Over the thanksgiving holiday I found myself picking up and reading lots of ‘wellness’ articles in various newspapers and magazines. Tis the season. The recipe for not feeling our best during November and December: a dollop of overindulgence at holiday gatherings, a bowlful of reasons to miss exercise and sleep, and a heaping serving of list-generated stress. Blend it all with short days and colder temps and voila — lots of column inches filled! The remedies? Oh – need we say pharmaceuticals ( for example antidepressants) and devices (think light therapy)? The answer for whatever ails us has to be external to us.
I can not resist reading these articles. The game for me is quessing how far buried in the text will be what I am looking for — the or.
After the discussion of some aptly-named syndrome and the various interventions offered (usually making someone $) there usually is the gratuitous “or.” You can spend a fortune on prescription medications, treatments, special equipment… or – you can eat sensibly and get some outdoor exercise. When are we going to get it?
The more natural we live — eating the freshest, least mucked-with food we can find and using our bodies for purposeful movement in whatever way is possible for us – the better we feel.
The mystery to me is why all the health charities and foundations have thrown in their lot with the medical-ag-industrial complex (MAIC). In my view -the real purpose for much of what goes on in the MAIC is to generate ever-more syndromes that need to be diagnosed and treated. Why are we not supporting research that really looks at what it is that makes us well — and for the most part keeps us well?
Our physiologies are complex systems and sure, things can go wrong — but in general, they work most of the time. Particularly if kept in balance. Clean water, good food, fresh air, purposeful activity. Medical care appropriately provided is part and parcel of the overall package – but think about it — how many times do we find our interactions with the medical establishment unsatisfactory? Too often – when they have little to offer for what ails us they deflect to something they can provide. The recent epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency being a perfect example – they can test for it and they can give you something to take. And the likelihood of doing harm is small while the chances that you may eventually feel better on your own are high.
Foundations with a professed interest in health should be more willing to challenge researchers to question the basic ideas we currently use to think about what it means to be well.