter the progression of health, always make sure the foundational layers - steps 0 through 3 - are being supported, and know how to skillful incorporate step 4.
The foundational layers of the progression of health once infiltrated our lives almost invisibly. Yet our generation has lost much of this wisdom. As chronic conditions continue to multiply in our nation, we must once again learn to art and science of foundational health - diet, movement, rest + relaxation, herbal medicine and more. Weaving the best of our traditional and innovative modalities together, may we find the root of health, happiness and wholeness we seek.
I encourage you to re-learn the art of health, and re-weave the foundations back into your daily life.