June, 2017 Newsletter

Whole Woman News

We are a bit more than half way through the creation of a new online video course, Save Your Hips. It has been my intent for some time to fill out our library of online video courses. We have completed in-depth video courses for prolapse, urinary incontinence, post-hysterectomy, and postpartum.

In preparing for this course, I've been diving into the latest orthopedic research. I must confess it is very depressing. Orthopedics is embodying the worst of Western medicine, literally creating "conditions" out of thin air for which complex, expensive, highly invasive, and destructive surgery is presented to patients as the only answer. And increasingly, these patients are teenage athletes whose hip joints are literally being violently torn apart in the interest of "repair" and “correction."

If you have or want to prevent chronic hip pain (which you should), you will want to take a serious look at this video, which will be available in a few weeks. You'll be hearing more as we get closer to completion.

Self-Care

Central to the Whole Woman work is the notion of self-care. Self-care implies taking responsibility for our own health. This is the antithesis of how we have been raised in the West, that the man/woman in the white coat has the answers and we should just do what they tell us.

There are a number of dimensions to this idea of self-care that are worth elaborating.

No one knows your body better than you.

Most medical treatments are based on research, which typically is based on working with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of research subjects. The results are based on what seems to work best for a statistically significant percentage of subjects. That doesn't mean a particular drug or other treatment will work properly for you.

No doctor can know your body with the level of intimacy that you know yourself. He or she can only make reasonable guesses about what treatments are likely to work for you. He or she only has your description of what you are experiencing and cannot know your experience at the level you do. This applies not only to what health problems you may be experiencing, but also to what benefits you may be experiencing as you get better.

Your doctor may be making educated guesses, but they are still guesses.

Your doctor cannot give you all the information you need.

There are two aspects to this point. The first is the fact that your doctor is a prisoner in the medical system. He or she can only do or prescribe what he or she has been taught, and that meets established "standards of care." Doctors dare not step outside these boundaries for fear of massive malpractice liability and or facing the contempt of their peers. This contempt does not necessarily just mean being socially ostracized. It may mean not being allowed visiting privileges in hospitals that are essential to his or her practice.

The second issue is that doctors and their patients all too often have an economic conflict of interest with each other. This is particularly true of the surgical disciplines. Surgeons want to do surgery. It's how they were trained, it's what they like to do, and most importantly, it is what pays their bills. Do you think gynecologists make any money doing PAP smears? No, they make their money doing hysterectomies and surgical "repairs."

The reason conflict of interest is such an important concept in legal circles is because human beings, even with the best of intentions, are likely to shade their advice and opinions in ways that serve their own interests. So can you assume that your doctor will take the time to tell you all the risks and ramifications of a particular treatment, when doing so may dissuade you from proceeding with the treatment? No.

And understand that doctors are just the face the patients see of the giant, heartless machine, which is the drug and surgical supply juggernaut. This machine does not have your best interests at heart. Its sole interest is extracting as much money as possible from your health problem.

When facing a health challenge, you need all the information you can find.

The corollary to the previous point is that you need all the information you can get when making decisions that may have a significant impact, both positive and negative, on the rest of your life.

Of course, you should listen to what your doctor tells you. You just can't assume that what you have been told is either true or complete. You need to do your homework. Fortunately, the internet has made more information available than ever before in history. Unfortunately, not all of it is sensible or reliable. Yes, researching a condition you may be experiencing takes time and effort, but it's your life. Turning your care over to someone else and trusting they will do the right thing by you is very dangerous.

Talking with chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, herbalists, and practitioners of other "alternative" modalities will at least expose you to other methods, philosophies, and approaches to your condition that may involve less risk and may well be effective for you. You don't know if you don't ask.

Obviously if you've been in a car crash, trauma is what the western medical system does best. However, chronic conditions are their blind spot. And with a chronic condition, you have more time to explore and do your research.

Yes, we all lead busy lives and taking the time to do this kind of fact finding can be a serious imposition. But the imposition is not nearly so serious as undergoing a surgical intervention that may degrade your quality of life for decades.

Listen to your body.

A concept related to our first point of discussion is that we need to pay attention to our bodies. Again, all our lives we have been told to ignore or anesthetize our discomfort. "Take two aspirin and call me in the morning" has been a cliche for a doctor's response to a patient complaint.

We are not taught in Western culture to appreciate the value of pain. As I have said many times before, pain is only a pointer. That is its sole function, to call our attention to something that needs attention.

Ignoring, or as male sports culture is fond of saying "pushing through the pain", is not sensible and dishonors the astonishing sensitivity with which the body communicates to us what it needs.

Ultimately, the problem we face is that we may have to change our behavior to successfully respond to what our body is trying to tell us. We may realize that our body is telling us that we need to wear different shoes, exercise more, drink less, rest more, change our diet, lose weight. How rude that our body should try to impose on our freedom to abuse ourselves however we wish!

But good health and self-care require an appreciation that this physical body in which our consciousness is localized, requires nurturing and care if it is to fulfill its potential and keep us healthy and alert for whatever span of life we have been granted.

Run experiments.

We frequently get calls at Whole Woman, and in my consultations I am frequently asked questions about whether it is OK to do this or that.

This is why knowing and listening to your body is so essential. I can't tell you if rock climbing is safe for a woman with prolapse. But your body knows. Run the experiment and see what happens. If you have developed a healthy and interactive relationship with your body, you will soon know whether a specific activity as you have always done it will be healthy for you or not.

I emphasize "how you have always done it" because running, for example, is great exercise for prolapse, if you are in Whole Woman posture! If you are not, you are asking for trouble. So you may find that whatever activity you want to resume, you may need to approach it in a different way. So run experiments and pay attention. Your body will teach you what you need to know.

Test one variable at a time. If, for example, you try to change your diet, exercise program, and sleep patterns all at the same time, you will not be able to isolate how each of these changes may be adding to or detracting from your quality of health.

Health is life.

In the West, sadly we have be acculturated to ignore our bodies, assume we will live forever, trust authority in health related matters, feel like victims when a health issue surfaces, and assume that the body is so resilient that we can largely ignore it without consequence.

The result of this cultural attitude is an unsustainable impact of humanity on the planet.

A conventional lifestyle is not the path to health. The face you see in the mirror each morning is not the face that was there yesterday.

Your body is constantly being replaced. You have a new liver every six weeks. The lining of your stomach is replaced every three days. Your entire skeletal system has been replaced each year. The building blocks of this reconstruction are the foods you eat, the water you drink, and the air you breathe.

Every day we live, breathe, eat, serve, and enjoy each other's company is a precious gift. It is not narcissism to nurture and care for the body. It is honoring and respecting this gift. What happens after we draw our last breath we cannot know for certain until that moment comes.

Attending to our health is not about fear of dying. It is about maximizing the quality and quantity of our lives. Then as the end draws near, as it does for everyone, we can be at peace that we made the best of what we were given.

Best wishes

Christine Kent
Founder
Whole Woman