Healthcare is serious business
24. Doctors differ,
Stressful events and fearful thoughts put strain on the immune system, raising susceptibility to illness. Often, medical assistance is necessary to get through after a terrible time. At the same time, not only the body but the whole environment that contributed to the pain needs attention to prevent repetition and make healing easier. That’s partly why doctors diagnose and prescribe; to activate the body’s natural healing mechanisms, which are facilitated, and not caused by, medicine. Medical business, especially drug companies, invest massive sums of money into research to profit from saleable products, in contrast to behavioural advances that may receive less attention as protocols and programmes developed to improve systems immediately become imitable easily-teachable techniques that are far less commercially lucrative.
There are many conflicting interests at play around health. Iatrogenic disease, that caused by mistakes made by healthcare workers, is the third leading cause of death in the Western world. Look for practitioners who exemplify the maxim: first, do no harm. One second opinion at least is always critical; the patient’s own or that of whoever is genuinely representing them.
Users prepared to get involved in their own care may ironically meet resistance. Considering, however, that health is what happens every day doing and enjoying the usual activities without interventions, it makes sense to increase or resume these alongside accepting conventional treatments. Education, choice and support make a huge difference, and are worth pursuing despite any intimidation encountered. Building a sense of self-efficacy and hope has proven benefits, both qualitative and quantitative, on emotional and physical measures. Pioneers in the growing field of Behavioural and Functional medicine, after studies by Ader and Cohen in the 1970s, coined the term, psychimmunoneurology, which favours this person-centred holistic focus.
The body renews cells every day and frequently includes benign cancer cells which are readily suppressed by a strong constitution. It consists entirely of new matter every few years, while the DNA blueprint remains relatively constant. Those who help themselves by ensuring good food intake, regular exercise, sleep and other self-care steps including emotional and psychological balance with friendly social interactions, give themselves a better chance of recovering when life stresses compromise the immune system. Attention from an increasing range of sources is being drawn to the dangers of allopathic drugs, vis a vis the often slight positive change they bestow; see Peter Gotzsche, Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime.
It is not the doctor who has solutions for these factors, no matter what impression is given. There’s no room for lassitude in afflicted individuals. One of the most beautiful, uplifting and convincing purveyors of this warning is in fact a doctor, Bernie Siegel, especially in his world best-seller, Love, Medicine and Miracles. Even when survival rates of a condition are significant, many patients give up, whereas those who fight back tend to be cured, despite the odds. However, professionals capable of conveying the importance of behavioural change are crucial to getting life-threatened patients engaged on their own behalf. Any time is a good time to pull out the stops and love yourself back into physical and mental prosperity. And not just provisionally – health is maintained through constant tending of all the various precursors underlying it throughout the ordinary course of living. That practised reliance on the conditions for health is what best carries people through crises, that can double as opportunities to pick up good habits.