Why will a cut on your finger heal in time but a cut to a really good steak will not heal even if it is free of pathogens, stitched up perfectly, and a bandage is applied correctly?
It is this type of question that inspired the first chiropractors to search for the cause of one person in a family, living in the same conditions as the rest, to become ill or die while everyone else remained healthy. This is the crux of the difference between disease care and health care. This is the crux of the difference between medicine and chiropractic. The first focuses on the study of disease and what causes death while the second studies health and what facilitates life.
Looking only at science has, unfortunately, left this question unanswered and has actually revealed more questions that need to be answered rather than reducing them. To fully wrap our minds around this question we have to look at more than just science. This is why chiropractic was developed as a science AND a philosophy AND an art of things natural. Now many people who ascribe to science as an exclusive belief system mistake philosophy as being opposed to science. However, they are intimately related to each other. To simplify this relationship we can say that philosophy thinks up the questions that the scientific method attempts to answer through repeatable observation and hypothesis.
Chiropractic philosophy looks at nature through deductive reasoning, much like the fictional character Sherlock Holmes.
“In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practise it much. In the every-day affairs of life it is more useful to reason forwards, and so the other comes to be neglected. There are fifty who can reason synthetically for one who can reason analytically…Let me see if I can make it clearer. Most people, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what the result would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are few people, however, who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backwards, or analytically.” -A Study in Scarlet – Chapter 7 – Conclusion
“Let me run over the principal steps. We approached the case, you remember, with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. We had formed no theories. We were simply there to observe and to draw inferences from our observations.” – The Adventure of the Cardboard Box
Why do we need to reason backwards from simply observing? Good old Sherlock has the answer to this as well…
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.”-A Study in Scarlet
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” -A Scandal in Bohemia
So, before we come up with theories, we need to observe the facts.
- Fact #1) Living things are organized systems that come from other living things and have distinct characteristics that nonliving things don’t have like;
B) Grows and Develops AKA Self-organizing
C) Seeks Homeostasis AKA Self-regulating
D) Metabolism AKA Uses Energy
E) Response to environmental changes or stimuli AKA Interactive
F) Reproduces AKA Self-replicating
G) Biological evolution AKA Adaptive
- Fact#2) Dead bodies never heal, EVER!
- Fact#3) Law of Cause and Effect (in other words if there is an effect then there must be a cause. So if something is organized then something else had to organize it and transfer the energy to set it in motion)
- Fact #4) Nonliving mater does not spontaneously self organize into living mater without ‘that something’ that gives living things the characteristics of A-G
- Fact #5) If you are reading this then you started out life as a unique single celled organism made from the combination of two single cells from your father and mother.
- Fact #6) You then proceeded to build an incredibly complex community, of BILLIONS of individual cells, working together to experience a living existence.
- Fact #7) Most of the communication and functions necessary to sustain this organized, multicellular community is done without our conscious control or awareness. (in other words the cut on your finger will heal regardless of you thinking about it.)
- Fact #8) No living thing has ever been synthetically produced in a lab from scratch (yes, scientists have reprogrammed already living cells with synthetic DNA but have not built them from scratch regardless of what the media headlines say)
- Fact #9) No direct measure of Life, Life Force, Life Energy, or Vital Spark has ever been attained in a laboratory setting. Effects of this entity or substance have been measured but not the entity or substance itself.
- Fact #10) Artificial intelligence and man made machines are blurring the lines between living and nonliving but none have acquired the full list of characteristics.
Now on to the theories; Looking at the facts two theories have historically emerged, Mechanism and Vitalism. Mechanism is what reductionist reasoning brings the thought process to, where everything is made of the sum of the parts and it all works like a machine. Vitalism is where deductive reasoning brings the thought process to, where the mechanics of life and existence are evidence of an organizing Intelligence and the whole is greater than simply the sum of the parts. Vitalism does not deny mechanistic principles at work in nature but Mechanism denies vitalistic principles at work concluding that the parts are enough to describe all of the processes of Life and Nature. These two theories have been debated since the time of Plato and Aristotle. We are not going to go into too much depth about these two philosophies mainly because, after hundreds of years, neither can be proven nor disproven. For Vitalism to be proven some Life Force AKA Vital Spark must be directly measured and for Mechanism to be proven a living organism needs to be synthetically built from scratch with all of the characteristics of Life present and functional. Until either of these happen, although it is a fascinating debate, it is functionally useless for most people to choose sides.
