Healing from the inside out
Why do you go and see the doctor? Usually it is to get something–a prescription, a lab test, a diagnosis, an operation. Occasionally it is just for reassurance, but usually it is because we feel that we need something. And that is true a lot of the time. We can't do it all by ourselves. But receiving external treatments does not solve every situation, and it can even make us assume that our bodies, or our diet, or our genes are inherently broken and lacking something. That takes away a lot of our power to heal. In fact, today's pharmaceutical drug development looks to find conditions that require a medication that you will need to take for the rest of your life. That's good business, but it is not good healing. The truth is that there are many conditions that require us to make a shift and heal from the inside, out. Then a lasting change can happen, one that doesn't require a daily medication. Here are a few examples from anthroposophic practice that come to mind:
- Skin diseases, especially eczema. Topical steroid creams reduce the inflammation and help us feel better, but they do not address why the inflammation is happening. Very often there is a digestive imbalance, which is playing out through the skin. Working to strengthen the digestion and the liver very often brings lasting improvement.
- Cancer. Treatments like surgery, radiation, and chemo are very important and helpful, but they come at you, and at the cancer, from the outside. Mistletoe treatments bring a different gesture, helping to strengthen the immune system to recognize and meet cancer cells through the body's own activity. Yarrow compresses and other kinds of liver support help the body to clear out waste products (especially important during chemotherapy). Both mistletoe and yarrow stimulate the body to better carry out its own healthy processes.
- Burnout. How in the world do we get over burnout, short of chucking the whole job/family/responsibility thing and moving to a tropical island? Well, the challenge is that even a tropical island can feel aggravating and inconvenient if you are totally worn out and unsettled on the inside. And nobody can solve burnout unless it ultimately heals from the inside. Conversation and counseling help clarify what we are feeling and why, but nobody can tell you what the answer is (casual advice of “Just relax!” or “Don't worry so much!” isn't really helpful in that situation.) But one thing that has proven remarkably helpful is a form of iron (Ferrum hydroxydatum) that lends us the forces to push through a big change, especially when it is used in combination with gold. Gold (Aurum) never forces us to do things one way or another, but provides more clarity about what is the right thing. It is hard, if not presumptuous, for anyone on the outside to know what you should do or decide. But gold helps us find the right balance from the inside.
- Fever. Fever is bad, right? And if somebody even feels warm you should give them Tylenol? The answer is no, because fever is actually an important process for healing from the inside out. Many people are amazed at how a child's eczema rash clears after a strong fever. The fever helped heal an imbalance. Mistletoe treatments work to strengthen the immune system and increase our bodily warmth, and when it can be stimulated, a fever response is associated with better activity against a tumor! And sometimes if you feel totally stuck and just don't know what to do, a fever can be just what the doctor ordered. Many times clarity and resolve come when we work through a fever.
The best treatments–that lead to lasting change–must work to strengthen our own ability to heal. Here examples of liver support and warmth, iron and gold have been given, but all anthroposophic treatments are trying to work in this way. It's not a great business model (to try to help someone not need you any more), but it is honest, and strives to be moral, and to empower.