Feb 1, 2010
1) What is harming you and needs to be removed
to permit your body to heal?
2) What is lacking or what does your body need
to promote healing?
[Dr Frank Lipman comments] ...for any chronic illness or ailment, treating underlying imbalances and dysfunctions is more important than making a diagnosis and naming the disease.
...most if not all chronic problems...have multiple factors that need to be addressed - this is called the total load.
The TOTAL LOAD is the sum of the factors that influence a person’s life and health, including diet, exercise, job stress, relationships, state of mind etc. Individually, each of these elements might not cause a problem, but their cumulative effect can overload our normal functioning and cause harm. Everyone’s tipping point is different and each of us manifests or experiences overload in our own unique way.
For example, several patients may all be diagnosed with IBS but the individual factors underlying their illnesses may be varied, meaning that each requires different treatments to address their specific problems. Simply diagnosing these patients with IBS, obscures this critical fact.
Dr Frank always assesses the total load on his patients, and then tries to reduce it by slowly removing the factors that could cause harm. At the same time, I will add new elements that will nourish them in order to enhance the healing process.
e.g. YOU MAY NEED TO ADJUST THE AMOUNT OF:
--SUGAR, CHEMICALS, CAFFEINE, or ALCOHOL;
--TENSION in your muscles;
--SLEEP, PLAY, LOVE, JOY, RELAXATION.
To understand the concept of total load, think of yourself as a ship floating in the water. Depending on the load you’re carrying, you are either riding high above the waterline or sinking beneath the waves. And just as you can save a sinking ship by tossing some ballast overboard to lighten the load, your health can be improved by reducing the overall number of factors that cause stress to your system. The good news is that frequently you may only need to identify two or three factors to toss overboard in order to feel better.
Unfortunately, I, like all doctors was never taught this at medical school. Instead, we were taught to name it, blame it and tame it. That is to look at the symptoms, signs and test results, make a diagnosis, name the disease and treat it.
This model works well for the acute or short-lived illnesses [common 70-80 years ago] and for crisis care management [heart attack, burst appendix, a broken bone, acute bacterial infection like pneumonia].
MAGIC BULLET THINKING:
Due to the incredible success of antibiotics in treating most infectious diseases, we have extrapolated that model, looking for a single cause with a magic bullet treatment, and adapted this thinking to all diseases.
But most complaints today are not acute illnesses, rather chronic problems, which are not served well by this model in which varied complex disease processes are reduced to a single diagnosis.
Giving a set of observations a name and treating the named problem does not help us understand the origin of the problem and its causes, which are usually multi-factorial.
This name-it, blame-it and tame-it
medical paradigm is not particularly
effective for the chronic diseases
which are so endemic today.
I want to make it clear, a label or descriptive name for a problem is not a bad thing–it is often reassuring to know what we have. I do not want to under-estimate the significance of this. Unfortunately we have been habituated to assume that if we know the diagnosis and the name of our disease we will know how to not only treat it, but fix it...this is not true.
Doctors are increasingly practicing from the vantage point of an outdated and ineffective model and are not addressing the needs of the millions of patients who come to them with complicated chronic problems. They give them drugs to suppress symptoms and do not address the underlying physiological imbalances that produce these symptoms. Therefore we do not change the course of the disease and often end up causing more harm than good because the underlying problem persists and many people develop side effects from the drugs.
Luckily... there is a new science-based model
for chronic diseases, called
that deals with the underlying causes instead
of just suppressing symptoms.
It is a true mix of Chinese and Western Medicine.
This new medicine is SYSTEMS-BASED BIOLOGY rather than disease-focused.
It redefines chronic disease as a functional alteration in the physiological network that requires a systems biology approach to its management, improving both the safety and effectiveness of treatments.
This model helps us understand how the disruptions of molecular pathways cause dysfunctions in various body systems that then result in disease. It is less concerned with a diagnosis and more concerned with the underlying dysfunctions that lead to the symptoms and the disease.
THE DOCTOR AS GARDENER APPROACH:
My Chinese Medicine teachers taught me to think of myself as a gardener when I see patients. When a plant or tree is not growing well, when the leaves are drooping and turning yellow, we do not call it yellow leaf syndrome and paint the leaves green or cut off the sick part. The gardener evaluates why the plant is not growing well. He determines whether the plant is getting enough or too much sunlight, enough or too much water, the soil rich and balanced in order to nourish the plant? And he looks to see if the roots are being impinged upon, and if so, what needs to be removed.
Even though you may have been given a diagnosis, always ask these two questions with any chronic problem:
1) What is harming you and needs to be removed to permit your body to heal?
2) What is lacking or what does your body need to promote healing?
Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the
Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC a center
whose emphasis is on preventive health care and
patient education. Books: SPENT: End Exhaustion
and Feel Great Again (2009) and Total Renewal;
7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term
Care2 article page 1 click here page 2 click here
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.
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