Paying attention to symptoms is the key to understanding what's going on in your body. They are how the body “speaks”. Some of them may be quite obvious, while others are so subtle that you regard them as normal functions. Either way, symptoms are symphonies that the body composes to get your attention.
Your body speaks only when necessary, and symptoms are the way it says: “I don't want this in me any longer”, or “I'm not happy with the way you're treating me”. Your body loves you; it communicates to help you appreciate that you're in danger. I tell all my patients that symptoms are gifts from their physical selves. These gifts, however, arrive in very strange wrapping paper. Whether they include headaches, stomach pain, diarrhoea, nausea, fatigue, low-back pain, depression, panic, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease, or cancer, symptoms are the body's way of saying, “I am out of balance”.
These imbalances occur emotionally, structurally, biochemically or spiritually. When you indiscriminately take a pharmaceutical drug to address a symptom, you're basically telling your body to “shut up”, impairing its ability to heal. Emergency medicine is superb for saving lives in times of crisis. However, popping a pill for every ailment without addressing the underlying cause inhibits the body's natural capacity to heal itself. It's the same as taking the battery out of a fire detector in your home: Without the battery, the alarm can't alert you to danger. Even worse, the problem escalates – by suppressing symptoms, you mask the body's ability to warn you of danger lurking within.
Emotions can be defined as the energy that moves us. Considering that energy is always in motion, when we disconnect from, internalise, or deny an emotion, that energy takes a wrong turn that often keeps us stuck in a maze. Every time these buried emotions are triggered, the body becomes compromised and has to compensate, leaving it at risk for injury or opportunistic pathogens. Recurrent symptoms and chronic stress are the warning signs that emotions are trapped within the subconscious mind.
Symptoms start long before we become conscious of them. They usually begin as an uncomfortable feeling. When ignored, that uncomfortable feeling – that is, the emotion that we internalised, denied, or disconnected from – manifests in the body as an imbalance. This leads to stagnation or leakage of life force, which results in symptoms, depending on where the problem is located. If left unchecked, the imbalance becomes a pattern of “dis-ease”, and eventually pathology, that will devastate the body on every level.
The current medical-industry paradigm is to treat and suppress symptoms. For every symptom, your allopathic (medical) doctor is likely to write a prescription for you. Yet chronic diseases are at an all-time high – very few people are getting well. In our nation alone, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity are rampant in every age-group. Not one medication on the market cures these illnesses. Insulin, for example, doesn't eliminate diabetes. And doctors never say that chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery cures cancer; instead, they state that cancer is in remission
Of course, the doctor's intention is to alleviate the symptoms and help people get well. Many of the medications they prescribe, however, have what physicians refer to as side effects. I think that's a funny term: They're not “side” effects – they're the direct effects caused by the pharmaceutical drugs, and they create additional symptoms for which you're usually encouraged to take more medication. At that point, you're taking additional drugs for symptoms caused by the original medication. The cycle has spiralled out of control. What happens in the interim? By not listening to what your body was telling you in the first place, you've made it weaker and more vulnerable.
Just remember that nobody knows more about you than you. No one sees life through your eyes, hears with your ears, smells through your nose, tastes with your mouth, feels through your skin, or is aware of your intuition as acutely as you are. Once you embrace the fact that the natural state of the body is health and wholeness, you'll never look at a symptom in the same way again. As the late Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes remarked, “Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions”. Once you know, you know forever, and that means you must be authentic in how you live your life.