Something funny happens when you embark on the journey to natural healing… your body can get so excited that you’re taking action that it gets sick. What???? In the Western conventional view of health, sickness is anything other than feeling okay. Sickness is pain, discomfort, runny nose, congestion, coughing, rashes, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, irritability, agitation, sadness, etc. Health, by the same conventional thinking, is the absence of symptoms or discomfort. Conventional health care, by extension, is the means by which these symptoms or discomfort can be reduced or eliminated, by whatever means necessary. So, if you like to end your day in front of the TV with a couple of beers, takeout, and a large bag of potato chips every night, a few things are going to happen. You’re doing your digestive system a disservice and it’ll start complaining. Ignore it enough times (or take some Pepto Bismol) and it feels “fine” and you think it is okay to continue. You gradually put on weight and think it’s a part of the aging process. Your heart has trouble with the increased inflammation in the arteries, so you take some more pills. Now the measurements are in the “normal” range, so everything is “normal”, right? You’re feeling sluggish, but then, so is everyone else, so the energetic ones are the weirdos. You’re comfortable with yourself and think this is health. And then, maybe New Year’s resolutions come along, or a recent injury, health scare, or a suggestion from someone to “try out my chiropractor” and you decide to try out something different. Now, suddenly, discomfort sets in. It may be muscle aches, a return of the headaches, sudden fatigue, increased flatulence, a rash on the arms, or flu-like symptoms. What’s going on? You thought you were doing something that was supposed to be “good” for you!
What happened is that we have mistaken what is sickness and what is health.
True health is the state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being. Health includes accurate perception of internal and external conditions and appropriate, effective, coordinated functioning of all cells, tissues, organs and systems to respond and adapt to internal and external needs and stressors. This means in true health, your mind recognizes when something is out of order and your body does what’s necessary to handle it and keep you healthy. So, if you’re frustrated and agitated, you should be moved to think creatively for solutions, or look for help to solve the problem (as opposed to ignoring it with entertainment or medications). If you’ve eaten too much junk food, your body should eliminate it as quickly as possible and alert you with discomfort to change your eating habits. If you’ve injured yourself, pain (perceived in the mind) will tell you to stop the activity and seek help, while your body will compensate to reduce further injury in the meantime. A healthy mind is aware of what is going on in the body, mind, and surroundings. A healthy body takes appropriate action to expel what doesn’t belong, strengthen to handle increased demands (like more exercise, or pregnancy), grows and develops properly, maintains itself, and heals itself. Optimal health is the body and mind working together, connected via the nervous system.
Our modern lifestyle, however, has taught us that the mind is more important than matter. It started with, “I think, therefore I am” and has taken “mind over matter” to mean that matter (the body) doesn’t really matter if we can change the perception of it with our mind. What does that mean? It means that when you’re stressed or busy, your mind can overcome (ignore) alarm state (pain or symptoms) in the body so you can focus on the current crisis or state of affairs. We have a benign word for that … “tolerance”. In medical terms, it’s “allostasis” your new normal or “comfort zone”, even if it’s not particularly comfortable. We may help suppress the alarm with medications, such as painkillers, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, suppositories, hormone pills, blood pressure medications, antidepressants, etc. (Note: there is a time and a place for medications and emergency medical care. Here, we are talking about non life-threatening conditions that are reversible with lifestyle changes). Our minds can do a good job of suppressing awareness, too, through distraction (entertainment), heavy workloads, and just plain stress. Mind over matter is real. We can purposely downplay bad experiences with our minds to make them more acceptable. Over time, the mind and body fatigue and give up on responding to the alarm. What’s the big deal? Your mind then accepts ever higher levels of toxins, traumas and negative thoughts as your new comfort zone.
The mind can get so used to crisis that it may even learn to desire pain, crisis and trauma and toxins. At the extreme, your mind can become addicted to the highs of negativity. You may crave sugary foods, nicotine, caffeine, drugs, shopping, sex, risky behavior and physical punishment. These activities don’t feel that great, but their absence feels worse, so you continue. The adrenal glands fatigue and their alarms stop sounding. The heart tires of racing and you can have a heart attack. Your cells are no longer responsive to insulin and diabetes sets in. Your liver and kidneys eventually fail. Your muscles go from chronic spasms to weakness. Your skin and breath no longer expel toxins. Your digestion and elimination become sluggish and your whole body and mind slow down. We call this state “mediocrity”.
