When patients come to us, we take a detailed history. Because of the work we do, we tend to see fairly complicated cases. You know…the people who say, “I’ve been everywhere and tried everything!” That, in and of itself, is NOT a true statement, because most people have not tried the recommendations and life-style changes we encourage them to implement. When they say that, what they usually mean is that they have tried various conventional drugs and therapies with no lasting effect.
The reason for this is that, sadly, most conventional treatments are focused on treating the symptoms the patient presents with, rather than looking deeper at what is causing an imbalance in that persons physiology that ultimately leads to the expression of symptoms. In order to gain an understanding of these changes, we need to “pull the lens back” and take a broader view of the situation.
As human beings, we are biological creatures that are confined to the same biological laws as any other mammal. All of us are “Stimulous-Response” systems constrained by biological laws of nature. What that means is that, through our various senses, we are constantly gathering input from our environment, sending that input to the brain where it is processed and where orders are issued as commands to the various cells, tissues and organs of the body to respond to that input. This response mechanism has one primary drive…to help us adapt to our environment. Meaning, to help us get bigger, faster, smarter and stronger relative to the environment we find ourselves in. This is the primary drive of EVERY biological system…to adapt and thrive in order to perpetuate the species. In a perfect world, we would function well like this, without any illness, dysfunction or disease, for an extended length of time. Some scientist hypothesize that in a perfectly controlled environment, human beings could live for 500 years.
The reality is that we have never lived in a perfect environment! Yet, somehow we have thrived as a species. Over time, we have adapted to the environment we live in. This is how we have evolved to become a species that can live anywhere in the world, from polar snow, mountain terrain, along the waters edge and in the driest of deserts. Each of those environments have presented human physiology with different input, and we, as a species, have always “stepped up” to adapt to that environment.
So, what happens if our physiology is unable to adapt? What happens when the stressors exceeds our physiological capability of adaptation?
Because the human organism, like every other living organism, is designed to at least SURVIVE, our physiology will compensate if we exceed our threshold for adaptation. Adaptation and compensation are NOT the same thing!
Adaptation will help you achieve your peak genetic potential and help you thrive. Compensation is alway a process of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” with the intent of helping that organism at least survive. Remember, the stressor exceeded your capability to thrive. ALL you have left is to figure out how, at least, to survive.
Once compensation sets in, you become less adaptable, which makes you more prone to compensate. This means it will take an ever smaller and smaller stressor to create compensations over time. At some point, your body says, “Hey…I give up!” and you end up with symptoms, dysfunction and disease.
Think of symptoms as nothing more than red lights that flash on the dashboard of your car indicating something is wrong. To follow this analogy, there are two ways to get rid of that flashing light. First, you could put a piece of black tape over it so you can’t see it anymore. Your second choice would be to actually look under the hood and figure out what is broken or going wrong.
Sadly, in our culture, most people choose to “put the tape over it” and treat their symptoms with a medication. Once the symptoms go away, they claim they are cured!
But, are they? What happens if they stop taking the medication? Yup! The symptoms come right back!
When we take a case history in our clinic, we can usually very quickly determine what is going wrong with that person. However, it takes a bit more detective work to figure out WHY that person is not adapting to their environment any more. Is it because they have exceeded their capability to adapt to the environment they are in? Or is it that the environment they are in is not conducive to healthy human physiology? The reality, it’s usually both! One leads to the other through the compensation process. This is why taking a pill or potion for their symptoms gave short-term relief, at best, but usually led to no real improvement.
The challenge we face in todays culture of instant gratification, is that the recommendations we make to help people change their physiology requires them to usually make significant life-style changes. They need to change their environment. Some times, these changes can be subtle and nuanced. Most times, however, they need to be fairly radical.
What brings people to our clinic is that they have “tried everything” and it has not worked, yet they still have hope. The question then becomes, “what are you willing to do in order o get well?” When they say, “Whatever it takes, Doc!” We know they are ready and the chances of improvement are significant.
These are the people who are ready and willing to change their thinking, habits and environment in order to move their physiology to a state of adaptation again. This may require radically changing the foods they eat, the way they move, even where they live!
There is a saying, “You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.” The same holds true with your health. You can’t continue the same habits or perpetuate the same environment that got you sick, and expect to get well. I most cases of chronic, stubborn conditions, only radical change of environment will lead to better health outcomes. The question is, are you ready to do what you need to do in order to get well?