Making the best possible decisions about your family’s healthcare has never been more difficult. With countless millions of stories on the internet written about the myriad of health care options available to us, one can be forgiven for throwing their arms up in despair and just going with their gut. But the choices we make today may affect us, and our family, far beyond today.
On one side we have the allopathic choice, which refers to mainstream medicine and the use of pharmaceuticals to treat or suppress the symptoms of our ills. The other side of the coin is the holistic model of care, which refers to treatment of the complete person, including body, mind and spirit. Practices such as chiropractic, homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture and so on typically work to address the root cause of the illness rather than treating the symptoms with chemicals.
How were you raised?
Think back to when you were a child and developed a fever. How did your parents react to the sight of the mercury climbing to the high 90s? All parents are concerned to see their kids cheeks flushed with fever, but this is where allopathic and holistic parents often part ways. Allopathic parents typically reach for the Tylenol, believing that a fever must be quickly quashed lest it take hold. Holistic parents are more inclined to let a fever run its course, knowing that an elevated body temperature is simply the outward evidence of the body doing the work of fighting whatever bacteria or virus is “attacking” it.
The decisions we make as adults and parents are often informed by the decisions we learned from our own parents. We reach for the Tylenol not because it is a necessary part of our family’s health care but because that’s how we were raised. In fact, these fears of a fever’s symptoms are largely unfounded and lead to countless needless instances of taking over the counter drugs, masking our symptoms, which may eventually make things worse. Read these disturbing accounts of the dangers of acetaminophen, which, among other things, point out that hundreds of people die and thousands are poisoned every year by accidental overdoses of this common over-the-counter drug.
The body’s reaction to infection is actually quite impressive. We develop a runny nose to rinse germs from the sinuses. Coughing and sneezing are the way our bodies expel the buildup of mucus, which itself is the body’s way of trapping the virus/bacteria. Even the sore muscles we experience when suffering from a flu are the result of the immune system using proteins for other purposes.
The point of all this? By taking chemicals to fight symptoms, we may be inadvertently impeding the body’s ability to effectively fight the illness we are trying to deal with. For example, a 2014 study published by the Royal Society reported that widespread antipyretic (drugs that reduce fever) use is likely to lead to more illness and death than populations that do not use such drugs.
Following in the same logic of masking symptoms and overreacting, many allopathic parents are quick to take their child to a pediatrician where they may expect and often demand an antibiotic. By now it’s common knowledge that overuse of antibiotics has resulted in the evolution of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria and other infections. The potential effects of this (apart from the many deaths that have already occurred) could be catastrophic transmission of a superbug, which scientists continually warn is a looming threat.
The holistic parent looks at health care differently. Symptoms have a purpose, and must be watched and worked with, rather than masked. The holistic approach calls for monitoring a fever, relieving symptoms and discomfort naturally, and having patience while the body works through its natural cycle.
Regardless of what you take for a cold, the typical cold cycle lasts from one to three days for healthy, non-smoking, active people. During this time, it’s important to eat well, stay hydrated and rest. The body’s innate intelligence is incredibly well-equipped for fighting illness, however, it needs to be kept in optimal condition to do its best fighting.
Additionally, one of the best things you can do to keep your immune system in top fighting condition is to see your chiropractor regularly. Treating subluxations in the spine improves the nervous system function, which in turn plays a big role in the proper functioning of the immune system.
If you were raised by holistic parents, it’s likely that none of this is new to you. If you take an allopathic approach to parenting, but are beginning to see the potential in a more drug free approach to health care, you may be wondering how to move toward an integrated model of wellness.
It can be difficult at first. In Canada, our current government sponsored model of health care is largely pharmaceutical-based solutions to ailments of all kinds. Try to think of the last time you went to an MD with a problem and left without a prescription of some kind. Do they discuss diet with you? Do they touch on your spiritual and emotional state? Exercise? More than likely you are in and out without any discussion of any of these important holistic questions being addressed.
Your new holistic approach may start with your chiropractor who recognizes the body’s ability to heal itself—if there is interference to your nervous system and you eliminate it with a chiropractic adjustment, this will support your immune response. Your chiropractor will also recognize the three stressors that may be compromising your family’s health: these are physical, chemical and emotional. Their desire as a holistic practitioner is to take an active role in helping you recognize your personal stressors and give you and your family strategies for change. As your wellness doctor, the chiropractor can also help you select other healthcare providers who embrace the holistic lifestyle.
At Rice Family Chiropractic we embrace a holistic, drug free approach to health care, and spinal wellbeing in particular. If you have any questions about this or any other aspects of your wellness, please contact us for an appointment. Our family looks forward to serving yours.