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Healing Is an Art...
And You are an Artist!

By Dr. Mark Wiley, The Healthy back Institute


There are two major things to keep in mind when looking into a holistic health program. First, alternative therapies are an art form, not a science. Second, to be most effective, all holistic wellness programs demand the daily involvement of the person in need of the care.

Alternative therapies are an art because, unlike science, precise results cannot be repeated over and over. And this is not a sign of anything lacking in alternative methods, but solely due to the fact that your health issue almost certainly has more than one simple cause and will need a shifting strategy of therapies to finally heal.

Let's say you are receiving care from a chiropractor for neck pain. He adjusts your cervical vertebrae and the pain subsides. However, when you return a few days later and the same area is adjusted, the pain doesn't go away. Is this a failure of your treatment? No, because the chiropractor, having palpated you prior to the adjustment, also knows that your thoracic spine is subluxated (misaligned). Thus, on this day he adjusts two locations to alleviate the pain, whereas the other day only one adjustment was necessary.

Another example finds you seeking help for insomnia in the office of an acupuncturist. After the initial examination, the acupuncturist puts together a "point prescription" or list of acupoints that will be used to treat your sleeplessness. Today's points may be selected to calm the liver and heart. But tomorrow the same insomnia may require the use of points to balance the heart and kidneys. This is because although you are still suffering from the same sleep disorder, the underlying cause of it keeps changing due to a variety of related factors.

The lesson here is not, of course, that the cervical adjustment is only "sometimes effective" for neck pain. Neither is it that certain acupoints only work for insomnia "some of the time." Instead these are merely two small examples of how the art of holistic healing makes it possible to continue the healing process by looking for, expecting, allowing and making modifications for the changes in the body that often confound a more scientific yet less healthy method of care.

Our second issue is that the effectiveness of any holistic program necessitates the primary involvement of the person in need of the care. This is true of nearly every holistic healing method I can think of. In my own practice I try to maximize time and effort in an attempt to make the problem "go away" as fast a possible and with the least amount of fuss. Synergistic care is the only way I have found to truly do this. What this means is that rather than relying solely on bodywork or acupuncture or herbs or diet to treat a problem, as many good methods as will work ought to be used.

Recently a person came to me complaining of severe insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and weight gain. A primary care physician might look at these as separate issues, deal with each of them individually by prescriptions and then also refer the patient to a dietician or nutritionist. However, in my holistic practice I see these various health problems as being part and parcel of an overall wellness imbalance. And it is this imbalance which must be corrected or else the person's conditions will continue, no matter how many pills are swallowed.

I suggested to this person he take some Chinese herbal formulas and said that a change in diet was necessary, as were changes in daily activities, including a need for regular exercise—in addition to receiving hands-on energy treatment from me. Clearly most of these methods become the sole responsibility of that person to manage his own life by establishing a ritualized sleep/wake cycle, by eating protein at every meal and eating three to six times per day to maintain energy levels, to avoid all foods and drinks that spike blood sugar or lead to weight gain or damp retention, to get out and walk at least 20 minutes per day if prolonged gym exercise is not an option, etc.

The healer's art lies in seeing that sleep deprivation is both caused by and is also a cause of anxiety; that weight gain is due to improper diet and emotional issues; that insomnia is a result of anxiety and poor food choices and lifestyle choices and jobs that lead to stress and organ-energy imbalances. There is something in the body "allowing" these diseases to thrive. Uncovering that imbalance is an art. Following the progress of the ailments and adjusting to them over time is also an art, one that both the healer and the patient come to share.

If you do not understand this fundamental responsibility to yourself, although drugs take away the pain as long as you use them, the underlying mechanism causing the pain is still working night and day in your body. The only way to truly be "cured" is to remove the cause of the pain (or illness) or else to balance the body so it is able to resist on its own. And the best way is to choose to walk a holistic path, to forge ahead by utilizing a synergistic program that requires your own passionate personal involvement.

So the pair of linked concepts that always need to be considered, then, when looking into medical alternatives, is they are a healer's art and that you, personally, will hold much of the responsibility for reaching wellness. The healer will point the way, will provide the hands-on work, will furnish you with educational material and traditional knowledge. But it is you the fellow artist who must stay on the path.

After all, whose health is it anyway?


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All material herein is provided for information only and may not be construed as personal medical advice. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The publisher is not a licensed medical care provider. The information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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