The physicians of the ancient world believed that health comes from a power within the human body which they called "Vis Medicatrix Naturae" or the healing power of nature. The Greek physician-philosopher Plato observed that every living thing is activated by an "inherent vital principle" which both runs and heals the body-mind complex. This therapeutic force has been recognized in all cultures. The Chinese call it "chi," the Japanese "ki," and Ayurvedic doctors call it "prana" or "healing intelligence."
Modern chiropractic health science, with its roots in ancient Greek medicine, speaks of an "innate intelligence" that directs us to health and harmony. According to chiropractic philosophy, this healing force is mediated via the nervous system, and it is the removal of obstructions to the optimal functioning of the nervous system that is the foundation of chiropractic science. Daniel David Palmer, the founder of modern chiropractic, clearly stated these principles when he declared:
"Our organism is controlled by an innate intelligence through the medium of the nervous system, of which the brain is the main center."
These naturalistic views, while commonplace in the ancient world, have not been held in high regard in the past century. While in the last 100 years we have witnessed marvelous breakthroughs in understanding the intricacies of body functioning, we have, in the process, conceptually reduced the body to a machine and dismantled it into component parts. This has not proven to be a completely successful approach. Our level of detail and data on the body has grown immensely, but we have not even been able, for instance, to heal the common cold. We have peered more deeply inside the body and mind than ever before in history, but the mechanism by which the body-mind self-heals has eluded us. The doctor may set a fractured leg, but there is some other mysterious force or principle that actually knits and restores the bone to good health.
Scientists are only now investigating humanity's healing traditions and finding a common theme indigenous to all of them &endash; an Inner Physician present in all human beings to maintain and heal. Albert Schweitzer, M.D., one the last century's most respected doctors, remarked:
"The witch doctor succeeds for the same reason all the rest of us succeed. Each patient carries his own doctor inside himself or herself. They come to us not knowing that cure. We are at best when we give the doctor who resides within each patient a chance to go to work."
Dr. Schweitzer is referring to a force inside the body for self-correction that may be stimulated by the shaman or the surgeon.
The Inner Physician is our most important ally in life. In the book "Hatha Yoga or the Yogi Philosophy of Well-Being" by Yogi Ramacharaka, the author comments:
"There is within every physical body a certain vital force which is constantly doing the best it can for us, notwith-standing the reckless way in which we violate the cardinal principles of right living."
We violate those principles by our lifestyle, including any dietary indiscretions, lack of proper rest, and mental-emotional stresses. When the violation is too great for the organism, the Vital Force produces symptoms to wake us up. These symptoms are the body-mind's attempt to self-right itself, and, although we may desire fast relief from pain or depression using an external remedy, we need to pay attention to these signals from within. The Life Force is always working for self-preservation, always healing, even in its production of discomfort. Yogi Ramacharaka remarks:
"It is always working for life &endash; more life &endash; for health &endash; more health. And it often makes us sick in order to make us healthier &endash; brings on a disease in order to to get rid of some foul matter which our carelessness and folly has allowed to intrude in the system."
It may be a stretch of our usual thinking, but pain and symptoms are NORMAL responses to underlying health projects. They are Nature's attempt to self-heal, and they can guide us to solutions. In the book, "Healing From Within," author Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.d., concurs:
"Symptoms, then, can serve as a warning or message that something needs to be explored or changed in one's life. And because illness is a message, if we treat only its physical manifestations, it can linger on or recur until the message is heeded. The patient must be guided toward discovering the healing powers that lie within him."
Our health projects are sent from the Inner Physician to point the way to harmonize and self-heal.
The external physician or healer is, then, simply a facilitator for the Inner Physician. The real power is within the patient, not with the doctor. Although we all need "outside" helpers, ultimately all healing is self-healing, whether it is accomplished with diet, herbs, exercise or the ministrations of another human being.
When we recognize that the Innate is always our friend, and always working for our health, and that each of us possesses the Internal Medicine for self-correction, we can then fully relax, knowing we always have within us the greatest physician possible. This Inner Healer, who harbors a wisdom beyond our understanding, is always doing the best it can for us physically, mentally and even spiritually.
of the tissue-units, is the essential healer
of the sick, and not the physician."
- J.M. Thurston, M.D.
For for information about the Pythagorean Center, see the Directory of Information, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the office at (415) 459-4646.
Self-Help for the Body-Mind
1. Dr. Herbert Benson's Relaxation Response methods.
2. Hatha Yoga, Tai Chi, or Qigong exercises.
3. Bach Flower Essences
4. Chiropractic NVD Reflexology
6. Additional Reading: "Healing From Within" by T. Jaffe, Ph.D.
For additional information concerning these and other Mind-Body Methods, please contact our office.
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