BOOK: REGAINING BODY WISDOM - A MULTIDIMENSIONAL VIEWFrom a multidimensional perspective Silvia Casabianca explains how the body successfully adapts to stressors once and again until the body is weakened or the environmental challenges have accumulated to the point of overwhelming the system.
Absence of illness is not good health, the same way that we wouldn’t say that we have proof of the resolution of a marital conflict when the spouses no longer talk to each other. There are moments when frictions are absent in our life and we produce no symptoms. This doesn’t mean that our relationship with our body or our environment is optimal.
Within any living being and in nature in general terms, there is a constant struggle between constructive and destructive forces. According to the second law of thermodynamics (Law of increased entropy), the world is inherently active and whenever the distribution of energy is out of equilibrium, there is a thermodynamic force that spontaneously tries to correct imbalances.
At the cellular level, cell injury and death are compensated for with regeneration and reparation of tissues and at the systemic level the body strives to maintain homeostasis. At the energy level there is also an ebb and flow that, if interrupted, the body can overcome. We all age and occasionally get ill, but we live in a culture that tells us that we should fight both aging and illness. At most, we can delay the aging process with healthy lifestyles and grant that our elder years will be comfortable.
At least 75 percent of the illnesses are self-limiting, which means that they run a definite limited course and they actually do not require any kind of intervention. The body can efficiently battle an aggressor, heal a wound or restore lost balance. We can easily see this with the most common childhood rashes like chicken pox or measles. Another example is the common cold that actually has no other treatment than symptomatic. And according to the most recent reports, even this symptomatic treatment should be limited to what grandmas used to advice: more fluids, lots of rest, saline solution for stuffy noses and loving care.
In 2007, U.S. health experts urged the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider banning the sale of over-the-counter multi-symptom cold medicines for young children. During 2004 and 2005, three children had died and an estimated 1,519 children under 2 were treated in the country’s emergency rooms for problems associated with cough and cold medications.
Analysts, who study statistics about the social costs of illness, seem to agree that in the United States people utilize medical services more often than necessary and that doctors prescribe medicaments that are not strictly essential. A friend says this is the outcome of a country that has come to be ruled by the fear of malpractice lawsuits.
Another consideration that we need to make is that if stressors are a constant part of life, why is it that the same kind of stressors makes some people ill and not others? What determines individual responses to stress? What is it that defines when, facing the same kind of stressor (say for example, a cold virus), sometimes we get sick, sometimes we don’t?
Let’s ask again. What determines our response to environmental challenges? What makes a symptom prevail and what designates the system and organ that will be affected? We have already talked about genetic factors, labeling through diagnosis, programming illness in our neo-cortex and the importance of perception.
Several theories explain the onset of illness from non-holistic perspectives. In this book we have focused on explaining how when stress overcomes our resources, it becomes the cause of illness. Many kinds of stressors: physical, biological, electromagnetic, chemical, emotional and mental, are part of our daily life. In health, the body is well equipped to adapt to stress and cope with it. But symptoms are not, of course, the result of a mathematical equation where stressor = illness.
As we have already discussed, from an environmental point of view, poor sanitary conditions, pollutants and virulent microorganisms explain disease. From the body’s perspective, our immune response, our mood, genetic predisposition, biochemical changes and nutrition contribute to health.
Because of all the factors involved, I have found it difficult to find a definition of health to fit my current understanding of the human body. Even books talking about an inner healer (or similar concept) or about vibrational medicine or about illness as an opportunity to achieve personal growth, seem to focus on the efficacy of this or that cure or diet, and the accuracy of this or that device. Most books offer formulas, advice, panaceas and truths but not a definition of health and illness that could help pull us out the old paradigm.
The old World Health Organization definition seems utopic. Total physical, psychological and social wellbeing? When would we achieve that? It leaves me with the feeling that the common factor can then be no other than illness.
Without a holistic vision, all possible definitions of health and illness are at fault. Without a dynamic vision that understands the body’s struggles and success adapting to the environment and maintaining balance, all explanations seem partial truths, only expressions and formulations of the same reality but seen from different perspectives that do not encompass the whole picture. A holistic approach would talk about evolution, ecology, adaptation, resources, balance, alarms and defense mechanisms.
In the process of learning and adapting to environmental stressors throughout our life, our organism programs emotions, reactions, behaviors and even physical symptoms that help it deal with stress. We could say that we learn health and illness, and once learned it becomes a script the body mindlessly follows. Our energy (spiritual, emotional, physical) creates the script; our thoughts and feelings become the modulators of our well being.
