The word "health" simply means "whole," that is, undivided and one with our true nature.Nature itself is one with us as active evolving parts. We wake, work, sleep and create friendships and families …
The word "health" simply means "whole," that is, undivided and one with our true nature.
Nature itself is one with us as active evolving parts. We wake, work, sleep and create friendships and families interconnected with all else in the natural world. So our health is both natural and complex, with an unfathomable number of moving interdependent parts.
Fortunately, our bacterial ancestors dating back billions of years, and their descendants, gave each of us the DNA of champions. They survived all their challenges and passed on their learning. We have each received a unique set of DNA that gives us specific instructions on how to survive and thrive.
Healers of old recognized this and worked to encourage our inborn natural mechanisms and often used herbs and foods to assist recovery. The Greek physician Hippocrates of ancient times said, "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food."
Unfortunately, both our connection to the natural world and our ability to tune in to and respond to our body's wisdom have been under threat. In this modern, fast-paced world we are subjected to incredible pressures: information overload; economic manipulations; processed foods full of unnatural sugars, grains, and fats; messages that encourage us to overconsume; thousands of unnatural chemicals that threaten the vitality of our soil, water, air, and bodies; and a dizzying array of electromagnetic radiations that affect vital functions.
In the last hundred years, we've become increasingly besieged by chronic illnesses. Mainstream medicine deals beautifully with acute problems, such as infection and trauma. It offers less help for modern maladies, such as depression, drug abuse, obesity, diabetes, coronary disease, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer's.
What can we do? Maybe the answer to separation lies in reconnection. Ever wonder why you feel so good looking up at Taos Mountain, or a beautiful sunset, or when walking along our magnificent gorge? Could it be that we yearn to get back in touch with our true nature?
Years ago Dr. Dean Ornish was newly out of medical school when he published two groundbreaking studies showing that coronary disease could be reversed by lifestyle changes; he determined that separation itself is a potent cause of fatal heart attacks. And the cure for that separation may simply be in sharing our hopes and true feelings with others, making it possible to discover and follow our inherent desires.
By exercising, eating wisely, and listening to their feelings, people regained the health that was in them all along. Wow! So the answers to our modern maladies lie in how we conduct our lives. Can we step back from the hustle and bustle, put down our handheld devices, listen to and follow the wisdom within? In Ram Das's words, can we "Be here now?"
I learned some interesting history recently. After Doc Martin's death in 1936, Dr. Ashley Pond became the town doctor, a huge undertaking. He helped develop and staff our first real hospital given by Mabel Dodge Luhan.
He was an intelligent and curious man. He traveled and learned how healing occurs in different cultures and put these into practice for his patients and family. Depending on his patient's understanding, he might send them to a curandera or to a medicine man. He might employ hypnosis for self-healing or use herbs. He even sometimes used acupuncture to successfully induce surgical anesthesia. He used whatever works to restore "wholeness," a principle of "modern" integrative medicine.
Nowadays we have specialization and a variety of health care professionals to help us. Integrative Medicine de Taos strives to educate "patients" (that's all of us) that we have the ability and responsibility to create our own health. When we need help, we can partner with whatever practitioners best meet our needs: mainstream medical, naturopathic, traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, nutritionist, massage, psychologist, counselor, minister, yoga, tai chi, and so on. And we encourage all health practitioners to learn about each other's skills and work together for the health of our community.
Integrative Medicine de Taos is a 501c3 organization that presents public discussions on critical health topics the first Monday of the month at the Kit Carson Electric Boardroom. Find out more on the website imdt.life.
Bob Fies, moderator, is a retired internist whose passion is empowering people in their own self-care. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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