One of the most interesting things that I heard was a lecture given by an ER doctor.
His lecture changed my understanding of Health and Healthcare.
This doctor said he absolutely loved his job in the ER…
It was challenging, frustrating, heartbreaking and rewarding. It gave him an insight into what health and healthcare were and should be.
When we think of health care, we mistakenly think of the hospital.
He said what we should be thinking about are these three things:
- Health starts with lifestyle.
- The doctor’s role is to fix broken parts.
- The body is where healing is, the body heals itself.
On face value that sounds a bit simplistic and almost inaccurate
But as you unpack those short statements, it is almost self evident.
What constitutes a healthy lifestyle?
Specifically, a lot of things, but generally speaking it breaks down into roughly these categories:
Protection against toxins
Rest and Stress Reduction
When anyone of these elements are out of balance, we get sick.
When I was doing personal training with clients, we would go over nutrition, because without nutritional changes you would not have your desired outcome.
The axiom was, “you cannot out exercise a bad diet. Bad diets alone can cause serious health issues.”
Alternatively, if your diet is good, but you don’t exercise, you invite different issues such as poor circulation and lack of mobility.
A man can eat a great diet, work a manual labor job, but if he works in a chemically toxic environment, he will likely succumb to some form of cancer or other serious illness.
Stress and Rest:
Finally, you can do all the above, but if you are literally working yourself to death by lack of sleep (or stress), you can still suffer serious illness.
The Doctor’s Role in Our Health
If you are doing everything right, a doctor usually serves as a lifeguard.
They can monitor your body and make sure that your body is working correctly; they help you get back on track when it is not. The doctor steps in when something happens that prevents your body from working correctly or optimally.
Something like a twisted bowel. This is not going to fix itself and you will likely need surgical intervention. Your body cannot fix the problem and it can kill you. You can probably think of hundreds of other examples of when you need a doctors assistance. But one thing is certain, if you need intervention, it is because something is broken.
No matter how much doctors would like to be able to prescribe a pill to magically cure their patient, such a pill does not exist.
Medications for chronic conditions are like a band-aid. It is like wrapping a cloth around a broken hose, the hose still functions but not perfectly and will leak. That leak can cause other issues which then require other interventions.
No doctor would call a patient healthy if…
They are on 15 different medications for 8 health conditions, even if they considered the conditions under control. These co-morbidities would automatically place the patient in a higher risk category.
But when the doctor can get the patient to fix the underlying issues, then often the body is able to repair the damage. An example of this would be a type 2 diabetic that is able through a regimen of diet, exercise and supplements is able to regulate their blood sugar levels.
If blood sugar levels are regulated and no medicine is required most doctors would consider that patient healthy.
So, where am I going with this? Obviously, I have an agenda.
First and foremost, I am advocating lifestyle changes.
The vast majority of our chronic illnesses are self caused. We don’t eat correctly which is causing obesity, diabetes, cholesterol issues, high blood pressure, and nutritional deficiencies. From there, we start seeing it affect all our bodily systems.
No medication can fix a broken diet.
Secondly, we need exercise, the sedentary lifestyle we live today is killing us just as quickly as a poor diet. We need activity, we need to use and develop the muscle we have. Proper exercise helps to support our skeletal structure and joints. It makes for stronger lungs and heart. Sweating helps us eliminate toxins stored in our body, produce and balance hormones, and hundreds of other things for a healthy body.
Unfortunately, we cannot outsource exercise.
We need to eliminate things in our environment that are hurting us. This is not me talking, but the medical community. Spend a few hours reading medical journals and the research on different plastics, pesticides, chemicals and the links to cancer and illness. What they are researching is not radiation or caustic chemicals used to clean industrial equipment, but the stuff found in your water bottles and shampoo. Not to mention all the caustic stuff as well. Overtime, many of these products have been found more dangerous than previously thought and have been banned. Asbestos, anyone?
This is not meant to be alarmist
It’s just a reminder that, natural or otherwise, we are constantly having to expel toxins from our body that takes a toll on our overall health. So, cutting back on the exposure makes it easier to stay healthy.
Did you know that the specifics of why we sleep are still conjecture and theory? Put differently, science is still puzzling over why we sleep. Empirical evidence is clear that without sleep we die. We use significantly less energy when we sleep and it appears that significant amounts of systematic repairs occur when we sleep. Future studies may show that sleep is much more important than what I am suggesting here but for now, ‘sleep: good, no sleep: bad’ should suffice.
Stress physical and mental is a fascinating study. Even just mental stress can have profound physical effects on the body. It can increase inflammation, negatively impact blood pressure, lower immunity cause depression. Mental stress taxes your body and when the stress itself is not causing issues, it may make taking care of your diet and exercise more difficult and rob you of your sleep.
Back to the point! Are Oils Healthcare?
I have been an advocate of essential oils for the past 6 years, due to the positive effects I have seen with my wife, my kids, and myself.
Essential oils fall into a unique category of ‘self care’ that assists in keeping the body performing optimally.
Essential oils have been demonstrated to assist as a natural sleep aid and stress reduction.
They have also been found to assist in eliminating toxins in the system and assisting in cellular repair.
In my experience, I have seen improved recovery times to less severe symptoms from seasonal issues.
An example of how EOs have personally helped me:
I had allowed my desk job to keep me sedentary and I let my diet slip as well.
My job was very stressful. The end result was an increased blood pressure.
I started applying essential oils daily as my blood pressure was increasing. My measurements at the time were considered pre-hypertensive the application of oils measurably lowered the reading.
I knew that while it was helping bringing my blood pressure within normal range, it was not a permanent solution… though it was considerably better then going on a diuretic.
When I lost body fat…
My readings were normalizing on their own and with the addition of exercise, my readings became pretty stable. I still use the essential oils for support and my blood-pressure readings are always better with the application of oils.
For me this truly demonstrated the truth of the doctor’s statement.
Without a healthy lifestyle no external interventions will be effective.
Essential Oil studies have indicated that they assist in reducing stress and anxiety that contribute to blood pressure
They also have demonstrated the ability to relax muscles, increase circulation, and reduce cortisol levels in the blood naturally.
If I had not been able to lower my levels early on, the only option a doctor would have is to provide would probably be some kind of diuretic.
A diuretic acts by reducing water and salt through the kidneys which reduces volume making it easier for your heart to pump.
Side effects include: decreased potassium, low sodium levels, headaches, dizziness, muscle cramps and increased blood sugar levels.
Exercise makes your heart stronger making it easier to pump, which often reduces blood pressure. That, combined with heart healthy foods, will prevent long term needs for prescriptions. No side effects.
While I defer to the experts (especially when they tell me something is broken in my body) I appreciate that there are many aids we can use that are much easier on the body.
Doctors today are placed in an terrible position.
We demand solutions that require nothing from ‘us’. Give me a medication to replace my poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Yet somehow we are surprised that after a year or so we have another issue or need stronger medication.
… This is not their fault, it is ours.
The good news is that solutions are often as simple as taking one positive step a day by creating better habits.