New Age Marcus Welby…
One of my patients called me a “new age Marcus Welby” today! I was quite flattered. Do you remember the old TV show Marcus Welby, M.D.? He was the quintessential family doctor; he could take care of anything from a broken bone, to a baby being born, to relationship advice.
Whatever happened to that kind of GP? Whatever happened to taking care of the whole person? These days, our healthcare practitioners keep becoming more and more specialized. This can be very helpful at times, but we lose the perspective of the whole person and we no longer can trust that our doctors have a wide range of knowledge and are looking at the big picture. Specialization – on the positive side – means a comprehensive understanding of an aspect of the body. On the negative side, it can mean tunnel vision, a focus so narrow that you can’t see the forest for your microscopic analysis of one tree.
Now I can’t fix a broken bone or deliver a baby, but I feel it is an essential part of my job to always look at the whole person. A woman came to me last week with terrible lower back pain and sciatica. Is this a purely physical, structural problem? Does she need some bodywork and back exercises? Or should we also look at the fact that her husband has cancer, she is burning herself out as a caretaker, and her stress level is creating high cortisol levels that are creating a chronic inflammatory state. High stress hormone (cortisol) levels also suppress your production of serotonin, so no wonder she is depressed, can’t sleep and is gaining weight. And from the energy medicine perspective, the first Chakra, at the base of the spine, is related to issues of security and safety; so lower back problems are often related to fears around our security in the physical world.
Allopathic medicine would give her an anti-inflammatory (which can cause serious stomach problems – that would really help her stress levels!) They would possibly send her for physical therapy to work on her muscles, and tell her to lose some weight. And if all else fails, there’s always back surgery!
When you just look at the symptom, when you see the lower back as the whole problem, this makes sense. When you look at the whole person, you see the amazing intricacy and complex interconnections of this particular human being and you have the remarkable opportunity to access healing through body, heart, mind and spirit.
Yours in Peace and Healing,