Find your way to true healing.
We all want to see results quickly when we start making changes to our health. The motivation to eat healthily, get some regular exercise, lose weight, take up meditation or yoga kicks in – but sometimes these good intentions fall by the wayside over time. We have a busy week at work – we’re away from home travelling – the kids get sick – we forget to take our supplements - arrrrggghhh, it’s all too hard!
To a certain degree, just as we do with other areas in our 21st century lives, we’ve been conditioned to expect instant gratification when it comes to our health. We come down with a headache, so we take a paracetamol. We feel under par, so we go to the doctor, he gives us a pill that makes us feel better for a bit, so we forget about the problem – until the next time it happens. Heck, we even tend to expect miracles to occur on the scales after a few days of sticking to a weight-loss plan!
But here’s the thing.
True healing is different. And working towards healing requires a bit of a shift in our thinking – from that of the ‘quick fix’ concept, to a deeper, more transformational healing, from the foundation up, in order to get to that point of feeling great, everyday. After all, even the World Health Organization defines health as being ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of disease or infirmity’.1 And I wholeheartedly agree (although somewhere along the line I think we’ve learnt to drop the first part of that phrase off).
Whilst a quick-fix from the chemist or doctor may help you get through the day, in the long-term many medications are really only focusing on masking the symptoms of illness. And yes, I’m fully aware that sometimes this is necessary and unavoidable. But keep in mind that this approach silences a valuable message that your body is trying to send to you. It’s effectively like cutting the warning light on the dash of your car – sure, you won’t be bothered by the annoying light anymore, but that doesn’t mean your brakes are working properly just because you can’t see a sign telling you that they aren’t. And because we are so used to automatically stifling the messages our body sends, it can take a big health scare or a period of severe illness for us to sit up and take notice of what our body is trying to tell us. If you are tired all the time – this may be a sign your body is sending to you that your lifestyle is not doing your health any favours – and it is time to slow down or take a different direction in life. If you often have an upset tummy or an irritable bowel – then maybe this is a sign that you aren’t eating the right kinds of foods, or that you are too stressed and this is impacting your gut health. And if you are suffering from hormonal ups and downs, then perhaps this is a sign that there is an underlying issue with how your body is processing your hormones, and they need supporting, rather than suppressing with synthetic treatments.
From a naturopathic point of view, symptoms are a crucial part of the healing process – and as a practitioner these vital clues provide me with SO much information about what is going on with your body, at that base level - and what might be causing the problem in the first place. This information allows us to focus on giving the body what it needs, and allowing it time to heal, rather than trying to force it to do something it’s not ready to do.
True healing doesn’t happen overnight. Just as your health issues probably took some time to develop (people rarely come to see me when they’ve 'just recently' developed a health issue!), they take time to improve as well.
Just like a cake. Yes, you read that right.
When you make a cake, you obtain the ingredients, follow the instructions in the cookbook, and mix everything together. But while you may have every single ingredient needed for the cake, it’s not a cake yet. You put the batter in the oven – but it’s still not a cake. If you took it out of the oven after 5 minutes, it would be a soggy, gooey mess. You see, the only thing that turns the soggy gooey mess into a lovely cake, is time. Giving the cake the time to work its magic makes all the difference to the end result.
So this is the reason why I don’t focus on quick-fixes. Because there are none. The recipe for true healing is a combination of a few different ingredients – the right foods, regular movement, stress management and lifestyle, with a few chocolate chips thrown in there in the form of supportive herbs and nutrients. And this is why my Health Restoration Programs are at least 12 weeks, and sometimes longer – because this is the bare minimum of time that I believe is necessary to trigger a shift into a healing state, and begin the process of bringing the body back to where it needs to be.