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Health & Fitness
Heal Yourself

10 Mar 2015


Fabulous Feng Shui Overlooking Lake Mead
Three days ago I pulled my back in one of the toughest spots for self-manipulation: the middle, between the shoulder blades. This time it was on the right side. The pain is sharp in certain positions and movements, but dull or barely noticeable at other times. The sharp times including laying down to sleep and sitting down to work, so the challenge is considerable. The next day, Sunday, I tried the sedentary approach since I was still on vacation and reading an epic novel of Japanese medieval history, a mere 926 pages. As long as I sat in just the right position I was okay, but otherwise I was in excruciating pain. Aspirin helped a little but not much; I have non-narcotic painkillers by prescription, but I've never found a prescription remedy (narcotic or not) that helps my back, which is plagued by herniated disks. I tossed and turned all night, and slept very little.

Today I had to work, but afterwords I took the pup for a long walk and noticed improvement as soon as we started walking and I adjusted my spinal alignment. Then I found a spot with fabulous feng shui and practiced tai chi chuan for about an hour. I finished just as the sun went down; eighty to ninety percent of the pain was gone. Is that true, or is it all in my mind?

That's a tough question because one could argue that all pain is in the mind. However, that argument would border on sophistry, since such pain does have a physical source. What is true is that as I practiced my forms, I used every opportunity to open and stretch my back. When I do that I literally stretch the vertebrae apart, giving them space, removing the cramped conditions that pinch my nerves and cause me pain. Sadly, they do not stay apart - I am not yet that advanced, if ever I will be - but when they gently slide apart and open they have a chance to readjust and fall into the alignment intended for them. The slow, careful nature of the movements makes the process safe as well as gentle.

This subject is not all about me: everywhere you look you find people seeking self-healing. Many of us do it because the medical doctors cannot help us; some do it because the cost makes no sense; some do it because the side effects of the medical approach makes no sense. Most recently I found a video of Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and likely presidential candidate, with a message that seems off-topic for him: self-healing of diabetes. Huckabee offers a sound and simple case that Big Pharma makes Big Bucks off the medical approach to diabetes, because they cure nothing and thereby lock in a perpetual sale of an expensive product. Huckabee, who once was a very heavy man, cured himself by changing his diet and losing weight. A bad diet and weight gain gave him the diabetes; the one sure way to cure it was to reverse the process.

Simple? Not so much, or everyone would do it. Self-healing requires a determination to do whatever it takes to reach the goal, often without outside support or help. Many people with chronic diseases just give up and stop trying to take care of themselves at all; that just worsens the misery and hastens the death. And not all of us have a condition that lends itself to self-healing, such as those with most forms of cancer. But if you do have a self-treatable condition, such as one brought on by lifestyle mistakes, you may have a chance to heal yourself. That doesn't mean you should go off and try anything and everything offered to you as "alternative health care". Most of it is alternative because it is unproven, and most of it will never be proven. Accupuncture, for instance, works no matter where the therapist puts the needles. This likely means that its power comes from the belief of the patient, not the method. Many alternative methods "work" only because we want to believe they work, which usually means we are kidding ourselves. External validation of such beliefs is always helpful, which is one way an M.D. can be useful. So take care in trying to heal yourself. Expand your own knowledge before you jump to conclusions, and seek outside counsel. But who knows you better than you know yourself? Certainly not a doctor who sees you five minutes at a time.


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