THE WISDOM OF THE BODY
The human organism has survived several hundred thousand years because it is an amazing miracle worker at defending and healing itself. Although conventional medicine has created some of its own technological miracles, they don’t compare to the depth and breadth of miracles that the body creates every moment of every day as it staves off innumerable infective agents and adapts to untold subtle and not so subtle stresses.
The inner doctor works continuously, and one does not have to tell the inner doctor what to do: it does its work automatically and with an evolved sophistication that is truly inspired.
Conventional physicians know about this innate wisdom, but tend to ignore it and intervene too often, thinking that they know more than the inner doctor. Inevitably, this arrogance creates its own problems, such as when doctors overprescribe drugs that lead to side effects and addiction.
A fundamental flaw in conventional medical thinking is that physicians tend to assume that symptoms represent the disease itself, that symptoms signify that something is wrong with the person’s health, and that these symptoms need to be controlled, managed, or eliminated. In fact, the word "symptom" is derived from Greek and means "sign" or "signal." A symptom is not a disease itself but a sign or signal of it. Getting rid of the signal does not necessarily affect the original reason for its being there. Seeking to eliminate a symptom is akin to unplugging a car’s low-oil-warning light when it comes on. Needless to say, although this "treatment" may "work," it doesn’t change the fundamental cause of the signaling.
Although symptoms may indeed suggest that a person’s health is disturbed, homeopaths and a growing number of modern physiologists recognize that symptoms are adaptive responses of the organism to stress or infection. As such, symptoms are efforts of the body to defend and heal itself.
Because symptoms are inherent defenses of the body, eliminating them without affecting the original source of the problem tends to suppress the body’s innate healing responses (a more detailed discussion on suppressing symptoms is provided in Chapter 2). This suppression inhibits healing, and because the organism always seeks to defend and heal itself in the most effective way possible based on its present abilities, secondary treatments are not as effective or as efficient as efforts to affect the original source of the problem.
For instance, a nasal discharge is a response of the body to viruses that cause the common cold. This nasal discharge is composed of dead virus and dead white blood cells. If a person with a cold takes a medication that dries up mucous membranes, he or she will be unable to eliminate this dead matter through the nose, which inevitably leads to head and chest congestion. The body is not as efficient in spitting out mucus through the mouth as it is in discharging it from the nose, and the resulting chest congestion is more likely to lead to more serious health problems than those which occur from a common cold.
A profoundly different perspective on health and healing emerges when one realizes that a person’s symptoms are actually defenses of the body. Instead of treating, controlling, inhibiting, managing, or suppressing symptoms, as is commonly the approach in conventional medicine, therapies that augment the body’s own defenses and that support and even mimic them ultimately make more sense.
Such is the approach used in homeopathic medicine.
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