Sunday, July 29, 2007

Do Our Belief Systems Help or Hinder our Health?

It's a slow news day on the medical front. On this Sunday afternoon, I have nothing to report so I want to take a couple of paragraphs and direct them to what is a purely personal opinion.

There's something I've noticed about the difference between people, and that is "what you believe will help you often does." I believe there are different approaches to healthcare systems, and most people lean in one direction. Either you believe in the conventional Western MD approach, or you have another belief--perhaps that herbs or acupuncture works best to keep you healthy. But there are few people who actually believe strongly in ALL these approaches.

In my family, I'm the only one who leans towards the alternative healthcare approach. While I certainly go to the doctor for my annual physicals, I'm more apt to go to a Naturopath or to a holistic MD, someone who may know just as much about the use of medical herbs as he/she does about pharmaceuticals. My sisters and my mother are pure, by-the-book conventional medicine followers. In other words, you get sick, you go to an MD. Getting them to take an herb of some kind, or to even consider something like acupuncture would be like pulling teeth.

What gets me is how well the ideas I support work for me, and how lousy they work on someone who tries it without a similar belief system. When I wrote recently here on this forum about Arnica Gel, for example, it was only because the stuff worked so darn well on my lower back pain that I wanted to share it with the world. And yet, that same product wouldn't make the tiniest difference in Mom's aches and pains. Why is this? Is this a type of placebo effect? If it is, it is a very powerful force. The "get sick and see a doctor" approach works well for my family because they believe it will help them.

And I know that my belief system works for me, as well. I haven't had a cold or flu for six or seven years, perhaps longer, and I am sure that is due to my use of Rhodiola rosea (in my case, MIND BODY & SPIRIT) on a daily basis. An adaptogen, that product happens to have the long-term effect of strengthening the immune system. Besides that, I get a direct uplift in mood and brain clarity that I can sense within 30 minutes after taking it.

Recently I've seen a positive development in that wall between my family and I on this healthcare subject. My 84-yr. old mother has been taking Rhodiola rosea as a favor to me for several months, and she just asked to get more before she runs out. I'm sure her doctor will be shocked at her transgression!


No comments: