From the Parish Nurse, Dora Muller

“It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”  Hippocrates

Our bodies have the incredible ability of self-healing.  We all have memories of cuts, bruises, and broken bones.  However, when major health crises occur, how can we achieve a healthier lifestyle again?  To maintain a goal of self-care we should individually accept ownership of our health.  At the same time, let’s not forget that the combination of advances in medical technology and new drugs often have, by various degrees, been successful in eradicating diseases, curing cancer, and prolonging and improving quality of life.  Self-healing in some cultures explores the belief that the mind is a powerful tool to remove illnesses and improve health.  Even today in rural areas of Latin America and Africa, complementary therapies are well received.  The power of prayer is present in the healing process.  I have memories of healing prayers from my childhood in Brazil and the use of healing oils which were administered by our pastor to protect us against disease.  However, with our culture, more emphasis is on drugs and medical technology to cure and prevent diseases.  I just came across a study that explores the notion of self-healing with emphasis on building a relationship between doctors and patients.  Communication between health care providers and patients should be a priority and is essential to increase awareness and build trust, which should help activate one’s power of self-healing.  When a person assumes the responsibility for his or her own health, this will improve the process of self-healing.  In his book Saving Normal, psychiatrist Allen Frances summed it up well:  “Being able to enlist the confidence and hope of the sick patient has always been and still is the most essential skill in a great shaman or a great modern doctor.”  The human connection has often been lost due to the lack of the healing power of relationships in the sea of technology and pharmacology.  We often place too much importance on technology.  Personally, I am not against the advancements in medical technology and pharmacology.  We are living longer and with the desire to have productive and happier lives and we demand the most recent technology to keep our bodies moving.  By understanding the external stress that affects our health and learning to recognize the early signs that our bodies are in distress will help the process of healing.  Accepting our limitations is the first step to self-healing, and hopefully our relationships with our faith, and cultivate our mindfulness by quieting down our worries which will lead us to a better state of health.