This is an excerpt from my upcoming book The Healing Rebel
I think it’s important to start at understanding how dis-ease appears in our bodies. In my research I looked a lot to the Eastern methods for inspiration and understanding, there they have 5000 years of procedures and processes and Western science is slowly starting to produce the evidence to back up what the East has rarely questioned as they know and understand intuitively and with wisdom.
Everything in the body is connected. The body and the mind are powerful and you can’t have one without the other so to separate them, even to separate the different functions of the body just doesn’t make sense to me.
These 6 stages are taken from principles of Ayurveda.
Accumulation – if we are in tune with ourselves and our bodies, we might at this point feel a bit out of balance, when you just don’t feel right. There may not be any symptoms at this point but you know you don’t feel your vibrant self. If we are not in tune with ourselves or our body then we might not even notice anything at all. You might be aware of cravings, the body always sends signals of what it needs to rebalance. The body is so smart it knows exactly what it needs, it’s us that are not so smart at recognising the cravings and what we need to rebalance. It could be anything from sleep to a particular food.
Aggravation – if we haven’t balanced those cravings we move to the next stage, again if we are not in tune with our bodies we may not be aware that the signals we are getting are symptoms. They might be minor complaints like acid reflux or indigestion, gas, dry skin. Even if we notice, maybe even complain about it, we might take an indigestion sweet or put on some cream but not give it much thought.
Spreading – now we start to become more aware of symptoms, enough that we might mention it or talk about it more. Not enough that you would go to a doctor about it. Other systems in the body are starting to become unbalanced at this time and maybe other symptoms that you don’t necessarily connect to the initial imbalance; sleep deprivation, low libido, painful periods, dandruff, toothache, headaches, yeast infections, skin breakouts etc.
Stages 1 – 3 will impose some annoyance, but wouldn’t disrupt your life. You would be able to continue as you were (remember, we can throw a lot of shit at our bodies before they start to malfunction). You may even push aside the symptoms and keep going as you are with the thought that you will deal with it when you have your week’s holiday in a couple of months. In these 3 stages, small changes can make a significant improvement and reverse what’s going on. You can rebalance fairly easily in these stages. It takes us being aware, awake and connected to ourselves, our bodies and our actions. Rest, a change in behaviours would do you the world of good.
Relocation – In Chinese medicine they refer to Chi, in India Ayurveda it’s Prana. These terms are referring to your energetic life force. Western medicine (which needs science to back anything up before it will take it on) is starting to make a connection to quantum physics. The East has known and accepted for thousands of years of these energy forces and know that when the pathways get blocked or weaken, imbalance is happening at a deep, cellular level. At this point we will start to identify these imbalances as not feeling well.
Manifestation – symptoms are clear, it is at this stage that we in the west are most likely to seek medical help, when you are in the doctors waiting room, the majority of the people there are at stage 5. Life has started to be disrupted by the imbalances. You are most likely at the point where you need to take time off work (if you don’t you are going to really slow your recovery down).
Chronic dis-ease – this is where we now have a fully manifested structural change in the cells and body (in my case Crohn’s). Other changes and complications can show up in other organs and functions. I know many people that have chronic conditions and they are not just dealing with one thing anymore. In some cases they are visiting a selection of ‘ologists at the hospital and on a pharmacy pick n’ mix of medications.
I am going to vent the frustration I have with Western medicine. More and more they seem to be picking the body apart and only dealing with one symptom in one part of the body. So, the gastroenterologist will only be able to deal with dis-ease of the gastrointestinal tract. The cardiologist will only deal with dis-ease of the heart. The haematologist will only deal with dis-ease of the blood, and so the list goes on. It seems to be very rare they get together to try to put pieces of the jigsaw together. It is essential to have specialists in each area, there is too much to know about everything BUT it would be ideal to have someone that gathered all the data to look at our bigger picture holistically.
My personal experience of Eastern medicine is to look at all the symptoms, including body and mind and find out what is not working correctly. In fixing that, these symptoms go away and balance is restored. It’s like making sure that your dominoes are all set up correctly so when the first one goes they all tip evenly and in the right order.
I don’t believe that one is the only answer. An integrated approach is definitely more effective. I have been able to take information discovered by my western doctor and pass it to my eastern doctor to get help and vice versa.
Here in the UK the NHS is chronically overstretched, we are constantly hearing that it’s on the brink of collapse (as I mentioned in the previous chapter I have been hearing this for years!). When it was initially set up it was to help people with acute conditions. Now it is overloaded with people suffering with chronic illness. We are not losing anywhere as many people to infectious diseases, however we have an immense number of people living with chronic illness which is having an impact on their quality of life. In my opinion there really isn’t enough emphasis on things we can do on a daily basis to look after our health (that’s what this book is for).
We seem to live in a time where people are constantly looking for a magic pill that allows us to ignore our symptoms and live off balance responsibility free. We are surrounded by marketing strategies that are selling us food, drink and lifestyles that make promises these things will make us happy. Instead it’s making us sick, disconnected, and unhappy and we want a pill for that.
Much of the information out there is confusing, conflicting and overwhelming that people throw in the towel and say ‘ah well, somethings going to kill me…’ So many people are suffering and feel stuck on a hamster wheel. They don’t feel as though they can take back their power, they are likely too exhausted to take back their power so just reach for a coffee or energy drink to drag themselves through the day.
It’s time to take back our power and get back to basics.
It’s important to separate the dis-ease from the person, if you are diagnosed with a dis-ease, it’s important to not let it become your identity. I am not a Crohn’s patient, I am a patient with Crohn’s. It’s not ‘my Crohn’s’ it’s ‘the Crohn’s’. I think the language we use is vitally important. ‘My anxiety’, ‘my depression’, ‘my condition’ is attaching to it. It’s not you, it’s something you are experiencing.