Have you ever been driving down the highway and the “check engine” light goes off on your dashboard?
Usually when that light goes off, the car is indicating that it needs service of some sort.
Maybe the oil needs changing.
Maybe the engine needs servicing.
Maybe the knock sensor is out and your emissions are all fudged up.
Regardless of the issue, the light going off is the MESSAGE that it’s time to pop the hood and take a look at what’s going on.
So what do you do in this scenario?
Do you put a bandaid over the check engine light?
Or do you take the car in, have the mechanic run some diagnostics, and see what the problem is?
Does putting a bandaid over the light mean that the light is no longer on?
Does that make the symptom just magically go away?
These are rhetorical questions.
OF COURSE the light doesn’t just magically go off because you put a bandaid over it. You just can’t see the light anymore.
So you go about your merry way, wind in your hair, belting out Taylor, acting like the light isn’t still illuminated on account of the bandaid which appeared to make the problem go away, at least kind of … and you keep on driving until the car breaks down because you didn’t actually fix the problem in the first place.
This is called the bandaid approach.
Allopathic medicine llllloooooovvvveeeessss the bandaid approach.
And they are very good at this approach. I have to give credit where credit is due!
- Instead of getting to the root cause of the hypertension, they give people lisinopril or metoprolol or hydralazine.
- Instead of getting to the root cause of the diabetes, they put someone on insulin, metformin, or Trulicity
- Instead of getting to the root cause of the depression, they throw Prozac or Paxil or Effexor at the problem
- Instead of getting to the root cause of your hormone imbalances, they say “lets put you on hormonal birth control to ‘regulate’ your cycle and ‘suppress’ your symptoms like your irregular periods, anovulation, debilitating menstrual cramps, monthly menstrual migraines, PCOS, cystic acne etc” … even though the ROOT CAUSE FOR THESE ISSUES IS STILL AT LARGE AND ALL YOU’VE DONE IS SUPPRESS IT FOR 15 YEARS AND NOW YOU WANT TO HAVE A BABY BUT OH SHIT YOU STILL HAVE A HORMONE IMBALANCE B/C YOUR DOCTOR DIDN’T HELP YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEM IN THE FIRST PLACE.
Sweet Jesus can you tell how much this angers me???!!!!
This right here is but one of the many reasons I left the hospital world of nursing because I could not STAND just putting bandaids over problems anymore.
THIS BANDAID APPROACH DOESN'T GET PEOPLE WELL.
IT CREATES CUSTOMERS FOR LIFE.
And the bandaid approach is wildly dis-empowering to people because this turns people into VICTIMS of their bodies and basically ushers people into a belief state of “well, guess I got dealt a shitty hand in the cardiovascular/blood sugar handling/mental health/chemical imbalance department.”
Our bodies deliver messages to us by way of symptoms. Our symptoms are the body’s check engine light.
Whenever we receive a diagnosis, or experience a symptom, we have to remember that something CAUSED this symptom which led to the identification of this diagnosis.
The pain didn’t just appear … something had to cause that pain to appear (Inflammation? Trauma? Nervous system dysfunction?)
Your thyroid didn’t just stop under-functioning one day … something had to have happened to create the dysfunction in your thyroid hormones to the point where they can’t function optimally anymore (Chronically undereating? Digestive issues? Lack of minerals? Hypothalamus dysfunction?)
Your lack of ovulation didn’t just happen … something had to influence your internal environment in such a way that ovulation is no longer “safe” to happen (Chronic stress/perceived state of “danger” slash we aren’t in a safe place to procreate and make a tiny human? Nervous system dysregulation? Undereating? Inflammation? Bad diet? Not enough minerals?)
Your SYMPTOMS are your body’s check engine light. Putting a bandaid on the issue in the form of a pill might make the symptom go away, but it does not address the reason from which the symptom arose in the first place. This is not solving the problem; this is simply masking the problem and perpetuating the unhealthy environment.
The body wants to get well. It is ALWAYS trying to come back into a state of balance.
- The body regulates itself at a perfect 98.6 degrees.
- The body maintains a blood pH of 7.4.
- The body KNOWS how to heal up a cut and generate acute, site-specific inflammation that sets off the blood clotting cascade and sends in the white blood cells to start gobbling up the pathogens so that you don’t die from foreign invaders.
Like you guys … it does this WITHOUT US HAVING TO TELL IT TO.
THIS is the innate intelligence of your body. For more insight on this concept of innate intelligence, read my post on the topic here.
