The industrial medical response to illness is to treat the symptoms of illness while ignoring the message. If we have a cold, we take medicines that dry us up. If we have heartburn, we are prescribed medicines that block acid production. If we have allergies we are given anti-histamines, powerful systemic medications that block release of a key compound in the inflammatory/secretory chain of events. We call all effects of such medications that are not directly shifting our symptom “side effects,” but they are not peripheral; they are additional effects. Anti-histamines, for example, are systemic drugs that will make us drowsy, cause dry mucous membranes, and slow our digestion, causing bloating.
Homeopathic perspective says that illness is driven deeper into the body by treatments that only address symptoms instead of the underlying causes. Treating a skin problem with steroids or cutting out a small tumor does not end the imbalance. The problem will pop up in a more aggressive form at a later date if the underlying imbalance is not corrected. Surgery or pharmaceuticals can be helpful tools, but they are best utilized in a larger context. If the underlying cause is a vibrational pattern, a misunderstanding, then the vibrational pattern that caused the problem is ultimately what needs to be corrected.
Years ago I had a patient with a severe case of psoriasis. It covered parts of her face and much of her arms. We tried many tools to correct it and these would work for a while, but eventually the problem would return full-force. This puzzled me, so we gently explored her feelings about the psoriasis. She thought her skin condition made her look “ugly” and “freakish” but also admitted that it gave her a barrier to others and made her feel safe. When the psoriasis was active she was less likely to be touched, and she realized she felt quite vulnerable when it was not present. It turned out that she had experienced incest as a child. She had known this and thought she “had worked through it,” so had never connected the incest and her feelings of vulnerability with her psoriasis. She and I agreed it was pointless at that time to try to “cure” a skin condition that was the only thing helping her maintain a sense of safe boundaries. She entered into somatic psychotherapy to develop a greater sense of ease in the world, and liked it so much that she decided to become a somatic psychotherapist.
I saw her again, several years later. She was a different and much happier individual. She had good self-esteem, healthy boundaries, and was in a loving relationship with a compassionate man who really understood her. She had confidence about her safety in the world. Her skin was better without any remedies, natural or pharmaceutical. We were easily able to clear up most of the remnants of the problem with some dietary changes and herbal support. She still has bouts of mild psoriasis but has learned to work with this manifestation and notice minor feelings of vulnerability and fearfulness before the problem gets very big. She actually enjoys the opportunity for honest, non-judgmental self-examination that her skin condition affords her, greeting it with a willingness to embody a greater wholeness, greater self-love, and greater inner and outer peace.
Excerpted from Transforming the Nature of Health: A Holistic Vision of Healing that Honors Our connection to the Earth, Others, and Ourselves by Marcey Shapiro, MD, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2012 by Marcey Shapiro. Reprinted by permission of publisher.
Stay tuned for more thoughts from Marcey Shapiro, MD, on “Transforming Health” and Heart Centered Living