This is the beginning of the new series whereby I will be presenting to you some of the cases I have treated over the years, and illuminating the developments with reference to some fundamental holistic principles.
Over the years I have been in practice, I am often asked, when people discover that I am a herbalist, "what is it you do?"
This would seem like a simple enough question, until I tried to come up with an answer. For the sake of simplicity, I used to say that I am like a doctor but working with herbs. However, this bothered me immensely for, although there are some minor connections, as a holistic practitioner, I work very little like a doctor. We both practice a form of medicine....but some of the fundamental principles by which we understand disease differ, and subsequently the approach we take to heal it.
My next attempt to answer the question "what is it you do?" also failed because it involved a rather long winded explanation on my part that usually left the poor individual rolling their eyes...or moving their gaze over my shoulder...or thinking that death would be more merciful, which is a rather poor development for a healer.
I now say something along the lines of....."I am a holistic practitioner who incorporates the use of herbs and other therapies to facilitate the body's own healing process." There are of course other aspects of the human condition that may require healing, such as the emotional and spiritual. However, I only delve into the deeper explanation if I detect a genuine interest in me expanding on my initial pitch.
As you have all entered this website of your own free will, I will assume that you are really interested in what it is that I do....So I shall offer you a longer explanation. In fact, I need to give you a foundation in holistic principles if you are to understand, in a comprehensive fashion, what is actually developing in the cases I will be presenting to you. Please do not feel hard done by for having to go through this process. This is the same process that every patient who comes to me has to go through on their first visit. The explanation is vital to the success of the treatment since most of us have been brought up in the understanding of disease and healing offered by orthodox medicine. In the orthodox tradition, we are conditioned to believe that the role of the healer is to make the symptoms go away, as quickly as possible. Subsequently, this is the expectation of the patient. If the patient is not introduced to another perspective on symptoms, and their function in the healing process, then their experience of a holistic approach may be one of disappointment.
It is at this point that we need to re-think how we view symptoms and disease.
Firstly, symptoms are a physical/emotional expression of our attempt to regain the natural balance disturbed by a causative factor. Although there is only one primary causative factor, there may be other secondary contributing factors. If these destructive influences are not resolved, and/or the use of suppressing, symptom oriented, treatment is allowed to continue (like antibiotics or steroid treatments) then a downward decline will begin, remaining unchecked unless the cause is finally addressed.
In orthodox medicine each disease tends to be treated as an individual and isolated expression that matches a list or symptoms, allowing for diagnosis and the implementation of a set, disease oriented, treatment (usually pharmaceutical or surgical).
In holistic medicine we see dis-ease as a individual expression running through a strata of decline. The initial two expressions are those of an acute and sub-acute nature. This is the phase of expulsion. The expression being more heroic with respect to the nature of the symptoms ( this would include symptoms like mucous from the nose or airway, fever, sweating, diarrhoea, urinary frequency, rash etc). If the cause remains unaltered then over time vitality is lost. Short heroic expressions become intermittent ones, and the nature of disease changes. If this process continues then further vitality is lost, so that such heroic expressions can no longer be mustered. At this point the disease development evolves into the phase of storage...such as tumours and arthritic complaints...or chronic conditions like chronic bronchitis, where phlegm is ever present and no longer fully resolved for any given period. At this stage, means of expulsion have been overwhelmed, and often one or more of these methods are no longer working up to par. On the physical level, the body responds by storing toxins away from the more vital organs (in the limbs, the joints, the muscles as crystals or as lumps on or under the skin) in the hope that an opportunity will arrive at a later date to eventually clear the overload.
If this decline remains unaltered then the final degenerative expressions develop whereby physical change occurs, and even death. It is at this point that the vitality is at its lowest. Although these conditions are more serious, there is still a hope to improve the quality of life and even turn some conditions around.
In my next post I will touch on the route back to health, and the natural healing patterns.
Health and Happiness
The Green Man