If you have been reading other blog posts written by myself then by now you might have realized that I am convinced (AKA biased) about which one of these two philosophies is more correct. However, do you care what I think? Just because I see evidence day in and day out inside my chiropractic practice, it really does not help you much unless you are one of my patients. So lets get right down to it. What serves you best?
The short answer to the question of what heals the body is the living YOU! No amount of drugs, surgery, nutrition, positive thinking, chiropractic, acupuncture, or electrical charge will cause a dead body to heal. Healing is a function of life regardless of if you think life is simply a chemical reaction or if you believe in the existence of Life as an entity. Atheist heal just like saints. Mechanists heal just like Vitalists.
So what serves you best? To recognize that YOU are the healer. You can do lots of things to enhance your healing ability and support your body’s functions but as long as you are alive you have the potential to heal. If you want to really explore the potential that the human body has to heal itself then you need to look no further than what is called “The Placebo Effect.” This is one of the biggest thorns in the side of our current, science based medical care system in America. Most scientific approaches do not recognize any treatment in which the mechanism of action is not known, except the placebo. It is incorporated into the vast majority of scientific research on treatments for symptoms and diseases however how it works is a current mystery. What is even more mysterious is the fact that the placebo effect is increasing making it harder and harder for drug companies to show their products are of medical value.
The second disturbing fact about how we use placebos in science is when the effect is eliminated from the research because it is an outlier in the data and is not reproducible person to person. In reality there is no such thing as an “incurable disease” however since these spontaneous remissions are not common and they cannot be patented or profited from they do not get studied by mainstream science. Scientific research is expensive and unless there is the possibility of a big payoff from selling a product to sick people, drug companies will turn away from anything that places the power of healing inside the body of the sick person.
So what can you do to maximize your healing ability?
- NEVER EVER EVER GIVE UP!
When we lose hope and stop trying the possibility of ANY treatment working decreases significantly.
- Eat real food.
Without the correct fuel and building blocks a body cannot function much less heal. Herbs are one of the first forms of medicine ever used and because they are food they help the sick as much as they help the healthy.
- Drink pure water regularly.
It is one of the most abundant molecules in our bodies and is involved in most functions.
- Move your body regularly and correctly.
Without correct movement of the musculoskeletal system most other systems are slowed down in function.
- Exercise and learn to increase control of your mind not just your body.
Stress related diseases and conditions are one of the most common reasons people seek medical help. If you don’t learn to control your mind then someone else will and they will not be interested in what is truly best for you. Meditation and lifelong learning are two of the best tools we have!
- Seek the advice, council, and help from many different healthcare providers so you have the best information to make decisions.
Everyone has a bias and that includes doctors of all kinds. Don’t simply get one person’s opinion.
- SLEEP and relaxation are just as important to health and function as anything else.
What most people don’t realize is that we must practice them. Just because it was or is easy to sleep does not mean it will always be easy. Practice and set up good routines now before a problem sets in.
- Stay social.
Not only is our body a community of cells but we, as whole and complete beings, are set up to be social creatures. It is good to have alone time but it is also good to have social time. Love is a powerful drug.
- Decrease the toxins inside and outside of your body.
This includes chemicals as well as emotions, relationships, addictions, and habits. What is toxic to one person is not to another so don’t get caught up in the hype and marketing but rather spend lots of quality time listening and being aware of how your body responds. You are not a victim.
Finally always remember that you are the healer. No one on the outside of your body can repair or replace damaged cells and this is the only way healing happens. Embrace the responsibility you have to the cells of your body because that is where your power resides. The placebo and the nocebo effect are proof that healing and function are an integrated relationship between our mind and our body. We can use this knowledge to effectively enhance our lives so that we have no need to rely on the disease and sick care system that we have today. YOU are the healthcare system!
Feel free to leave questions and comments below.
As always, stay adjusted!