RE:FORM Newsletter #22 – Symptoms or Secret Language?

I have had so many patients say to me “I know you don’t want to hear about my symptoms, but…” Given how many times I have heard this lately, I thought it was important for me to explain my view of symptoms. It’s not that I don’t want to hear about symptoms or that you can’t tell me what they are, I just view them differently than you do.

Society’s current view of health holds that if we have symptoms, we are sick and if we are symptom-free, we are healthy! And so much of modern health care, especially that which is medical in its approach, is geared toward ridding the individual of their symptoms.

Now at first, ridding the body of symptoms seems logical, noble and important – at least until you consider how the body functions. Many of the symptoms people experience are actually signs that the body is healing. Stopping these symptoms can actually inhibit the healing process.

For example, a normal fever rise is the body’s first line of defense against infection. Temperature goes up, which increases the body’s activity and signals the immune system to ‘turn on”. When we take something to decrease our temperature, it compromises the body’s natural healing response. When we ingest something that the body considers to be toxic, nausea and diarrhea are healthy responses (our bodies way of ridding the toxins from our system asap). When a joint is injured the body gives us pain to let us know to be careful, to avoid using it and re-injuring it. It swells to provide a natural splint to the area to protect the injured joint and gets hot as the body increases the circulation to repair and heal the injured tissue. The runny nose we get at the change of seasons is the body shedding the old respiratory lining, much like the trees shed their leaves and animals shed winter coats.

Each one of these symptoms is our body lovingly giving us an important message. The body can only speak to us in two ways – pain or pleasure – discomfort or comfort – ease or dis-ease. Our body uses the language of “symptoms” to communicate with us, to let us know if it is working or not working. Think about it… a heart that aches after years of abuse will signal us with chest pains. A stomach will flare up with an ulcer to let us know that we have life get too stressful.

When symptoms occur, when our body is trying its best to communicate with us, do we listen to what it is trying to say? Or do we just try to shut it up but stopping/quieting the symptoms? Do we ignore the body’s only voice and try to “silence it?” If we only try to stop the symptoms, we miss the gift our body is trying to give us.

So now I hope you understand my attitude towards symptoms. I want to hear about your symptoms, but I will not try to treat them or silence them – I will acknowledge them with something far greater than talking about them.

My purpose and intent is to turn on the amazing healing powers of the body. This allows our body to be in tune with all aspects of life. Sometimes when the body is in flow with life it has no symptoms, and sometimes it does. Sometimes we feel great, sometimes we feel our bodies healing and sometimes we feel our bodies telling us that a change is definitely in order.

Life is a unique and amazing process, it is not a single event. This is the same with healing! When your body is speaking, listen to what it is saying, acknowledge it and answer it. Educate yourself as to the body’s processes so you can understand its messages and help it heal. I think the body’s wisdom will amaze you and if you both listen and respond, the conversations you will have with surely enlighten you!

Have an amazing week.
Yours in health,
Dr. Martin Zollinger