In consulting with a new patient, the seasoned practitioner of holistic medicine will often have a clear sense of the course of treatment needed to help the patient. Time and experience are our best teachers in this regard. The real challenge in medicine is not simply the conveyance of information but in empowering a patient to take care of his or herself. Considering the vast majority from which we suffer is directly rooted to our choices and lifestyle, this level of intervention is critical to deep and long-term healing. In this way, there are four main areas where patients falter in their healing quest.
The first step in healing is starting with the right information while filtering out disinformation. This is one of the main objectives of the holistic practitioner. Often a patient will present with an array of confusing signs and symptoms and will have gone to multiple specialists. This is where the holistic principle of treating the person (as opposed to the disease) has its greatest strength. By leveraging the basics of human health, such as proper diet and adequate sleep, most all chronic health challenges will improve.
The greatest obstacle to the healing wisdom of traditional medicine therefore is disinformation. This is especially true in the realm of diet where big food corporations strive to sell nutrient-poor processed foods with the biggest profit margin. This doesn’t stop them from pasting any number of health claims on the boxes and bags of the fake food that they peddle.
Having the right information and guidance from a holistic practitioner does not guarantee success, however. Far from it; most patients encounter obstacles in how they organize their lives that directly impede progress. One of the most common is not having or making time to heal.
Time is a precious resource that is often undervalued by the working-class of the western world. A practitioner can provide all the right advice, but if a patient is too busy and stressed, they will often succumb to fast food and convenience foods. Sleep becomes a luxury instead of a necessity. Exercise is often a casualty of the time-strapped. Or, the most ironic, a person is too busy to come in for treatments even when they are providing substantial relief?!
Sometimes a patient has the right information and sufficient time with which to implement change, but lacks the will to do so. This is perhaps the most concerning of the roadblocks to healing. There is no one way to motivate patients to take care of themselves. Some resist healing due to a lack of self-worth. Perhaps a patient feels guilty and deserving of their pain or disease. Others get some sort of psychological or social benefit from being ill. Maybe having pain excuses you from some dreaded responsibility. Still others prolong suffering as a means of retribution. Staying injured through the duration of a lawsuit from a car collision may prove how wronged you were and how worthy you are of compensation. Whatever the case, your mind, body, and spirit all need to be on board for healing and a faltering in any one dimension of your willpower makes the journey all the more arduous.
Finally, if the knowledge is there, time has been made, and a person is ready and willing to heal but they lack organization, their healing efforts are likely to be compromised. Biology is an exercise in organization whereby lifeforms of increasing complexity show ever more refined degrees of organization. Indeed, we are an organism because we are an organization of cells.
Reinforcing this are the rhythms and rituals that accompany human beings. Our healing efforts too must develop as a routine in order to gain the most benefit. We must be conscious of sleeping and exercising regularly, nourish ourselves with great consistency, and if prescribed medicines, we must remember to take them as prescribed. All of this requires that we have a fair amount of control over our lives and our daily routine.
The relationship between patient and practitioner is a participation driven process. Only in working as a team, with compliance and trust, will the best results be achieved.