Leave Well Enough Alone (May 26, 2020)
Once upon a time there was a chiropractor -- by name, Dr. Clarence Gonstead. This chiropractor was so good at chiropracting that he had to build a motel and an airstrip in his little town to care for all the happy patients who came from far and wide to be treated by him. (I'm not going to keep on like this, so please bear with me.) One of the things that made him a great doctor was following a rule that he's often given credit for originating (although he didn't):
"Find it, fix it, leave it alone. Let nature do the rest."
In the chiropractic biz, and I suspect in the health biz generally, we know that once you've managed to get someone 80-90% of the way back to normal they're going to heal up the rest of the way on their own. So at that point you can stop treating them. In fact, you had darned well better stop treating them. Because if you keep on messing them about, the possibility that you might get them just a smidgen better is far outweighed by the likelihood that you will muck something up. And that's where the "leave it alone" comes in.
Finding the cause of a problem and then fixing it is a no brainer. But once you are well on your way, stopping even a little bit before you get to that final state of perfection you've envisioned is not so easy to do. Particularly for people whose job it is to fix other people's health problems, quitting somewhat short of that goal can be a very hard thing to do. But you have to know when to do it, and you have to follow through. Intervening when someone's body isn't working properly is great, but you have to know when to stop. Or you could make things worse. Maybe a LOT worse.
I think that you can extend this idea to health in general. If you're following all the rules of proper diet and exercise, (not) drinking and (not) smoking and sleeping well, AND you feel good on top of all that, it's safe to say that paying big bucks for bottles of random Stuff, indulging in excessive exercise or trying odd diets are not going to improve your health.
Everyone has at least one thing in their life that, for whatever reason, they have to keep fooling with and just can't leave alone -- pursuing some weird goal of perfection that the world in general, if you could ask them, would say is perfectly fine just the way it is. What that "something" is varies from person to person. Sometimes it's their car or garden. Sometimes it's their hair. Sometimes, their spouse. All well and good. But when "it" is your health, all that tinkering can get you in trouble.
And sadly, the world being what it is, there are people who are more than happy to help you knock yourself out in pursuit of this elusive goal of, shall we call it, Wellness. Wellness seems to be some state of Health Beyond Health, some mythological state of beyond-perfect physiological functioning that can be imagined and even seen (in photoshopped pictures, anyway), but that doesn't exist in the real world. For people who out of general anxiety, a fear of a history of family illness, or just plain boredom are inclined this way -- well, I think that they should find another hobby. Else they might mess up something that is working perfectly well as it is.
One, there's health. Two, there's illness. Three, if you behave in an unhealthy fashion, or you don't feel good even though your doctor likes all your numbers, you probably have some level of unfitness or deficiency and therefore some type of illness coming down the road toward you. But that's it. I can't think of a fourth category. Certainly not anything that any self-appointed Wellness Influencer is secretly privy to, or able to provide you.
Yet somehow there seems to be an entire industry based on that idea, full of pretty ladies with bedroom hair hawking bottles of "Opti-Mom" and men with bulging muscles who want to teach you how to look the same in only three hours a day. That is SALES. It is NOT health. Do not be influenced by these people. That's why they call them influencers, you know -- they can convince you that something is wrong with you when it isn't, and sell you the made-up solution at the same time.
The classic rule of advertising is to cause anxiety in your target, and then to tell them how to cure that anxiety in your next breath. And the reason it's a classic rule is that it is very, very effective. Take a look at any ad and see how it's doing what I just described. Sneaky, huh?
I think we all have enough problems without worrying about things that are working just fine on their own. So I say if you feel good and are doing the right things to stay that way, just trust your body to know how to handle whatever might be coming its way.
Don't sweat nutrients that science hasn't discovered yet (or have withheld from you in order to make more money), a new classification your body, blood or aura falls into, or what your feet tell you about yourself that you had no idea was a problem before. Just stick to the basics and you'll be good to go.
--dr. diane holmes
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