(NaturalNews) Within our fast-paced, pill-popping, quick-fix, got-to-have-it-yesterday-society, the real essence of therapy appears to have become forgotten. True therapy encompasses living and acting in a way that promotes and/or restores optimum health and well-being on a continual basis. In other words, true therapy is a way of life, not just some 6-8 week program. Although this sounds logical, it may require a shift in the perception and understanding of how therapy occurs. The healing powers of the body, mind, and spirit are innate, self-generated, and constantly active day and night. Therefore, the whole notion of utilizing any special type of therapy - other than providing the body with its requisite needs to accomplish the task of healing - is questionable.
Let`s Define Therapy The word "therapeutic" derives from the Greek and Latin words "therapeutikos," "therapeuein," "theraps," and "therapia," which mean literally, attend to - in the sense of observing and attending to an individual`s needs or requirements - and to wait upon - in the sense of allowing a process of illness or injury to run its course naturally. It`s interesting to note the original intent of the term "medicine" or "medicina": the art of healing (it had nothing to do with an artificial drugging system).
The contemporary meaning of therapeutics refers to the treatment or curing of disease or disorders using various remedial agents. These remedies may be applied in the following various manners: frequently or occasionally, in short durations or long durations, aggressively or conservatively, pleasantly or painfully, voluntarily or involuntarily, and in isolation or in combinations. Thus, the use of some sort of healing cure that is imposed on or dispensed to, the body, mind, and spirit appears to underlie most modern-day therapies.
Therapy from Within The body is instinctively programmed to heal itself in an optimal manner, if and when its needs are properly met or attended to. This means that true therapy comes from within. It can`t be replaced by applying artificial treatment methodologies from the outside, which just usually interfere with the natural healing process. Therapies need not be forced onto the body, mind, and spirit to produce beneficial effects, especially at the expense of depleting the body`s own self-healing and therapeutic powers, which is the true beneficial force at work in most, if not all, cases.
Alteration of Symptoms vs. Removal of Cause(s) Any therapy that claims to be beneficial in the healing process should always be inspected properly to determine whether or not this therapy assists the body`s own natural healing mechanisms, or detracts from them. For example, when certain substances (either artificial or "all-natural") are taken into the body that suppress and/or alter the innate healing process, interference as opposed to assistance will be occurring. Another example of interference found commonly in many rehabilitation programs is the application of a cold modality (ice pack) used to rid the body of inflammation - a natural process the body uses to heal itself.
It`s important to realize that the body will create certain conditions during the healing process. These healing conditions are accompanied often by healing symptoms, including but not limited to: pain, inflammation, swelling, fever, coughing, sneezing, sweating, mucous discharge, skin outbreaks, flu-like symptoms, lumps, bumps, changes in heart and breathing rate, and extreme voiding such as diarrhea or vomiting. Therefore, caution should be given to any therapeutic intervention that suppresses or alters healing symptoms, rather than promoting actual healing. Getting temporary symptom relief at the expense of disrupting the body`s self-healing processes can be counterproductive in the long run. As the old saying goes: "It`s not wise to fool with Mother Nature!"
The Illusion of Cure Many therapies can actually deter the healing process, as opposed to cure the body. Unfortunately, this happens at the expense of decreasing vital self-healing energy. In the short run, this negative effect of many therapies will produce the illusion of cure. This phenomenon comes about when the body is asked to deal with an unnecessary therapeutic intervention, which in many cases may be more appropriately termed a "therapeutic interference." In other words, when the body is required to stop attending to the act of healing itself so that it can deal with an unnecessary remedial intervention being applied, a symptom-relieving effect is often produced - giving rise to the illusion that a cure has taken place when it really hasn`t.
This healing scenario is analogous to forcing an injured/ill horse to perform better by whipping it, instead of giving it proper rest and care. However, under such conditions of artificial stimulation or irritation, the horse`s performance will eventually suffer, especially if this whipping practice is ongoing. The human body will respond in a similar manner. Its performance will suffer as well, with delayed healing or a decrease in optimal health being the result.
Healing Can Be a Pain Pain is one of the most common symptoms that make an individual seek out therapeutic interventions. So, is there anything wrong with wanting relief from pain? Of course not. Seeking relief from pain is a natural human instinct. However, it`s important to understand that pain is sometimes part of the natural healing process. Once one truly embraces this, he or she may then learn to benefit from these painful experiences, rather than always seeking to avoid them. This is how the "No pain, no gain" philosophy should be applied. In other words: One should learn from the pain, so that there is gain - an acquisition of more wisdom about how to properly care for the body.
Pain is one of the mechanisms the body uses to protect and heal itself, especially its vital parts. Pain is not the enemy, but rather an ally. Pain is like the warning light on a dash board, so it`s wise to pay attention to it. (P.A.I.N. = Pay Attention Intelligently Now). Figuring out why the warning light is going off (the cause) is important, so that the problem can be corrected properly. Just pulling out the fuse that controls the warning light does not correct the problem - unless of course, the warning light itself is the real problem.
A choice will always need to be made regarding how to deal with the pain of healing. For the person whose objectives are vibrant health, restoration of optimal function, and maintenance of a high quality of life, the choice should be clear. True therapies will address pain, but not at the expense of jeopardizing overall health and well-being.
