How do you get your information about health?
From the newspaper? The doctor? Marie Claire? Word-of-mouth? Billboards? Advertising?
Have you considered the origins of the information?
For four years, I managed an Integrative Medicine Resource Center at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in Pacific Heights, San Francisco.
In this Center, we would help people understand their diagnoses, the doctor's recommended therapeutic approach as well as all of the other alternative/complimentary approaches available to them.
In this way, people were invited to explore the variety of modalities existing on the planet today. Some approaches grew out of 5,000 year old traditions whereas others were on the cutting edge of medical science.
Through this Center we tried to mitigate the impact of the the dominant narratives in health care, those that promote a very thin, single dimension approach.
This photo is of Master Ko Wong. He helped me with my legs, my friend Anna (name changed) with a debilitating arm and back condition, her future husband with Leukemia, Gina with PTSD from Vietnam, and my landlady with breast cancer. Not every one was "saved" but those who were have gone on to live better, healthier lives.
He would have us laugh for 20 minutes, dance around the room with our eyes closed, lay on the floor...you'd be amazed, for example what lying on the floor for 30 minutes a day can do to your life. People cured all kinds of things with this move.
Of course, no one really makes any money off of you lying on the floor so you won't see it publicized.
Did you also know that you have a new liver every 6 weeks? That fasting can help you rebuild yours? Of course do this with supervision.. ( I say this after many failed attempts) But, as no one makes money off of you eating nothing, so you hear less about this approach.
I'm not saying all Western Medicine is a racket. When I sliced my eye trying to put on my contact lens, I called the head of the Center who happened to have been a respected ophthalmologist. He sent me to a doc who put a magical drop in my eye and I could see again. So, I'm a fan.
My message here is this...I spent four years helping people understand that the way they wanted to treat their aliment may have had more to do with the paradigm in which they were raised than what their body/mind actually needed.
Sometimes I felt people seemed deflated to hear that their problem could be caused by something simple like Golden-seal tea. Did simplicity somehow challenge the significance of their problem or in some way trivialize their suffering.
Did you know that Johnson & Johnson added the "sting" back into some of it's solutions because people didn't believe the antiseptic was working if it did not hurt? (true! look it up)
Do we somehow believe that pills or pain is required for healing? Does this make us feel tough or important?
Then you figure, would I rather feel tough trying to cure nausea or taking on something bigger like our nation's problem with obesity. I'm just saying..pick your problems. Upgrade to ones that contribute more.
Back to your health. if you're getting your latest breaking health info from Good Morning America, I say you're getting the tail end. They do a pretty good job, but San Francisco knew about all this 15 or 20 years ago. Chinese Medicine? Well, thousands of years, maybe.
(Ok, one small caveat here...they do sometimes report on advances in medical technology that are relevant and meaningful, like the new walking suits for paraplegics)
And since when you're in distress you want solutions immediately, I wouldn't wait the 20 or 2,000 years for the info to get to your morning news program.
Stories about milk, protein, grain...are all mostly sponsored by those industries. It's not the latest advice...Claritan is happy for you to keep drinking milk too. Then you get to keep the allergies that keep you buying their nose spray.
Through Chiropractic, acupuncture, meditation, nutrition and many others...I have gotten off any/all pharmaceuticals. YAs you may know, however, these practitioners make less than pharmaceutical companies, so you don't see their adds on TV.
This doesn't mean they are not as effective. So here's the trick for you...finding the solution that your body needs not the one that lands across your eyeballs. I've been in advertising for over 10 years, I know how these messages get there...it's not chance.
If you're looking for a counter-narrative to today's health information and you're suspect, start with Dr. Andrew Weil. He's a Harvard Trained doc and will explain the biochemistry of nutrition. There are many other good ones: John Kabat Zinn, Dean Ornish, Candace Pert, Christine Northrup...once you find one you'll find the others...
Oh and if you DO need prescription medication check out the 60 Minutes program on pharmacies. You want to go to Costco (open to you even if you are not a member). CVS has been known to add more than $400 surcharge on their prescriptions. Just sayin'