Can American’s practice preventative medicine?
by Ann Zimmerman, LAc.
Preventative medicine is taking action toward improving your health before you have any symptoms of illness or responding to the beginning symptoms of your body being out of balance. Every family has a health history and genetic tendencies toward weaknesses in certain areas of the body. We also know that these genetic tendencies are highly influenced by the lifestyle we live.
There is a famous saying, “If you continue to do what you have always done, you will continue to get what you have always gotten.” If you are not feeling well, chances are that you could list off a few things that you know could be improved in the way you manage your health. This speaks to the larger picture of paying attention to the choices we make and listening to the feedback our body is giving us. In general our sense of wellness and health is a pretty fine tuned feedback loop.
As Americans we typically struggle with the idea of prevention. Culturally we tend to satisfy ourselves in the moment and put other priorities before our health. We like to see how much gluttony we can get away with before our symptoms are yelling loud enough to make us change our habits. We tend to be very good at going to the extreme and doing even what could be healthy choices, such as exercise to excess. Each of us have made successful changes at different points in our lives, each of us have fallen off whatever good routine we had going, and its likely each of us have a couple of ideals we still are striving for to improve how we feel.
So what does it look like then to actually practice preventive medicine? I believe it is taking a honest look at how you run or react to your life. It is also bringing awareness to what kind of quality of life you want to enjoy and expect from you day to day. Perhaps, the expectations you have for your health are much higher than the amount of effort you are willing to put toward maintaining yourself or conversely you may have grown accustomed to having low expectations for ever really feeling good again.
What to do? Meet yourself in this moment . Start paying attention to your the cause and effect of the choices you make. Choose to notice how your actions and thoughts effect the way you feel. It takes a lot of personal motivation and discipline to make changes in your life. Try to look at your life from the prevention model versus reaction. If you are having trouble shifting this paradigm in general or regarding something specific ask for help from a friend or a healer. Each moment we are given another chance to do things differently.
Cheers to preventative medicine!