Symptoms, the Check Engine of our Bodies: New Paradigms of Health

Traditional Vs Modern Paradigms of health

Traditional Paradigms

They preferred a view of health that was achieved by integrating the person within the philosophical and spiritual beliefs of their respective traditions. These views tended to strive for wellness as the result of a balanced style of living within the mind-body-spirit triad. Disease was a lack of balance within this triangular relation, and therapy was guided towards traditional methods to correct the origin of the problem. Their main approach was a preventive one, focusing on lifestyles changes. The main goal of therapy was guided towards the patient’s wellness. The therapy triad was directed towards, herbal remedies, touch therapies and mind-spirit (meditation, yoga, tai-chi).

Modern Paradigms

Diverging Paradigms

These, guided by the evolving scientific knowledge of the biologic organism and the scientific rationalism of Descartes, created a metaphysical barrier between body-mind-spirit, that started the modern view of treating the body exclusive of its mind-spirit. This exclusive methodology guided preferentially the therapy to the symptoms of the disease and not to the integrative wellness of the person. This method was developed mainly by using synthetic pharmacological medicines that rapidly curtailed the symptoms without treating the originating cause or the mental spiritual aspects. The curriculum of most modern medical schools is guided towards the how to treat, postponing the why and when to a secondary consideration.

Disease, Symptoms, Health and Wellness

Disease in Modern Medicine

Medical Definition of Disease. Disease: Illness or sickness characterized by specific signs and symptoms.

1.A condition of abnormal vital function involving any structure, part, or system of an organism. 2. A specific illness or disorder characterized by a recognizable set of signs and symptoms attributable to heredity, infection, diet, or environment.

As we can see in these definitions, modern medicine tends to focus its diagnosis on the presence of a symptom or a combination of these into more complex clinical combinations. Physicians migrate towards treating the disease sometimes forgetting there can’t be a disease without a patient. This may be one of the biggest drawbacks, since modern treatment has allowed chronic degenerative diseases to surge to epidemic levels and iatrogenic hospital-based complications, to be among the most frequent causes of disease and death! Physicians seem to have forgotten the Hippocratic oath of “Primum non no cere” or “First do no harm”. l

Disease in Traditional Medicine

Definition of Traditional Medicine

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines traditional medicine as “the sum total of the knowledge, skills, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement …

Definition of Alternative *Complementary Medicine (World Health Organization)

The terms “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine” refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health-care system. They are used interchangeably with traditional medicine in some countries.

After you analyze the definitions, since most medicines were originally existent in their countries, you should realize that modern medicine is the practice that should be referred to as alternative and the traditional ones as complementary.

Definition of Disease in Traditional Medicine

Each type of traditional medicine will define disease based on the absence of wellness, where the person will not be able to perform its mental and physical capabilities during the different phases of his life. This lack of wellness will be based on determining the imbalances observed by the clinician in the different body functions in the mind-body-spirit connections. Each specific traditional practice will use meticulous examinations of the body, by interrogation, inspection, and palpation of its parts. These will show the therapist the origin, location and degree of the imbalance in the organism, that will allow him (her) to plan the immediate correction of the disharmony, to look for the root cause and plan the prevention of further disarrays. Each field will use specific herbal remedies, bio-energy manipulations, exercise and nutritional recommendations geared towards recovering wellness.

The check engines of our organism (symptoms)

Based on their definition of disease we must understand that for the practitioners of these traditional fields, symptoms are just the warning signals of the organism allowing the patient to look for help and facilitating the practitioner to guide his diagnosis, plan his therapeutic plan and gauge the recovery from the disease. The symptoms should not be primarily managed without treating the origin or cause of the disease, since they will naturally disappear as the causes are treated. In opposition in modern medicine there is a rush to mitigate the symptoms by pharmacological drugs, thus inhibiting the compensatory mechanism of the body to heal itself.

This can be easily seen in cough and expectoration and diarrheas where the body is removing the pathogenic organism and in the use of analgesics in abdominal pain that can mask severe internal conditions. Obliterating these symptoms, will be similar to a mechanic that removes the light of the check engine light without doing a computerized evaluation of the cause.

Health and Wellness in Traditional Medicine

In these fields, health is not absence of disease as promoted in modern medicine but a state of mind-body-spirit that will allow the person to enjoy the potential of a joyful life.

Following the previous assumption, health should be the natural condition of the body when its internal parts are in equilibrium. The organism has the inherent tendency for self-healing and recovery when the proper internal and external conditions are satisfied by the correct lifestyles.

Causes of Disease in Modern Medicine

Modern medicine continues to focus on the infectious origin of diseases, traumatic injuries, allergic reactions, genetic, organ system dysfunctions, cancer and auto immune diseases. Yet, most of disease causes are not known, thus making the treatments mere symptomatic remedies of symptom complexes. The conditions that medicine doesn’t know the cause, they will tend to classify as idiopathic and incurable, such as cancer, diabetes, collagen diseases, and neurologic degenerative conditions etc. (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s) The irony of this approach is that epidemiology and epigenetics have shown that more than 90% of diseases are preventable by lifestyle changes such as nutrition, and exercise yet the largest part of the medical research budget is guided to corrective treatment of most of these “incurable” diseases!

Causes of Disease in Traditional Medicine

Most traditional schools, maintain that toxic inner and outer lifestyles are the main source of disequilibrium for the organism, but also must consider the toxicity inherited from the parental genes in the form of mutations. In our industrial society the alimentary toxicity of processed foods and the transgenic modifications of even our vegetables has negatively impacted our organisms and is probably the main source nowadays. The excess of animal-based diets and use of vegetable origin trans-fats that started in the early fifties, has epidemiologically been shown to be mainly responsible for the increase of cardiovascular, cancer, and diabetes deaths. The sedentary and stressful lifestyles have also contributed to this degenerative disease epidemic.

In my books I tend to stress the emotional toxicity as one of the most important factors that is resulting in our modern diseases. In my bias, it’s the lack of self-esteem originating from the lack of balance between the needs of the body versus the needs of the spirit that promotes disease. The inner emptiness that arises from the lack of nurturing that outer material things fail to satisfy our spirit, drives us to depressive and anxiety states that make our lives, hellish experiences.

The science of epigenetics and nutrigenomics has shown clearly how lifestyles can promote new diseases and activate potential ones that reside as mutations in our gene pool. Soon I will be writing a book about “The cancer in my genes”, related to epigenetics.

Integrative Approaches to Disease

Although each traditional practice has its unique approach, they all have in common the goal to facilitate the natural self-healing potential of the body to recover the balance without adding toxic effects. The detoxification process is carried out by herbal remedies, alimentary modifications, bio- energy physical manipulations (acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic, Chi-Gong, body work etc) and mind guidance and re-connection by meditation techniques (mindfulness, yoga, etc) and self-forgiveness healing of guilt as described in my book, the forgiveness code, , neurolinguistic techniques, hypnosis and Hoʻoponopono

We must be aware that goal of healing is not necessarily curing all the symptoms of the original disease but guiding the person to find wellness within the present moment in his life cycle, to help him accept whatever outcome arises finally.