Like most children, I believed in Santa Clause. I’d sit by the front window on Christmas eve, hoping to catch a glimpse of him and his reindeers flying across the sky. After a while, my mom would cup her hand to ear, “Is that Santa’s sleigh bells I hear?” I’d squeal with delight and rush to jump in bed, afraid that he’d not visit if I were awake. Even though I’d heard some of the older kids snicker that Santa wasn’t real, I knew in my heart that they were wrong. My parents would never lie to me.
My heart broke when they told me the truth about Santa. How could my parents have betrayed me?
I felt that same heartbreak when I learned the truth about the health care community. How could doctors betray us?
We believe that doctors have all the answers. We put our blind faith in them, doing what they tell us to do. But what they told us to do—take a benzodiazepine—harmed us. Needing answers as to how to heal from that harm, we are met with ignorance and, at times, arrogance. We soon learn that most doctors aren’t about health care after all. They are about sick care—managing symptoms. They don’t promote health and healing. Why is that?
To answer that, it helps if we understand the health care system at large.
- Medicine is highly reductionistic. Organs and diseases are looked at in isolation, not as part of a whole symphony of interwoven, interacting components. That does not help promote health and wellness as nothing in the body works in isolation.
- The science of nutrition is primarily ignored in medical school, and our health rests mainly on what we eat. (Lifestyle is a close second.) Medical students receive, on average, only twenty to twenty-five hours of nutritional studies, and those are usually the biochemistry of nutrition, such as the Krebs cycle.
- The corporate machinery that rules doctors can get in the way of proper health. A corporate policy can insist that doctors prescribe ineffective but profitable treatments. Some doctors have been reprimanded and bullied, threatened with loss of the their job for not suggesting those treatments!
- Insurance companies, dictating what a doctor can and can’t do.
- Big Pharma is part of the problem as well— greatly influencing what is taught in medical school—give this pill for that problem. But a drop-down menu approach to our health and well-being doesn’t work. It ignores our uniqueness, our nutritional needs, the body’s ability to self-heal, and it creates a worn-out groove of beliefs that overlooks the root cause of ill health and possible real cures. Most treatments or procedures suppress or manage symptoms instead of promoting good health or a cure.
- Research into illness is funded primarily for researchers exploring a new pharmaceutical instead of prevention or any other type of treatment. There is no money in prescribing a healthy diet and lifestyle, but millions, perhaps billions, can be made promoting a pill.
Does this mean that we part ways with the health care community? No. Of course not. There are things that a doctor can and should help us with. So we accept that the health care system is flawed, and we reel in our blind faith and use more discernment when we visit a doctor.
What do we do with our feelings that arise from learning that the health care industry isn’t what we thought it was? We allow ourselves our feelings and then we move on, a bit wiser, more empowered. We take our health and well-being into our own hands, where it has always belonged. We start living the four cornerstones of well-being, eat right, move enough, stress less, and love well. As we do, we gain more confidence in our innate wisdom about our bodies, and we become the best caretakers of them. In other words, we fall in love with ourselves and treat ourselves according. And that, you will never find in a doctor’s office or in a pill. It comes only from our selves.