ONE OF THE GREATEST KEPT SECRETS OF THE MODERN WORLD IS THAT THE BODY CAN HEAL WHEN IT HAS THE RAW MATERIALS TO DO SO.
We get these raw materials from REAL, NUTRIENT DENSE WHOLE FOODS.
Most people don’t eat real food anymore. Humans eat a lot of non-food food with chemicals, preservatives, and unpronounceable ingredients that were created in a lab that masquerade as food because they taste yummy and look pretty and the package says it’s “all natural” and “organic” and “from non-GMO ingredients!” and has “natural flavors” and hey it came from Whole Foods so you know this HAS TO be healthy for me right!
Sorry babe, but just because it came from a package from Whole Foods doesn’t mean it’s real food that’s going to help you rebuild and regenerate a healthy body.
Only real, nutrient dense foods from a variety of plant and animal sources can do that for you.
For more information about what constitutes real food, read my post here.
Food is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to healing.
HEALING IS A NUANCED, MULTI-LAYERED, MULTI-FACETED, CONVOLUTED, COMPLEX, WILDLY EMPOWERING AND SOMETIMES ENDLESSLY WINDING JOURNEY THAT CANNOT BE FOUND IN A PILL.
We totally live in a society that loves the quick fix, magic bullet, overnight success INSTANT RESULTS situation. And allopathic medicine perpetuates the “pill for every ill” motto.
And this may work for a time. But remember, this doesn’t breed true healing. Doctors know this. But they are trained to treat symptoms and know very little about what it takes to help someone truly heal.
I do believe that there is a time and a place for medications, surgeries, and other modalities that allopathic medicine offers. I can personally attest to this from my own experience, and from my 12 years in critical care nursing.
But the “pill for every ill” M.O. is not something I subscribe to in my pursuit of lifelong healing, nor is it part of the work I do with health coaching clients.
This is why when I work with 1:1 coaching clients, we always get to the root cause off the issues. This is truly where holistic health, root cause medicine, functional nutrition and functional medicine shine, and yes, IMO, totally surpasses the "pill for every ill" model. Pill for every ill, symptom management, and protocol medicine is lazy medicine to me, but again, this is what most medical doctors are trained in.
And yes, there are scenarios in which western medicine is ABSOLUTELY warranted and necessary. Like in the case of cancer (although if it were me I would choose an integrative oncologist and address the root cause through a center that specializes in this, but that's just me). Or an acute emergency. Acute care and trauma care are where allopathic medicine totally shines. If you have a broken arm, please go to the nearest ER and don't call your health coach.
This is why I feel like my experience in nursing is so valuable, because I see with the eyes of a nurse and I know when a client's condition is out of my league. And I ALWAYS suggest involving your healthcare provider in your quest for healing. This is called a "multi-disciplinary approach" because it involves a multitude of disciplines to achieve the health goals of a client/patient. I am not a medical doctor, and therefore have different skills to provide than them. I am not a physical therapist, and therefore I outsource physical therapy related issues to a qualified physical therapist. I am not a psychiatrist or a therapist, therefore I suggest involving those professionals when their expertise is warranted. Multi-disciplinary approach to healing; it's as badass as it sounds.
(side note: even I have about 5 practitioners in my healing journey at this point in time. I have an acupuncturist, a naturopath, a functional nutritionist, a coach, and a therapist. Always walking my talk so I can deliver the best I have to offer to my clients and customers.)
Wrapping things up here, the key takeaways I want you to remember are:
- The bandaid approach heals nothing
- Getting to the root cause of your issues is the way to achieve true healing
- Symptoms are the body's wisdom coming through
- Suppressing symptoms does nothing to change the environment that allowed the symptom to arise in the first place
- True healing does not happen overnight and is often long, winding, and nuanced
- The body can heal when it has the raw materials from food to do so
- Utilizing a multi-disciplinary approach to healing is insanely important for sustainable health and healing long-term
- Involve your doc in your healing journey
This post is going to piss a lot of people off. Especially a lot of “health” care professionals. If you’re triggered by this, I encourage you to go inward and sit with that discomfort. Be present with those emotions, really allow yourself to feel into them, let them move through you, and try to uncover why you’re so triggered. Everything is a mirror.
And one final note: this is not medical advice, but mere musings and opinions from a critical care RN turned Holistic Health & Wellness Coach on the topic of true health and healing. Please use discernment with every bit of information you uncover on the internet, even the philosophies and suggestions I make here on this blog. All opinions expressed here are my own.
The power will always lie with you (and always has …)
Yours In Abundant Health & Healing!