A Life of Adventure and Discovery
February, 2012 Newsletter
We spend an enormous amount of money on health care. According to a recent New York Times article "In 2010, the United States spent $2.6 trillion on health care, over $8,000 per American. This is such an enormous amount of money," says Ezekiel J. Emanuel who penned the piece, "it's difficult to grasp." This massive expenditure is not producing impressive results. "It is widely acknowledged that within the United States," says Emanuel, "there is no clear link between higher spending on health care and longer life, less disability or better quality of life." (see Spending More Doesn't Make Us Healthier, NY Times, October 27, 2011).
Modern medicine, the system around which our health care policy is based is only one approach to healing and one of many paths. The Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis, PhD. has this to say about the history of healing:
"Long before the growth of modern medicine, before the wizardry of pharmaceutical drugs and the miraculous dexterity of surgery, men and women were seeking the source of illness and the elixir of good health." He goes on to say that "there is an increasing sense that certain ancient and esoteric healing practices, long ignored by Western science, may in fact represent profound insights into the very nature of well-being."
A perspective on health that has long been embraced by healing traditions is that the body is a system of energy. Our bodies are influenced by the energies and the conditions of the environments we live in and are intimately connected with thoughts and emotions. Modern science shows that we are electromagnetic in nature and the energies of the nerves, the muscles, the tissues, the cells of the body and the it's various fluids must be balanced and flowing well to sustain good health. What's more, the body can retain imprints of physical and emotional trauma in the tissues, disrupting the body's natural energetic flow.
John Upledger, D.O., the founder of Cranio-Sacral therapy postulates that when an accident occurs, the energy of this injury penetrates the body and becomes lodged in the tissues as an "energy cyst." This packet of disorganized energy drains the system and over time the body needs extra energy to continue to perform its day to day functions. Emotional and mental traumas can produce similar imprints, draining our energy. Over time the body becomes more stressed and loses its ability to adapt.
If we only treat the symptom (i.e. physical pain, depression, mental confusion) we run the risk of ignoring that which produced the symptom in the first place, perpetuating rather than resolving the problem. We can propel ourselves into an endless cycle of costly treatments. And while surgery is a great gift of Western medicine we must use it judiciously and in concert with modalities that address our well being. By helping to unwind traumatic imprints in the tissues of the body Cranio-Sacral therapy works with the body's energetic and fluid nature, and through gentle touch helps restore us to our inherent capacity for health and vitality.
Chiropractic care is based on the same principle. Its foundation is built on the fact that within each of us is an Innate Intelligence. This intelligence, according to D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic "is fully capable of running all the functions which constitute life." In working with the bony structure of the spine, the chiropractic adjustment optimizes the flow of Innate Intelligence through the nerve system.
The common thread that runs through all of these approaches to health is that when we restore balance and flow to the tissues of the body we optimize the potential for the body to heal itself. In turn this allows us to adapt physically, mentally and emotionally to a constantly changing environment.
A sustainable paradigm for health care is a requirement if we are to thrive in the 21st century. In this paradigm we recognize that a positive relationship with life is essential for well being. During my 26 years in practice I have seen that people who embrace life with all of its risks and challenges generally recover from illness and injury more quickly and permanently than those who do not. People who are curious about life and give themselves fully to it are resilient; they take pleasure in the experience of life, have generally better relationships and seem happier. They use the health care system, both mainstream and "alternative" systems in an intelligent way. And perhaps most important they rely on intuition and information to guide the process.
A life based on adventure and discovery is a life well lived. Living this way we find purpose and meaning in our existence and when we are visited by illness, injury and challenge we use these things to open our hearts rather than close down. This benefits our health and allows us to benefit all those we come into contact with. It brings joy into our lives. This spirit is beautifully expressed in the poem Ithaka by C.P. Cavafy. It was written in 1911 and was inspired by the return journey of Odysseus to his island home. Here it is. Enjoy!
by C.P. Cavafy
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians and Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope the voyage is a long one.
May there be many a summer morning when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you come into harbors seen for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.
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