Making Sense of Symptoms Whenever addressing an acute or chronic health matter, it`s important to always determine the cause(s) and/or type(s) of symptoms so that treatment can be administered properly. Reactive symptoms (a.k.a. healing symptoms) that sometimes occur during the healing process shouldn`t be confused with those that are destructive in nature. Destructive symptoms result from damage to the body itself, such as the effect heavy metals can have on the body`s tissues. Both types of symptoms are noteworthy, as reactive symptoms signal a return to health, whereas destructive symptoms signal a progression away from health (toward disease).
Other types of symptoms to be aware of are: symptoms of deficiency, and symptoms of degeneration. An example of the first would be the body malfunctioning due to a nutrient deficiency (food, water, air, sun, rest, activity). An example of the latter would be the body functioning incorrectly due to destruction in joint, muscle, nerve, vessel, tissue, or organ structure. Like symptoms of destruction, both of these types of symptoms are indicative of disease, or a movement away from good health. As mentioned before, a common mistake people make when trying to heal their bodies is suppressing healing symptoms - misinterpreting them as something needing to be cured, as opposed to being the cure. However, misinterpreting destructive symptoms can occur as well [for example: thinking every symptom is just the body "detoxifying itself" (such as having pain and loose teeth), when it`s really the body`s cry for help].
Determining which types of symptoms are present is a matter of tuning in carefully to the body. One`s instincts can help guide him correctly in this endeavor. The key is to learn to read the body correctly. This will take some practice, especially when one has lived way out of touch with his instincts for a long time. Therefore, seeking out proper guidance or help from another individual when needed is always permissible.
Therapeutic Systems Allopathy treats illness and injury through introducing substances that counteract, or work against symptoms. Homeopathy treats disease through introducing substances that produce like symptoms, according to the homeopathic dictum that like cures like. Naturopathy is the practice of using natural substances and remedies to help bring the body back into a balanced state of health. There are many other therapeutic interventions and systems of healing that aim to help cure the body as well. Again, consideration as to whether or not these interventions are actually helping or hindering the body`s own magnificent self-healing abilities is prudent.
Therapies that are applied in a palliative manner fail to get at the underlying causes of a problem. Consequently, this can lead to dependency on the pursuit of finding more therapies to address a poor health condition. This search for the "holy-grail-of-all-therapies" can lead to expensive addictions and ineffective solutions.
The body comes equipped with a self-healing system that is encoded at the cellular level from the time of birth. When the body is allowed to operate without impediment, healing will occur in an optimal manner. There are certain times (emergency situations) that may warrant special therapeutic interventions. However, even in these cases, when these interventions are implemented correctly, they act to assist, rather than interfere with, the body`s own self-healing powers.
Therapeutic Perspectives Many ancient and primitive therapeutic systems were based on the following underlying concept: Injuries/illnesses are hostile processes that need to be attacked with treatment in order to remove or eliminate them from the body successfully. Many modern therapeutic approaches don`t appear to be much different -- only the technology has changed. The body`s responses to an injury/illness are ultimately beneficial. They are governed by an instinctive vital self-healing power. This innate power is always aimed at defending and protecting the body to its fullest capacity, and in the safest and fastest manner possible. The body doesn`t need to be attacked. This approach has failed throughout time, and will continue to do so. The body needs to be honored and cared for properly instead. Attempting to trick the body, by performing the act of healing better than Mother Nature can (as if that were possible), is always a mistake. If one does find the need to attack the body, then attacking it with a healthy diet and lifestyle appears to be the most logical and safest approach.
Sources: 1. Baker, A., Awakening Our Self Healing Body: A Solution to the Health Care Crisis, Self Health Care Systems, Los Angeles, CA, 1994 2. Lee, A., Your Body: Designed to Be Self-healing, Living Nutrition Magazine, Volume 19, p.21-22, 2007 3. Shelton, H., Human Life It's Philosophy and Laws: An Exposition of the Principles and Practices of Orthopathy, Mokelumne Hill Press, Dec. 1979 4. Mielcarski, S., Revolutionary Rehab Manual, www.revolutionaryrehab.com, Body Dynamic Publishing, 2007-2009 5. Ozer, MN, Payton, OD, and Nelson, CE: Treatment Planning for Rehabilitation: A Patient-Centered Approach, McGraw Hill, New York, 2000 6. Weil, A., Spontaneous Healing: How to Discover and Enhance Your Body`s Natural Ability to Maintain and Heal Itself, Ballantine Books, 1996
About the author
Dr. SAM (Samuel Arthur Mielcarski), DPT, is an expert in the field of rehabilitation. He is currently licensed as a physical therapist in Georgia and Florida. He has over 13 years of clinical rehabilitation and health-coaching experience, combined with additional training, education, and practical experience in integrative bodywork, nutrition, natural hygiene, exercise/fitness, mind-body integration, performance enhancement, and personal training. He is the author of the recently released: "Revolutionary Rehab Manual: A Common Sense Approach to Health and Healing." Details can be found at: RevolutionaryRehab.com. He can be contacted via email at DrSamPT@gmail.com or through his main website: www.DrSamPT.com.