Ideas can be powerful things. Ideas often lead to actions that can either transform our lives in the most profound way, or if chosen poor can destroy what we most cherish. The key is to be consciously aware of what ideas are influencing our behaviours and decide if they are serving or harming us.
It is an interesting time in healthcare. I know a small group of people whose health is thriving in every possible way. They seem to get healthier every year in spite of their age. They receive great joy from feeling great and being productive. They are loving life!
Unfortunately, this is not the reality for most people. Most people have the experience of a sinking ship – their level of health and life enjoyment is declining and it is just a matter of slowing that decline as much as possible. Beneath this resignation of declining health is also frustration. Many of these people have done what they were told by the experts and this is what they are left with?
There are many, well documented lifestyle reasons for people’s failing health. Behind many of these behaviours is what I believe to be the most dangerous idea in health care. That idea is, “If I successfully treat my pain/symptoms/diseases I will be healthy.” That is it – one little idea.
What are the consequences of this idea that has become a belief for many? First, we have a multi-billion dollar ‘healthcare’ system that focuses almost solely on pain and disease treatment. Am I suggesting we stop treating pain and disease? Of course not, however it is important to understand that it will not make us healthy.
People have private ‘health insurance,’ that is based almost entirely on crisis intervention. A great example is chiropractic care. Most workplace insurance covers perhaps enough for some short-term crisis care. Regular visits to enhance over-all health? Sorry, out of luck. In my opinion this is not what insurance is for anyway. Your home insurance doesn’t pay for you to hire an interior designer, make your house more energy efficient or maintain a beautiful garden! Insurance is for crisis, not health.
Finally, the idea that treatment will make us healthy can have a detrimental impact on the choices we make. Unfortunately, humans respond more readily to the stick, not the carrot. We are much more motivated by pain than pleasure. If I believe that treatments will make me healthy, I am much less motivated to eat well, buy organic food and high quality supplements, purchase a gym membership or god forbid pay out of pocket for services such as regular chiropractic care that enhance health.
Do you see how a simple little idea can have such a profound impact? Treating life threatening and crippling diseases is a necessary thing at times. We are pretty good at it and should continue to strive to get better. It was natural for this to be the focus of health care when people only lived a few decades, hygiene was suspect, and many people died of acute infections. Today, it is no longer enough.
People want more than just survival. They want to live to be old and grey with vitality, enjoyment and still be able to contribute in the way they were destined. If the time comes when you need treatment, it will be there. In the meantime, focus your time and energy on enhancing your health. It is possible to have it all.
Our upcoming Fireside Chat with Dr. Gault, on Dec. 3rd is already full. We are compiling a wait list in case of cancellations and may add another evening if there is interest. See Adele or Cindy to be placed on the list.