by Dr. Brian Roettger DC, HMD

Naturally-healthy-girlWith all our dependence on otc, prescription, recreational drugs, and natural supplements, actual health gets lost in the maize.

For the majority of Americans, the prevalent philosophical outlook on medicine is the quick fix. Just give me a pill that will make me feel better.

For a time, pills may do just that. But at what cost? When are we curing a problem, and when are we kidding ourselves?

One way to look at it comes from Homeopathic Medicine and its definition of health. Health exists on three levels. (A fourth level may be called Spiritual)

  1. Physical health: To be free from pain and suffering and have a sense of well being.
  2. Emotional health: To be able to timely express all emotions without being stuck in any one emotive state.
  3. Mental health: To think clearly, coherently and creatively.

If we are functioning optimally within these definitions we would be quite happy and content.

All three of these definitions imply movement and active participation.

Physically a sense of well being goes beyond freedom from pain and suffering and requires active participation in our own health.

Our emotional selves should be able to express the wheel of emotions freely: Happy, sad, anger, joy, discouragement, hope, grief, surrender, fulfillment. Emotions move in a circular like motion. If we are unable to express a particular emotion, we get stuck on that side of the wheel. Motion ceases and bad health ensues. If we are locked in on one emotion (it could be resentment, sadness, or even joy), then we are again stuck on the wheel and will find ourselves in an unhealthy state.

Mentally, thinking clearly and coherently isn’t enough for good health. Creative mental participation is necessary for fulfillment on the mental plane.

What happens when we take medicine?

Medicine can do one of three things.

  1. Cure
  2. Palliate
  3. Suppress

If we can understand these clearly we should never have a problem knowing what medicines are doing.

  1. Cure: If we are cured we no longer have the problem and are no longer going to get the problem. We would be closer to the above definition of health.
  2. Palliation: To temporarily remove symptoms. ie. (As long as you take this medication you will not feel the symptoms). Remove the medication and the symptoms are still there.
  3. Suppression: The medicine has created more serious symptoms than you had to begin with.

How does my immune system work?

The immune system responds against a perceived threat to the body and mind’s well being.

In its response, symptoms are created. For instance: Inflammation at the sight of a wound. Sadness at the loss of a loved one. Coughing up phlegm to allow freer breathing. Pain to warn us that a part is damaged. Hunger to remind us to eat.

Symptoms are the immune system’s response.

How can we tell if our symptoms are moving us in a healthy direction, or a destructive direction?

Constantine Hering’s “Laws of Cure” (i.e. Direction of Cure)

  1. Symptoms move from the more important to the least important organs.
  2. Symptoms move from above downwards.
  3. Symptoms move from the interior to the exterior.
  4. Symptoms move in a reverse direction from which they occurred. (retracing)

In general these are correct. There are exceptions.

Here are three more rules that are generally correct.

A symptom is more severe if it is on a level that more greatly inhibits our freedom.

  1. A physical symptom is (in general) less restricting to our freedom than an emotional symptom.
  2. An emotional symptom is (in general) less restricting to our freedom than a mental symptom.
  3. A mental symptom is (in general) the most restricting to our freedom.

(Exceptions are obviously apparent in the case of life threatening physical symptoms).

As an example; a person who has no use of his legs may still enjoy a fulfilled life if he is emotionally and mentally healthy. On the other hand, a person who has emotional or mental problems, even though physically symptom free, is less healthy overall.

We now have a better idea of health and illness and how it exists in the whole (mental, emotional and physical) human being. We are now looking at health from a wholistic model not a partitioned model.

To determine what medications are doing, (whether they are otc, prescription, recreational, or natural), we just have to look at our symptomatic expression. Has the medicine brought me to a greater sense of health and well being? Is it just keeping the symptoms temporarily at bay? Has it created deeper level symptoms that are more restricting to my freedom, health and well being?