Anatomy and physiology are not commonly studied, so it’s fair to say most folks are unaware of the amazing inter-workings of the human body. Numerous times I’ve overheard these types of comments: “I have a pain here. Is that where my liver is?” or “Is my appendix here or here?,” while hands sweep over the entire abdomen. I remember one woman telling me her kidneys were sore as she reached behind and rubbed the area six inches below her waist.
The body is comprised of trillions of cells all designed to work together in one harmonious whole. It is therefore logical to address our everyday health needs with a greater sense of causal effects rather than symptom suppression. As an example, let’s take a digestive problem in two different people. Each individual is experiencing heartburn, gas, bloating, and general digestive discomfort:
A. This person has no concept of what is occurring and wants the symptoms to go away. Over-the-counter antacids aren’t working, so a prescription antacid puts out the fire, affording relief. This approach will likely be followed for years. As new problems develop, more pills are taken to relieve the resulting symptoms.
B. Realizing there may be trouble digesting certain foods or just an overall decrease in digestive capacity, this person takes a plant-based digestive enzyme 15 minutes before a meal. For the initial occasional heartburn, herbs such as marshmallow root, slippery elm, or aloe afford relief. Pro-biotics are also taken to help restore a healthier balance in the gut. As digestion improves, the heartburn disappears. This individual also takes a closer look at eating habits, food choices, stress levels, etc., and makes changes where needed.
There is a difference in awareness. Person A is looking for symptomatic relief, and putting out the fire is the objective. Person B realizes there is an underlying problem or imbalance, and takes responsibility to improve lifestyle habits which may need tweaking.
Without addressing the cause, our choices often have a domino effect. Low stomach acid is far more prevalent than too much acid. Without an acid medium, mineral absorption is poor. The mineral magnesium, for example, is part of the enzymatic process to help produce stomach acid. Acid is necessary to take up minerals, so, we have a catch 22 as it were in an alkalized or neutralized stomach. With poor mineral absorption over time, bone strength suffers and bone loss may occur. Also, digestive processes occurring in the small intestine now have greater demands since the stomach didn’t do its optimal part in digestion. If insufficient fiber and liquid are consumed which is usually the case, the intestines begin to back up. Poor elimination of waste causes more problems through autointoxication. Sleep patterns are affected from resulting stress and worry, and energy levels plummet.
Appreciating how our bodies function with an innate capacity to heal, we will do our part in seeking the underlying causes rather than just suppressing symptoms. It doesn’t make sense to trade one symptom for a host of new ones as the imbalances become greater over time.