Friday, January 27, 2012

Occupy Your Body

Taking control of your own health is now a revolutionary act.

Pharmaceuticals drugs and the medical system that goes with it promote the disease paradigm, and create a tendency to ignore the problem or to be satisfied with an incomplete and impermanent solution. Furthermore, the whole industry is rife with environmental and social corruption. It is of course in the interest of those with the bulging bank accounts that we continue to go to the doctor, that we continue to support the modern medical establishment, and that we continue to take pills for our ills forever. We are often not aware that there are other options, because our doctors are often not aware of them.

I refuse to support an establishment that hides from truth in its narrow-mindedness, bureaucracy and greed. Instead, I choose a pragmatic, self-originated and holistic approach to my own health (which is so much cheaper, it’s ridiculous). We have the right to control our own health and to know about our own bodies.

Holistic medicine emphasizes prevention and self-care above all else. It looks for the root cause—be it emotional or physical—and seeks deeply effective solutions that usually have nothing to do with taking a pill. It’s about facing your shit, making the life you love and having an awesome time while doing it. Furthermore, this approach to health reduces reliance on a system that lies, pollutes and profits from it.

One key part of the holistic medicine paradigm is using plants as medicine, or herbalism. Humans have been using plant medicine since before we were ‘humans’. Plant medicine is the culmination of millions of years of co-evolution. Most animals intuitively target specific plants to self-treat specific conditions; even cancer and deadly parasites. It is commonly known that a companzee will ingest the leaves of Aspilia when they are afflicted with oesophagostomum (a nematode resembling hook worm) parasites. The Aspilia leaves are highly toxic, and yet the chimpanzees know to consume them folded like accordions, so that the bristles rake out and kill the nematodes and leave the chimp unaffected. There are many examples of animals observed using plants for specific medicinal purposes.

The medicine in plants comes from “secondary chemicals,” used to defend themselves from threats, heal themselves from exposure to threats, or to receive information about potential threats. When we consume that plant, the complex chemical cocktail works within us to defend, heal and inform in our bodies. A few confounding studies in particular have shown that despite the want to refine and define active chemicals in plants to make pills, plants are most harmoniously effective and have little to no side effects when used in their whole forms (tea, tincture, capsules, etc.).

Another key piece of holistic health is nutrition, and the last and most important is emotional and spiritual health. I will not speak in depth about these in this particular article for brevity’s sake, but know that these play super important roles in everyone’s lives.

To use whole plants as medicine in this age is to say "I trust my direct experience above the limited truth I am being presented." The people that are doing medical research are caught in the same system that seeks to profit from pharmaceutical sales, so a system that undermines the roots of that profit (holistic medicine) and lowers the need for those drugs will not be supported. Scientific research is often biased and corrupt because of this dynamic. We inherited this corruption from medieval Europe. It is time for us to chuck that whole uncaring system out the window and deeply listen to our bodies and minds. My body says that eating more vegetables and less pills rocks. My mind says that clear communication and free emotional expression make life great.  What does yours say? 

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