Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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Extraordinary Health

                    
     

    

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

                 

                                                                                  Extraordinary Health

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Can you have Extraordinary Health?  Or does it sound depressing because you'll never be that healthy?  Or does it make you want to drown your sorrow with a beer and forget all about it?

Or just maybe you can read a book.  Now this is really good news.  You don't even have to read the whole book.  You can start at the end of the book (Slow Medicine, Dr. Michael Finkelstein, Morrow, 2013) consider the 77 questions listed there and then decide which areas to address.  Or you can read the whole book because its enlightening and refreshing.  You don't have to  line up for vaccines and shots, you don't have to spend hours in doctor's offices, you can even start to feel well again as hope and control of your life return. The book costs $12.75 on Amazon and could save you time as well as money.  Amazon readers rate the book at 4.8 out of 5.0 stars.  The 23 Amazon raters praise Slow Medicine as a book you can read, re-read and highlight as you learn to improve your health. 

Of course this book won't cure all your ills, but you can become an active and vital part of your health care.  It's an extraordinary find that 66% of Americans give our health care system a rating of C or lower!  Dr. Finkelstein describes his previous medical practice like many doctors, seeing suffering patients, writing a lot of prescriptions with very little time or opportunity to get to know his patients.  We find ourselves receiving pills and more pills, xrays and operations, in and around the revolving door to ill health and possibly early death.  In contrast we can look for Slow Medicine where we become an important part of a process to improve our lives.  If you've tried to find an integrative or holistic doctor, good luck, unless you have a lot of time and money and don't need to use insurance. What about all these drugs?  Dr. Finkelstein tells us that "even the best drugs come with potentially dire consequences." He cited a well-advertised anti-depressant drug which listed 22 side effects including depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, decreases in white blood cells, seizures or convulsions, increases in blood sugar levels in some cases serious and associated with coma or death,  He tells us that "doctors have been trained to be overly reliant on external indicators of illness or wellness, and most are further constrained by the limitations of a profit-driven health care system. "Their quick fixes often add imbalances, thereby exacerbating the original problem and causing a slew of complications."

I cannot provide you with all the information available in this 317 page book.  Instead I've chosen some issues to describe which you may find interesting and helpful. Dr. Finkelstein tells us the important proviso that physical symptoms often reflect systemic challenges which might not be related to the body part involved.  He brings us the example of a problem in the wheel of a bicycle.  Unless there's something stuck in a spoke, more likely there's a problem with other parts of the bike causing the wheel issue.  Slow Medicine is holistic. In this paradigm all the parts are interconnected.  "Many acute problems such as heart attacks and strokes are very often preventable emergencies that occur almost inevitably as the last stage of poorly managed chronic problems.  So lets take care of ourselves today and we won't have to remain in fear about our future."

Over many years of human history mankind has traditionally been slim, trim and agile, living a long healthy life.  What changes have been caused by our modern conveniences and store-bought food? "We do everything to excess. We eat giant burgers, drink giant beers, smoke giant cigars, and watch a giant amount of TV on our giant TV's over our giant bellies...We should stay conscious of the various ways food scientists and manufactures pack in the drugs (literally) that short circuit the pleasure centers of our brain to give us quick, cheap highs...Sugar and fat and artificial chemicals work the same way on brain chemistry as drugs like cocaine do.  Pile in that mac and cheese full of butter, salt and highly processed white flour, and the brain very soon gets a boost of dopamine.  Of course we know it crashes soon after, then sends us in search of another quick fix."   We're consuming 500 to 800 more calories per day than in the 1970's.

The book provides commentary about other issues raised in the 77 questions.  I'll discuss a few of the issues you may find interesting or useful.  How do you usually deal with a fever?  Most of us just reach for a pill bottle.  When we do, Dr. Finkelstein tells us, "we act against nature.  When it comes to one of the most common causes of fever, infection...the hypothalamus...raises the body's temperature to kill many kinds of pathogens and to allow infection-fighting white blood cells to move around more freely in search of the invading organisms.  With the exception of very high fevers (105 degrees and up), which can cause serious damage to the body and therefore require immediate treatment, fevers... should run their own course. Using unnatural aids to reduce fever (aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen) typically prolongs illness rather than shortening it, even while ignoring the cause."

