I look for the root cause; the common denominator amongst a conglomeration of symptoms. That is what we are seeking after all, isn’t it? An understanding of the original instigator or instigators, the removal of which can allow for healing.
See a note posted in this blog by one of my patients who used to have severe episodes of shortness of breath each night: http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/02/18/fda-announces-new-asthma-medication-labeling/#comment-23861
We don’t really need a “diagnosis.” In fact, I often find that while chasing a diagnosis, and when a diagnosis is finally given, patients with health issues are stopped from healing due to “attachment” to the diagnosis. A diagnosis can define a person, and once a person identifies with a diagnosis, there is less and less chance of moving beyond the diagnosis to health.
The way I look at it is that what we (patients and I) are really seeking to find is the underlying cause of illness so that, with the motivation to heal, we can create change that allows the body to return to optimal health.
A couple distinctions that I find to be important in healing are:
1. There is most often more than one cause. While it may please our minds to think that there is just one “cause,” I find that it is much more likely that there are multiple causes, all impacting the body at once and resulting in unpleasant symptoms, often in various locations.
2. Symptoms in different locations ARE related. How could they not be? It is all one body after all. It is by looking at symptoms in various locations and thinking about how they are related that I often find the underlying cause!
3. The underlying cause(s) act as “stressors” to the body. The brain first responds to a stress, any stress, and sends a message to the adrenal glands to respond. The response, which is temporarily helpful (in most cases), ends up perpetuating a cycle of reactivity and compensation that effectively spreads throughout the body, creating symptoms along the way.
It reminds me of a children’s book I read recently with Ella (my 7 year-old daughter). Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. While it seemed like a great idea at first, a factory that uses the beautiful Truffula Trees to make fluffy sweaters eventually uses up all the trees and destroys the surroundings, with no way to return things to the way they were.
While it may seem simple, to identify the cause and remove it, in a society filled with ways to satisfy cravings, avoid change and to “stick a bandaid” on unpleasantries, it is actually quite a shift to look for the root cause AND address it!
Examples of Root Causes (and subsequent causes):
- Emotional Stress (Grief for example)
- Food Intolerances (with continued exposure)
- Physical Trauma (injuries and surgeries)
- Infection (Lyme, Mono, Bacterial, etc)
- Change in Intestinal Bacteria (after antibiotics for example)
- Metal Toxicity
- Skipping Meals (more than 3 hours between meals)
- Lack of Sleep at night (less than 8 hours during darkness)
- Extreme Exercise
- Environmental Allergens and/or Toxic Exposure
- Shift in Hormones (pregnancy, menopause)
- Change in Job, Home or Relationship
- Exposure to Foods contrary to Blood type
I would go so far as to say that in EVERY case that I see, at least one or more of these root causes are present or occurred within the year prior to seeking my care.
Different then in The Lorax, I do find that happy endings are possible. My “work” is not only to identify which of these “stresses” are present and to support patients to eliminate them, but also to assist the body to return to wellness. The body has a way of “backing itself into a corner” so to speak, and I find that it is by establishing an internal environment that is closest to what we see in patients who feel well, that it is possible for the body to take over with healthy function.
It is as if we are setting the scene for the body to walk into. Why not walk into the paradise of optimal health?
I hope to see you soon, on the beach, in my office or at one of my lectures. Please visit doctordoni.com to find out more about my upcoming public lectures in Port Jefferson and Manhattan.
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