Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Body's Own Work

Last week I posted about a minor health crisis that resulted in an all night trip to the emergency room and a course of antibiotic treatment. A week later I'm caught up on sleep. I feel I've returned to my usual state of good health and I'm making sure I get lots of probiotics back into my body.

The acute symptoms and pain cleared up within a day, but the experience as a whole left me feeling vulnerable and dependent on an unsustainable health care system that is completely reliant on cheap fossil fuels in order to function as we know it.

This brought up a lot of fear and anxiety for me as I wondered what health care might look like in a resource and energy constrained future. I imagined suffering all alone, from a festering wound, feverish and delusional, just like Caroline Ingalls did in this episode of Little House on the Prairie, and I guess I kind of freaked myself out!

Thankfully, quite a few readers weighed in with their thoughts on the matter, and I have to say, many of them buoyed me up and helped me to see the issues from a different perspective. This made me feel better and more hopeful about what might be possible and how we can work towards preventing and dealing with illness. (Thank you!)

Then this evening I came across this article on "Immune Health and a Low Energy Lifestyle" over at the Hen and Harvest.

From the article:
"The point of an herbal remedy, or of any medical intervention, is to help a body that is not able to do the job of overcoming illness well enough on its own. Massachusetts herbalist Margi Flint says in her book, The Practicing Herbalist, we should first of all “realize that [our] best pharmacy is within [our] own body.” Our bodies do the work of keeping us healthy. Sometimes we get out of balance because of poor diet, stress, you name it. The goal then is to get back to healthy balance, and there are two main things we can do to help achieve and maintain that so our bodies can function as they’re supposed to.

One, we can prevent disease by taking good care of ourselves. This comes through all the usual boring stuff of eating well, exercising, managing stress, etc. Two, we can use herbs and other healing modalities to aid our body‘s own work."

These are comforting and assuring words that I would do well to remember. Just as -when I worry about my success or failure as a gardener- it is the nature of seeds and plants to grow, it is also in the nature of our bodies to heal and restore itself to balance. I need to trust in this process, worry less and do what I can to aid my body's own work. I don't need to rely on cheap fossil fuels to do this. In fact, my body and my health is better off without them.


Kiashu said...

I think I said before, I dated a doctor once, and she said, "Apart from big things like cutting out tumours, most of medicine is just keeping people comfortable while they get better by themselves."

So when people tell me that herbalism or acupuncture or whatever have no real effect, only a placebo effect, I say, "well maybe that's enough." It makes you comfortable while you get better by yourself :)

Amber said...


Interesting anecdote: A naturopathic friend gave me a herbal tincture and another remedy, an hour or two before I decided to go the the hospital. Within 30 minutes of taking the remedies, the most concerning symptom had cleared up.

SoapBoxTech said...

If you haven't already read Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach, I highly suggest it. It comes complete with a chapter on health and medicine.

Amber said...

I haven't read Ecotopia, but now I will add it to my list!