What are you waiting for?

I remember the moment I asked myself whether there was something else about illness and disease that I had not understood yet; whether the conventional medical approach was missing a link, a very important part in its very foundations.

I very well remember that moment: I was working in Accident & Emergency visiting a patient with a myocardial infarction. It was a text book case: the pain was typical, the ECG changes were typical, and the whole picture made sense. I had my indications for thrombolytic treatment (it was before emergency angioplasty was implemented) so I proceeded to treat my patient. I managed to get his pain under control, and all was going well. When I enquired about how it all started, his wife told me that her husband, my patient, had not been himself for the last 3 days. I asked her to elaborate on this, and she just repeated that he just hadn’t been himself. And that was the moment.

According to accepted medical practice, my patient’s heart attack started when the chest pain started, leading to the typical changes on his ECG. But what his wife was telling me implied that perhaps, his heart attack started days ago, with no pain and no ECG changes. There was something new, something not described in medical books, that led to the current critical situation. I then turned to The Organon, the book written by Samuel Hahnemann, founder of Homeopathy, seeking a different explanation of health and disease. In his book, considered the cornerstone of homeopathy, Hahnemann described how symptoms were the manifestation of a deeper imbalance in the state of health; how an illness starts well before it manifests itself with symptoms; how suppressing those symptoms with medication or surgery is merely “plastering over the wet patch”, not removing the real cause of the disease, but leaving it to become deeper and stronger with, eventually, more severe implications. And this is what, until that day, as a doctor of modern medicine, I was failing to comprehend. When we suppress the symptoms of any skin condition with steroids, we make the condition worse in the long term. My patient’s heart attack did not start when the chest pain and the ECG changes started: it started long ago with ailments that were ignored or suppressed with medication.

To understand illness, we must understand that there is a force, an energy, that when balanced means health, and when not balanced, means predisposition to illness.

This explains why, for instance, not all exposed to a particular virus go on to express the disease, or not all exposed to a cancer causing agent will develop cancer. If the medical laws of cause and effect were that strict, there would be no exceptions. This vital energy is the difference between a person alive and one who is deceased. Seconds after death, before the process of decomposition starts, we can take blood and tissue samples and they will be identical to those of the same person before death. However if we try to measure the activity of the brain, the muscle or the heart, we will not be able to do so. The vital force has been extinguished.

Modern medicine, with some exceptions in the field of psychiatry, only sees illness or disease when parameters are altered: a fever, an abnormal blood test result, an alteration in a tissue or organ.

If none of this is demonstrated, we call that health. Many are suffering from illnesses that can either not be classified, or are labelled as a syndrome by exclusion of everything else, like Irritable Bowel or Fibromyalgia, in a way, deeming them psychological. All that these sufferers are expressing are symptoms of a much deeper imbalance, which is growing stronger only to manifest itself as something much more severe at a later time.

I opened my doors to the teachings of homeopathy, and with it, to other therapies deemed complementary or alternative, but according to my new understanding, truly curative.

There is no doubt about how modern medicine saves lives in emergency situations, let it be trauma, infections, allergic reactions or organ failures. When it comes to treating chronic diseases, modern medicine does not cure, but treats the symptoms. We can find examples of this in almost every chronic disease, except those with irreversible causes, like type 1 diabetes, or strokes. Maintaining good health by appropriate nutrition, regular exercise, and listening to symptoms and treating them with therapies that are not suppressive, but that aim to restore health by treating the whole, is the secret to a happy and painless life.

Like so many others’, my patient’s heart attack did not start when he developed chest pain, but long before that day. What are you waiting for?

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