When doctors establish a diagnosis, especially if it labels a chronic condition, we start revolving around the illness. We visit doctors once or twice a month, ask ourselves what to eat, what’s the proper amount of rest we should have, what kind of supplements to take, what activities to avoid. We read and learn about illness. We talk about it. A diagnosis becomes a complement to our identity, and it may even provide us with what Sigmund Freud called secondary gains, which include obtaining people’s compassion and understanding and certain protagonist role. At a conscious level we're battling the disease; unconsciously, other forces are at play. As we said before, a cold might provide a perfect excuse for an overly responsible person to slow down and isolate himself.
I can’t agree with those thinking that a call to become responsible for our own health equals blaming the victim. I think an illness might be an opportunity for personal growth if we don’t let ourselves become its victims.
The way in which our thoughts, attitudes and perception influence our wellbeing is demonstrated by the placebo effect, which has been compared to the power of suggestion. Most people see the placebo effect with certain disdain. In research in many cases, the placebo effect has value = 0 for the researcher.
Placebo-controlled studies deem medication effective if the outcome is greater than the observed using placebo. Because the researcher’s belief in the value of treatment may affect the outcome, the studies are usually ‘double-bind,’ where both the patient and the researcher are unaware of who is receiving medication and who is receiving a placebo. But placebo effect is not 0 and that explains why many studies show that at least a quarter of individuals given placebos experience relief of symptoms and a measurable improvement in their condition. The effects are related to their perception, their thoughts, and their faith.
The observer influences the observed, the observed influences the observer. Among the effects that might explain the effects of placebos are an increase in brain blood flow and neural activity, while pain-relief with a placebo is explained by placebo-induced release of sedating endorphins in the body.
Let’s welcome the new understandings of the relationships between health, environment, thoughts, perception, feelings, attitudes, nutritional habits, breathing patterns, spirituality and lifestyle.
Several studies designed to evaluate why certain medical treatments are more effective, have established that the outcome doesn’t depend as much, as it could be thought, on the precise diagnosis and accurate medical prescription. On the contrary, it has been found that the success of a treatment lays in the disposition of the person to respond in certain way to illness, his perception of the situation, the support system the person can rely on and even on the quality of the attention received by the health providers.
I can’t insist enough that the focus of medicine cannot continue to be illness but must become the human being and his marvelous inner healer requiring support to perform optimally.
After having reviewed the elements that explain the appearance of symptoms, I want to propose that health is a state of maximum consciousness and interconnectedness that allows our soul to freely flow with no attachment to what we were in the past or what we possess or what we might become or what we wished but never happened. This special state of consciousness has a correspondence in each dimension of our being; at the biological level as optimal communication between organs, and in the subtle bodies as the unobstructed flow of vital energy and spiritual harmony. In this state, the inner healer can perform its role and our mind can accept the ebb and flow of our natural cycles, listening and learning from the body.
What we call illness, on the other hand, would be that other state in which a imbalance manifests itself in the most vulnerable dimension or dimensions of the body, with symptoms that have a purpose: to contribute to restore the lost equilibrium.
To maintain balance, the response of the body to stressors is propped up by the three basic pillars we have already mentioned: nutrition, physical activity and stress management.
Stress management includes the way we breathe, the way we relate with others and the environment, and the precepts we abide by. The multidimensionality of the body implies that the changes taking place in one of the dimensions of our body will have a correspondence on the others. An example would be this person who as a result of her work with her emotions, changes the perception of herself, increases her self-esteem and starts taking better care of her body, at the same time that she improves her concern for the planet that she now doesn’t want to keep polluting. Another example is a person who has acquired enough discipline to go to the gym everyday, which has help him balance his thyroid hormones and overcome depression.
Regaining Body WIsdom
This is the best overview of holistic methods of healing and the balance between the body's organs and systems that I have ever read. Silvia Casiabianca is to be commended for her knowledge, insight, and ability to explain it all in a beautiful way that also just makes sense. I recommend this book highly.
By Carlene Thissen Best overview of holistic healing
Disclaimer: The information provided in this website is mostly
based on personal opinions and experiences of Silvia Casabianca, unless
otherwise noted. Advise offered is meant to help users take informed
decisions and not to replace medical care by a qualified practitioner.
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