Are You Exercising Your Health Autonomy and Freedom?

I like to use any opportunity to celebrate to turn over a new leaf and possibly start again. With the upcoming Canada Day and Independence Day in the United States we have yet another reason to celebrate and reflect. This year, how about a commitment to and celebration of our right to health autonomy? Health autonomy is the freedom to learn, understand, choose and manage the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our families. If we have this freedom, why wouldn't we create a healthcare team and lifestyle that is preventative in nature and limit our need for reactive and medicated intervention? This year, let's commit to doing just that!

More than ever our immunity and good health is of utmost importance, and really our greatest asset, so let's take an honest look at what we do to create and maintain optimal health.

We are given so much freedom that we don't even really have to be rebels or outliers anymore, although, never totally give up on your inner rebel ;-) We don't have to go along with the masses and blindly accept our diagnosis and prognosis unless we understand and align with the verdict and solution.

I emphasize the words understand and align because it’s what matters most. We have a choice! It is not everyone's path to become a doctor or study medicine or even the body for that matter. But because our health is really all that we have and without it, we have a very low quality of existence if an existence at all. To some extent I feel like we have a moral obligation to ourselves, our children and our society to be educated on the basic fundamentals of maintaining good health so that we don't further overwhelm an already saturated healthcare system that ultimately isn't equipped to keep us healthy.

The current western medical system was not designed to help prevent illness and the onset of disease, rather it excels at addressing acute, emergency cases and primarily offers medication to treat chronic disease and illness. It is a system that waits for one to become symptomatic or sick before it kicks into reaction. For these reasons I don't think it's realistic for us to rely on our medical doctors and specialists to keep us healthy.

Having said this, I feel it is our responsibility to educate and empower ourselves to understand our bodies and our options and create a healthcare team that aligns with our values and the prescription we write for ourselves. Yes, that's right, the prescription for how we want to be supported from a health perspective in this dynamic walk of life. We are our own best doctors if and when we pay attention to and understand our bodies.

Educating ourselves and creating a caring and knowledgeable team that we trust to support ourselves and our family are the first and biggest steps to feeling confident and empowered with our healthcare choices. Gone are the days of naively trusting that a doctor, or any healthcare professional for that matter, is passionate, well rounded, holistic, and has our best interests at heart just because they are a doctor or have some other fancy letters after their name. It is our responsibility to be educated consumers of our own healthcare and fortunately we have the freedom to do so.

With an understanding and appreciation of the importance of mind body spirit interconnectedness when honoring our health and well being, in addition to our family doctor, we can choose an ideal and resourceful team that might include any or all of the following team members: an acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, naturopathic doctor, hypnotherapist, and or psychologist. 

As an acupuncturist, with nearly 20 years of clinical experience, I am trained to use the fundamental and time tested principles of Chinese medicine to further dissect any disease, illness or disharmony into individual patterns and address the actual root cause of illness rather than the symptoms of a disease. And this is where the magic lies!

Let's use diabetes as an example. When someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, medical doctors commonly prescribe the one size fits all drug, Metformin. When someone comes in to see me, I spend a considerable amount of time breaking their disease diagnosis into patterns that can be treated. Metformin deals with the symptoms. When you treat patterns you treat the root cause of why they developed a problem in the first place. While in the case of diabetes, it may be from a long history of too much sugar intake, there is often stagnation and or deficiencies within the body  that contribute to the problem.

This diagnostic process using the fundamentals of Chinese medicine can be learned and used as a framework for self-care, awareness, prevention and an understanding whereby empowered decisions can be made to take appropriate treatment action, of any kind.

Because we have the freedom to be the directors of our healthcare and have autonomy, we can be proactive much the same as when we take our vehicles in for regular maintenance. We think nothing about spending time and money to change the oil in our car on a regular basis but sometimes have a hard time getting our head around proactively scheduling regular treatments that can help maintain and optimize our own health and well-being. Why is this? I believe it is just a lack of permission to prioritize our own health. 

We set the example for our children and therefore these kinds of self-care practices need to be modelled so that they can get passed on from generation to generation. So let me ask you, what values around health and self-care practices were modeled to you as a child and what will you model for your children?

If you have already learned to intentionally incorporate a well rounded healthcare team to help support your families mental, emotional, physical, spiritual health and well-being; I suspect you rarely need western medical intervention beyond annual checkups (with the exception of injury or accidents), you and your kids don't get sick and run down frequently, you miss less work, your kids miss less school and activities, your energy levels are optimal, you have less pain in your body, you feel happier, you and your children feel confident and resilient, you're able to maintain a semi-regular exercise routine at minimum, you don't have big mood swings, you sleep through the night and feel rested in the morning… Need I go on???

The freedom and health sovereignty that is our birthright, is a gift that should be unwrapped and used for a lifetime to create optimal health and inner peace. Invest in your health! Model and set the stage for how you want all the people that look up to you and turn to you for guidance to feel and live their lives.


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Each week I will share with you new training, information and tips to help you and your family enjoy the best health!