For years I thought health was about how you felt. I would, as a child, be taken to someone to get something to take something away. Interestingly, however I was also taught by my father at the age of seven that I had all the answers inside of me all I had to do was ask the question and trust my answer. These were two very conflicting ways of not only looking at my health but life as well! And it is from the lessons of my father that I have come to know a different way of looking at health.
At the age of ten whilst in the kitchen chatting with my mum about what she was baking, I coughed a couple of times. Before I knew it I was post haste taken to my uncle’s practice, our family medical doctor. We were seen to straight away and left with yet another prescription for amoxicillin. On the way home Mum got the prescription filled. I then found myself back in our kitchen in what seemed like less than an hour. My mum, coupled with her interpretation of health, slid a glass of water and a white tablet across the kitchen bench saying, “There you go darling this will make you feel better.”
I replied, “No thank you.” For the first time in my short life I refused to take a medication. I was taken back to what my father had told me about asking questions and trusting answers. Little did I know that asking myself a different question and trusting my answer that eventful day, ‘saying no’ to my mum and going to my bedroom to rest, would change the course of not only my life but the lives of mothers, families and children in the decades to follow.
As it transpired I progressed through school wanting to know everything about health and the human body. Importantly I wanted to know how people defined health, what drove people to make health decisions, how these decisions affected their health and what social and cultural factors affected health decision? I studied physical education and found some answers there. I was an athlete competing for Australia and living at the Australian Institute of Sport and found a few more answers there. However it wasn’t until I began studying Psychology and eventually Chiropractic that my encounters with some extraordinary professors and authors began to open different worlds for me.
This led me to looking specifically at different health approaches, not professions but approaches. I identified three. Common thinking at the time said there were two approaches the alloPATHIC (remaining passive) approach and the alterNATIVE (offering a choice) health approach. This article is about a third approach which I coined alterNATE where “NATE” means inborn.
This is the health approach I personally use. My husband and I have chosen to raise our three children within this approach not only using its wisdom in our health but in our lives as well.
Our children were all born at home, the last of which was a breech. I didn’t read specific books nor did I subscribe to a particular way to birth. What I had was what my dad had taught me at the age of seven — TRUST, combined with this alternate health wisdom. Trust that I had the answers within me; trust that I am a self-healing, self-regulating organism constantly adapting to my environment; trust that my child has intelligence and that he/she will also know what to do — instinctively and intuitively. As a result of my trust in who I am, I chose not to partake in the medicalisation of pregnancy with its ultrasounds, internal examinations, blood work, vaccinations and so forth that tends to keep people in a “fear based” and “what if” approach to health and in this case pregnancy.
To sit in this approach, takes a paradigm shift in one’s thinking and action. The alterNATE approach to health and life acknowledges that within the universe there exists a perfect order; a balanced order, synchronicity. We see this order within science and the universe — high and low tides, males and females, sunrises and sunsets, construction and destruction, light and dark, and so on. If we take this understanding into the body we too see the balance that exists — toxic and tonic reactions; sodium (+) and potassium (-) pumps across cellular membranes, inhalation, exhalation, parasympathetic (calming) and sympathetic (excitation) in the nerve system… and cell growth and cell death, all occurring at the same time. In fact you cannot have a positive without a negative; males without females; light without dark, construction without destruction and indeed health without disease.
With this understanding we have chosen to approach what I coined ‘health expressions’ (what other health approaches call ‘sickness’) as necessary components of our children’s growth and development. Our children have never been offered or taken a medication (over the counter or prescribed) but rather have received regular chiropractic adjustments since a few minutes after birth. Instead of wanting to fix things for them and take their health expression experience away, we get excited and focus on how amazing their bodies’ are and how they are creating the opportunity to become stronger by boosting their immunity.
In essence the alternate approach inspires a trust. We provide an opportunity for them to be masters of their health as opposed to victims of pain and suffering. The health support we provide them during a health expression includes chiropractic adjustments, healthy organic, non-processed eating (which we do all the time!), rest, and the all important conversations as a means of fostering their body’s healing potential. Our children have never asked for the pain to go away. In fact we do not reference the word pain, sickness, illness or any other term that buys into a sense of their experience being wrong.
In the alternate paradigm people acknowledge they have the ability to change and see themselves as active participants in their health creation. They are not searching for health because they understand that it is not missing. Rather they choose to express health in a different way, enabling them to ask different questions, leading them to different conclusions and the opportunity to express health differently. Life is not happening to them. They are the captain of their ship and a master of their destiny.
At the core of the alternate approach is a philosophy and a science that demonstrate a direct relationship between your body’s structure and function. This arises from the simple premise and scientific knowing that your nerve system controls and coordinates how you express health. Your nerve system is the master communicating system and innervates everything – cells, tissues, organs and systems. In other words how well you function depends on your nerve system. Any disturbance to the nerve system via physical, chemical and/or emotional means will affect your structure and your ability to function, express health, grow, develop and adapt to life. Hence attending to the integrity and wellbeing of your nerve system becomes paramount to supporting your health potential. It is upon this philosophy and science that the art of chiropractic was developed.
For my family as mentioned at the beginning I use the alterNATE approach; it is where I am most comfortable. I have used all three of these approaches in my life. I was raised in the allopathic approach and as you’ve read began at a young age to move away from it — it just didn’t sit well with me. My next best option was the alternative approach to health. I stayed here for some time until I met a husband and wife team in the very early 1990’s, chiropractors, who inspired me so much with their congruency of life that I too wanted what they had … an alternate view and way of approaching health and life.
I choose to enter the health arena via the alterNATE health approach. I have chosen to focus on my body’s and my children’s incredible capabilities and trust that I am and they are complete and well functioning in every way. I acknowledge that my nerve system is the master communicating system of my body and that my innate knowing uses this system to express my health. A well functioning nerve system providing clear communication results in different health expressions being created.
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