In orthodox medicine, symptoms are mainly seen as the focal point of treatment, a nuisance that needs to be removed either through suppressing drugs or surgery, Yet, alternative medicine recognises that without symptoms we cannot heal. Symptoms are the vehicle through which the body and mind resolve imbalances.
Whereas orthodox medicine is mainly concerned with treating the symptoms, alternative medicine is interested in the individual journey that lead to the development of that symptom expression, as well as the causative factor that set that journey in motion. The fastest way to remove a plant being to cut of its root...not pluck at its leaves.
because each individual journey is unique, so too must the treatment be. although patients may present with similar symptoms, we are more interested in the individual catalysts in their life that brought on such a diseased expression. If three people all arrive for treatment with an acid state of the stomach that causes discomfort, it serves no long term purpose if we concern ourselves entirely with neutralising the acid. We must look to the individual cause for a true and natural cure. The root of one patient's problem may be what they eat (highly acid foods). The second may need to be more aware of how they eat (listening to music or watching telly) giving little attention to proper mastication. The third patient may have an underlying nervous state caused by emotional conflicts which is hindering proper digestion. This means that the parasympathetic nervous system that plays a role in digestion will not be fully functional.
In orthodox medicine, a patient presents with a condition that is diagnosed by the related symptoms associated with that condition. Ultimately, the condition is treated as an expression in isolation. Drugs are chosen that match the disease.
In alternative medicine, chronic conditions are seen as the end result of a longstanding decline that has undergone a series of symptom transformations as the body tries to cope with the unresolved cause and, in many cases, suppressing orthodox treatment.
We can see this downward decline expressed over many years as follows: acute, sub-acute, chronic and degenerative disease. If we think of health as the point at the top of the list, situated before acute expressions, then those presenting with chronic conditions must return up the ladder of progression to return to a state of health. Yet, they cannot achieve this through by-passing the various layers of disease manifestation that they initially passed through on their decline in health. To achieve health again, the patient must return back through the chronological layers they passed down through in their disease development. As they go through each of these phases, disease expressions from their past will return and resolve themselves. During this process various natural laws and healing patterns will be expressed that stand as a marker for natural therapists to determine that a healing crisis is underway.
Hering's law tells us that the body heals from top to bottom, inside-out, and the first shall be last. This sounds quite straightforward on paper, but at times can take some understanding given the complex mixture of developments that manifest in a live patient.
In my view, the reason the body heals from top to bottom is, it pushes potentially destructive toxins out towards the extremities and away from the more vital organs. Likewise we see this process in the law of inside-out, where the skin and other routes of expulsion in the body are asked to take on the task of resolving the toxic strain.
Finally, the idea of the first symptom being the last to resolve betrays the importance of chronology in disease and the continuity of symptoms through time. This rejects the orthodox concept of isolated disease and treatment. As the body heals itself, layers of disease will be pulled back and re-exposed like the layers of skin on an onion, until the core condition is returned to. In this sense we can see how the return of symptoms, especially "historical" ones is a sign of healing and not of sickness. In this way we can understand the importance of symptoms and start to work with them rather than fear and suppress them.
there are a number of patterns created during the healing process. However, the one I see most often is found dominantly in chronic patients.
In this case the patient will go through a series of waves. Initially, with the onset of treatment they often experience a decline in symptoms. For me, this reflects the intelligence of the body recognising the potential of the herbs it has recently been given. The lack of symptoms at this point is like the calm before the storm as the body prepares itself to intensify the healing process. In chronic cases this will mean a transition back to expressions of expulsion from those of storage found in chronic cases.
As the healing proceeds the patient will experience longer phases of symptoms until this process reaches its zenith. This is the stage I have called "The Deep Valley" This is a very difficult time for many patients brought up in the orthodox understanding of disease where an increase in symptoms is associated with a decline in health. However, this is in fact an indication of increased vitality as the initial chronic state was too congested to muster such a heroic expression.
Once the patient makes it through this point the periods of low symptom activity become longer followed by brief bursts of acute activity. This may repeat itself several times before the condition is finally resolved.
This is a basic foundation of holistic principles, but enough for us to begin looking at some real case histories. I will illustrate these principles in more detail as we go through the individual cases.
In my next post we will begin to follow the case of a woman who was experiencing a skin complaint that had plagued her for around 25 years until she came to me for treatment. I hope you will log in to follow this fascinating story of healing.
Health and Happiness
The Green Man