Could the an­swer to your health al­ready lie in­side you?

The Taos News - - HEALTH - Bob Fies

The word “health” sim­ply means “whole,” that is, un­di­vided and one with our true na­ture.

Na­ture it­self is one with us as ac­tive evolv­ing parts. We wake, work, sleep and cre­ate friend­ships and fam­i­lies in­ter­con­nected with all else in the nat­u­ral world. So our health is both nat­u­ral and com­plex, with an un­fath­omable num­ber of mov­ing in­ter­de­pen­dent parts.

For­tu­nately, our bac­te­rial an­ces­tors dat­ing back bil­lions of years, and their de­scen­dants, gave each of us the DNA of cham­pi­ons. They sur­vived all their chal­lenges and passed on their learn­ing. We have each re­ceived a unique set of DNA that gives us spe­cific in­struc­tions on how to sur­vive and thrive.

Heal­ers of old rec­og­nized this and worked to en­cour­age our in­born nat­u­ral mech­a­nisms and of­ten used herbs and foods to as­sist re­cov­ery. The Greek physi­cian Hip­pocrates of an­cient times said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

Un­for­tu­nately, both our con­nec­tion to the nat­u­ral world and our abil­ity to tune in to and re­spond to our body’s wis­dom have been un­der threat. In this mod­ern, fast-paced world we are sub­jected to in­cred­i­ble pres­sures: information over­load; eco­nomic ma­nip­u­la­tions; pro­cessed foods full of un­nat­u­ral sug­ars, grains, and fats; mes­sages that en­cour­age us to over­con­sume; thou­sands of un­nat­u­ral chem­i­cals that threaten the vi­tal­ity of our soil, wa­ter, air, and bod­ies; and a dizzy­ing ar­ray of elec­tro­mag­netic ra­di­a­tions that af­fect vi­tal func­tions.

In the last hun­dred years, we’ve be­come in­creas­ingly be­sieged by chronic ill­nesses. Main­stream medicine deals beau­ti­fully with acute prob­lems, such as in­fec­tion and trauma. It of­fers less help for mod­ern mal­adies, such as de­pres­sion, drug abuse, obe­sity, di­a­betes, coronary dis­ease, cancer, arthri­tis and Alzheimer’s.

What can we do? Maybe the an­swer to sep­a­ra­tion lies in re­con­nec­tion. Ever won­der why you feel so good look­ing up at Taos Moun­tain, or a beau­ti­ful sun­set, or when walk­ing along our mag­nif­i­cent gorge? Could it be that we yearn to get back in touch with our true na­ture?

Years ago Dr. Dean Or­nish was newly out of med­i­cal school when he pub­lished two ground­break­ing stud­ies show­ing that coronary dis­ease could be re­versed by life­style changes; he de­ter­mined that sep­a­ra­tion it­self is a po­tent cause of fa­tal heart at­tacks. And the cure for that sep­a­ra­tion may sim­ply be in shar­ing our hopes and true feel­ings with oth­ers, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to dis­cover and fol­low our in­her­ent de­sires.

By ex­er­cis­ing, eat­ing wisely, and lis­ten­ing to their feel­ings, peo­ple re­gained the health that was in them all along. Wow! So the an­swers to our mod­ern mal­adies lie in how we con­duct our lives. Can we step back from the hus­tle and bus­tle, put down our hand­held de­vices, lis­ten to and fol­low the wis­dom within? In Ram Das’s words, can we “Be here now?”

I learned some in­ter­est­ing his­tory re­cently. Af­ter Doc Martin’s death in 1936, Dr. Ash­ley Pond be­came the town doc­tor, a huge un­der­tak­ing. He helped de­velop and staff our first real hospi­tal given by Ma­bel Dodge Luhan.

He was an in­tel­li­gent and cu­ri­ous man. He trav­eled and learned how heal­ing oc­curs in dif­fer­ent cul­tures and put these into prac­tice for his pa­tients and fam­ily. De­pend­ing on his pa­tient’s un­der­stand­ing, he might send them to a cu­ran­dera or to a medicine man. He might em­ploy hyp­no­sis for self-heal­ing or use herbs. He even some­times used acupunc­ture to suc­cess­fully in­duce sur­gi­cal anes­the­sia. He used what­ever works to re­store “whole­ness,” a prin­ci­ple of “mod­ern” in­te­gra­tive medicine.

Nowa­days we have spe­cial­iza­tion and a va­ri­ety of health care pro­fes­sion­als to help us. In­te­gra­tive Medicine de Taos strives to ed­u­cate “pa­tients” (that’s all of us) that we have the abil­ity and re­spon­si­bil­ity to cre­ate our own health. When we need help, we can part­ner with what­ever prac­ti­tion­ers best meet our needs: main­stream med­i­cal, naturopathic, tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, chi­ro­prac­tic, phys­i­cal ther­apy, nu­tri­tion­ist, mas­sage, psy­chol­o­gist, coun­selor, min­is­ter, yoga, tai chi, and so on. And we en­cour­age all health prac­ti­tion­ers to learn about each other’s skills and work to­gether for the health of our com­mu­nity.

In­te­gra­tive Medicine de Taos is a 501c3 or­ga­ni­za­tion that presents pub­lic dis­cus­sions on crit­i­cal health top­ics the first Mon­day of the month at the Kit Car­son Elec­tric Board­room. Find out more on the web­site imdt. life.

Bob Fies, mod­er­a­tor, is a re­tired in­ternist whose pas­sion is em­pow­er­ing peo­ple in their own self-care. You can reach him at bob­[email protected] taos­

We have each re­ceived a unique set of DNA that gives us spe­cific in­struc­tions on how to sur­vive and thrive.

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