When you make an attempt to get out of mediocrity, say by starting chiropractic or exercise, you can meet lots of resistance. As the mind regains awareness of the state of the body, and the work ahead can be daunting. The mind then says “it’s too hard”, “it wouldn’t work”, “do I have to go to the trouble?”, “is there an easier way?” or “but I’m comfortable this way”. The body, however, jumps for joy. “Yay!!! I can finally get rid of the pain chemicals!” “I will be able to move normally again!” “It’s about time I got rid of these toxins!” “I’m sick of being weighed down by negative emotions!” As the body begins to expel these toxins, the mind confuses old toxins with new illnesses (because conventional wisdom doesn’t differentiate the two). The mind will fight you in the healing process with excuses like “I didn’t have this pain before” (you did, though), “it’s too expensive”, “we don’t have time for this”, “we were doing just fine before” or “it wasn’t that bad.”
Chiropractic adjustments can open the flood gates so the healing process can begin and continue. As toxins come to the surface of awareness and exit the body, you can experience increased soreness, pain, excess flatulence, diarrhea, burping, sweating, skin rashes, fever, mucous (appearing like a cold), heavy bleeding during the menstrual cycle or increased urination. We call this part of the healing process “detoxification”. The subconscious mind also releases emotional toxins from the vault, such as traumatic memories, hurts, criticisms, feelings of neglect, hopelessness and fear. The mind is actually more afraid of emotional toxins than physical ones because it hits closer to home. That’s why a person may be willing to deal with surface problems, but stops when emotions start getting involved.
The detox process can take weeks to months to years, depending on the person. When this detoxing is most intense, frequent chiropractic adjustments help re-open the healing pathways when the mind gets scared and shuts it down again. It takes a lot of trust for a mind to allow the detox to continue. The amount of time it takes to fully detoxify depends on the amount of accumulated toxins, the body’s ability to detox, the mind’s willingness to allow detox, the continued accumulation of new toxins, and current stress levels. You can facilitate the detox process by getting plenty of rest, drinking copious amounts of water, moving your body constantly (though not necessarily strenuously), eating simply and cleanly, minimizing exposure to new toxins, avoiding mean or upsetting people, being kind to yourself, having fun, getting frequent chiropractic adjustments and engaging in other acts of self-care.
Is detoxing enough for health? Not necessarily, but it is definitely a great way to start. When the toxins are expelled from your body, you can have the strength and energy to take on new challenges and enjoy life more. Life is meant to be celebrated, not merely endured. We want you to live life to the fullest. Corrective chiropractic care is about facing your “demons” (old toxins, traumas, negative thoughts) and freeing them from your mind and body so you can be your truest self and thrive. Your total well-being is worth the investment. People who feel miserable, chronically out-of-synch, had multiple stresses or traumas throughout their lives or have multiple issues going on will need a thorough detoxification and ongoing chiropractic care to restore normal function during the healing process.
If you know of someone looking for a higher level of attention when it comes to their health, please invite them to our New Patient Orientation or contact us for a free consultation with Dr. Sabrina.
Gentle Water Flush Detox
Have you considered doing a fast or detox program and were intimidated at the thought? Here’s a simple, forgiving and effective way to flush out toxins and feel refreshed. Basically, you would drink 4L of water per day for 30 days straight. How? Using a 500mL mug or bottle, drink 1L of water within 30 minutes of waking up, and another 1L in the mid-morning. Yayy!! You’re halfway there! Then, drink 1L in the early afternoon, and another 750mL of water 30 minutes before dinner. The last 250mL you can drink later in the evening. It is better to drink the litre of water quickly, rather than sip slowly, if you want to reduce the number of visits to the washroom. For increased effectiveness, you can add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the water (room temperature or warmer). You will probably be so full of liquid that you will not feel like drinking coffee, tea, pop or juice. Often, people snack on comfort foods or sweets when they are actually thirsty. After 30 days, continue drinking at least 2L of water per day and replace processed foods with more fruits and veggies.
Detox Your Home
Looking to reduce your exposure to toxins in the home? We recommend Iona Bonamis of A Healthy Beginning. Iona is an independent eco-consultant who can do a green audit of your home and offer suggestions to detoxify your living environment. Iona also leads workshops on making your own all-natural cleaning and personal care products. You can also order ready-made products from her and pick them up in our office. Learn more at www.AHealthyBeginning.ca Save 10% on consultations and products with the code: Vancouverchiro