“If you are not your own doctor you are a fool.” – Hippocrates
Harsh words, Hippocrates. I don’t like to call people fools, but I am definitely a believer in being your own doctor. I think too many people are delegating this privilege to someone outside of themselves, which mainly ends up being a professional in a white jacket called a doctor. It makes me think of the time I heard someone say “trust yourself and question everything.” I loved both the simplicity & profoundness so I typed it into the notes in my phone immediately. This mindset of trusting yourself and questioning everything is the very essence of being your own doctor, which you can apply to not only your health, but pretty much every area of life. The bottom line is to trust your intuition or “gut feeling” above all else.
What I always tell potential clients and reiterate to current clients is “You are your own best doctor. You know yourself way better than I or anyone else does.” From certain foods positively or negatively affecting them, to their mindset & mental/emotional state, to what joints & muscles they need to strengthen, and much more. I tell them that I trust their intuition, even more than my recommendations & advice. I empower them by putting the decision-making in their hands – if something I recommend isn’t going well for them, I honor that and we find an alternative or change the course of action. I listen to and use clients’ intuition to my benefit because most of the time it is right!
I remember seeing multiple doctors when I had serious eczema and digestive issues, telling them what was wrong with me and that I felt horrible. All they could do was indifferently tell me my blood work looked fine… Is this the best our pharmaceutical-based, sick-care medical system can do?? What about my intuition about my symptoms and how I felt?? It was extremely frustrating to say the least. I felt like they weren’t listening to me, and the whole experience made me feel foolish & insecure because they couldn’t validate what was going on with my body.
We are lacking our own power & trust of ourselves when it comes to our own health. It’s time for us to take this power back! Doing my small part, I put clients in the driver’s seat during our work together to empower them while I sit shotgun to guide & motivate them.
The Unfortunate State of our Society
The amount of money spent within the US healthcare system is the most in the world, yet we rank 10th for unhealthiest countries. Kind of ironic, right? Our “healthcare” system should really be called “sick-care.” It is based on pharmaceutical & insurance companies making trillions of dollars, and wanting to keep it that way. They want everyone in that perpetual state of sick-care, because otherwise how would they make money?
I could go down the rabbit hole of how messed up, convoluted, and manipulative our healthcare system is, but for the purpose of this blog the point is this: most of us have come to trust doctors more than we trust ourselves in getting to the root problem, or etiology, of our health issues. I know I did before my health issues a few years ago, so please don’t feel ashamed or defensive. I respected and trusted the doctors more than I respected and trusted myself. I needed to reverse that approach & mindset, respecting and trusting myself more than the doctors. There is a time & place for modern medicine, but I believe it is out of balance with the range of scope it should have. We need to focus more on preventive medicine (diet & lifestyle) which gets to the root cause of most sickness & disease, and focus less on symptom management with pharmaceuticals and crazy medical procedures which do not get to the root cause and just keeps the perpetual cycle of sickness and disease going.
I am currently reading the book The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. He wrote it in 2008 after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, based on his last lecture he gave to students & colleagues at Carnegie Mellon in an effort to leave life advice for his three young children. Randy was an amazing person from what I could gather, always positive and fun to be around. However, diagnosed with pancreatic cancer his doctor advised doing a surgery called the “Whipple operation” in which his gallbladder, a third of his pancreas, a third of his stomach, and several feet of his small intestine would be removed. I don’t know about you, but that just doesn’t sound right to me. It feels like the operation would debilitate your organs, body, and the chance for recovery. Randy’s tumor was removed with the operation but the cancer came back, metastasizing to his liver with no more options. I ask myself whether they could have tried to approach the cancer more alternatively and holistically first, say with diet & lifestyle?
Open your mind to Kris Carr’s story from her book Crazy Sexy Diet. In 2003, Kris was an actress in NYC who described herself as a party hound and stress slut. She visited her PCP after having magnified abdominal cramps and shortness of breath, and was diagnosed with 12 tumor lesions on her liver. Her approach was that she was the CEO and the doctors worked for her. In effort to staff her company, “The doctor who suggested a triple organ transplant was rejected immediately. The one who gave me ten years to live can still kiss my ass. Though I knew I was a shirt storm, I still didn’t know how quickly the cancer was moving. So pulling out organs, blasting my body with chemicals, or dying seemed a bit premature. It was clear that I would have to advocate for myself and learn how to navigate the system.” Kris used a high alkaline, plant-based diet to make her cancer dormant, and is still alive & spunky as ever today when I get her emails & newsletters.
Do you see the different mindsets & approaches? I don’t judge, but I would favor the latter approach if it were my own body.
How to Change It… and Yourself
To change the world, we must start with ourselves. As an individual, only you can transform yourself. To change the current healthcare (sick-care) system, it has to be a grassroots effort of individuals changing themselves. The more people who start to stand up and take the power back for their own health, the more the momentum will build for doctors and healthcare professionals to focus on preventative healthcare instead of symptom & disease management.
Sometimes keeping things simple is more powerful. What if we used nutrition, meditation, and movement to prevent & combat health issues? What if we as individuals had the knowledge and power to heal ourselves, and didn’t think someone with the title of “doctor” could cure us?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask for help or use advice from other people, but rather to not delegate the responsibility of “doctor” to someone other than yourself. You know yourself better than anyone else. Trust yourself & question everything. You are your own best doctor.