“Each patient carries his own doctor inside him. We are at our best when we give the doctor who resides within a chance to work.” Albert Schweitzer, M.D., Philosopher & Nobel Prize Winner
My friend and colleague has a beautiful poster with this quote in the reception area of his office. I have always loved the message and it influences my personal approach to health. Recently the message has resonated more strongly than ever, personally and professionally.
Our Innate Capacity for Health
I teach a class on pathology for massage students at the local community college. We go system by system and look at some of the more common conditions and disease processes they may encounter in their practice as massage therapists. We discuss how massage may be potentially beneficial or detrimental for someone with the various conditions. At the beginning of each semester, I ask the students how they feel about studying pathology. When they express a bit of anxiety about how many things can go wrong in the body, I remind them that disease, for most, is the exception. We talk about how our bodies are amazing at resisting disease. And we talk about the body’s incredible ability to heal and recover when disease processes do take hold.
The Doctor Is In
My personal approach to health is to avoid doctors at all costs. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek. I have needed the expertise of doctors and I am grateful for their knowledge. But I prefer NOT to need them. Rather, I try to do the things to support my inner doctor like getting good sleep, eating nutritious food, managing stress, engaging in life enriching pursuits and getting fresh air and exercise. We know these life practices help us to stay healthy. And while they don’t guarantee that we won’t get sick, they do dramatically increase our chances to recover from an illness or injury.
My professional approach to health has evolved over the years. I used to work from a perspective of “What can I do to help fix my client’s problem?” Now I operate more from a perspective of “What can I do to help support my client’s ability to heal?” It may seem like a simple matter of semantics. However, looking at research, we know that massage can have a direct impact on things like pain, sleep quality and stress hormone levels. We don’t have significant research that shows that massage can have a direct impact on specific diseases, for instance, eczema. But eczema, like many other conditions, is complicated by stress. So by helping my client manage stress levels, I can support their ability to heal. I can support their inner doctor.
Supporting Your Inner Doctor
In our regular, fast paced lives, it is easy to put self care on the bottom of our priority list. The challenges of this pandemic has only highlighted the importance of taking care of our health proactively. While anyone can get infected with coronavirus, statistically those with underlying health conditions are at increased risk for complications. So we must put our health at the top of our To Do list and engage in practices that support our inner doctor.
At Connective Touch Therapeutic Massage in South Reno I am happy to support YOUR inner doctor.
Slainte! (An Irish Toast to Health)