Good sleep!  Very important!  This is a major issue causing health problems and another example of the way we are ignoring the natural order according to Dr. Finkelstein.  Adults in the United States average just 6.7 hours of sleep a night, and 43 percent of adults use sleep aids.  The prescription drug sleep market is worth 23.7 billion, and is growing nearly 9 percent a year.  Additionally Dr. Finkelstein explains how our use of "artificial lights throughout the evening and night disrupts the body's natural circadian rhythms, often with dire consequences in the long term...Artificial light, especially at night, wreaks havoc with melatonin, the hormone that helps make sure you have a good night's sleep...Good sleep can even reduce chronic diseases...Studies have even shown an association between a disruption of circadian rhythms and an increased risk of cancer."

Dr. Finkelstein raises an important point about our disconnect with the natural world.,, about "reconnecting to those things that are more inherently fulfilling--such as loved ones and the bounty of nature--rather than fleeting material possessions such as your Lexus and your Jet Ski.  This can move you into a more balanced and healthy state."  He discusses a "nature-deficit disorder"  affecting children and adults even to "literally fear nature.  The sun causes cancer.  if you lie on the grass you might get bitten by a tick.  Jellyfish sting!  All this fear and avoidance exacerbates the dearth of unstructured, healthy natural activity...Both children and adults who either feel or are disconnected from a vital source such as nature, family or the divine are ripe for various sorts of overindulgence, in a vain effort to fill that void...food, drugs...sex...material goods...leads to a never-ending cycle of fear and emptiness."

Some of the Slow Medicine recommendations will take time to implement while others are easier to fit into your busy day:  Stretches and abdominal breathing.  Dr. Finkelstein recommends a few good wide stretches and a few minutes of abdominal breathing  daily.  He advises us to avoid sucking in the abdomen as we are trained to do as it causes stress-filled tight shallow chest breathing.

 

Emotional issues are more complex.  Anger management. "Unchecked anger is like a fire that consumes everything in its path,  When we're lost in anger, we literally lose our minds.  In particular, prolonged anger, better understood as brooding resentment, eventually intensifies our experience of fear and anxiety as we become more self-centered, separate, and isolated."  Grief. "As powerful as anger, grief can also cripple us if we don't deal with it skillfully."  Dr, Finkelstein has provided us some information about finding meaning in pain and illness.  Additionally he advises "Don't fear the reaper!...We cover up the signs of mortality with hip clothes, cool cars, cosmetics and surgery, and hide the reality of death by slathering makeup on corpses to make them appear lifelike."  Lets not live with denial and anxiety.  Lets live with purpose, integrity and authority.  Dr. Finkelstein has found that when his "patients get at the root of underlying emotion their chances for physical relief become far greater" and provided encouraging examples. Question 46 does inquire if you engage in "meditation, contemplation or psychotherapy" as recommended.

As you can see, Dr. Finkelstein's prescriptions go beyond traditional medicine.  He recognizes that we are more than flesh and blood, and drugs and surgery do not sustain us. His review of hundreds of studies "concluded that people who believe in God or some other force greater than themselves tend to live healthier lifestyles.  They are physically stronger and actually need less health care from doctors, hospitals or drugs.  In other words, they're healthier...The magnitude of the possible impact on physical health...might approximate adding seven to fourteen years to life."

This book was written before Spiritual Light was released even though Spiritual Light was years in preparation for us from the greatest spiritual leaders of all times now residing in the heavens.  You may recall the three articles about Spiritual Light published recently in the Chatham County Line and now available on my website.  As a beautiful song tells us, when you walk through life with spiritual assistance, "You'll Never Walk Alone!"