Is it time to look for an alternative way to take care of our health?

There was an article in Sunday’s Observer (June 1st 2014) that piqued my interest, “How antibiotics are making the world ill” – it was an extract from scientist Martin Blaser’s new book “Missing Microbes”.

In the article Martin Blaser explains why he thinks the world is` suffering from a whole raft of modern ailments, in his words, “obesity, childhood diabetes, asthma, hay fever, food allergies, oesophageal reflux and cancer, coeliac disease, Chron’s disease , ulcerative colitis, autism, eczema” because of our over use of antibiotics. It would seem that the antibiotics kill not just the “bad bacteria” but the “good bacteria” too, which we need to keep our body in perfect health and balance, and this destruction of our internal microbe population is causing us to get sick.

Blaser ends his article by discussing the role of the scientist : “We seek to reverse the damage seen in people around the world, including establishing strategies for putting back missing microbes. A key step in every approach is to reduce overuse of antibiotics in our children, starting now…..This is a challenge we can and must meet”.

This article interested me particularly because I am a huge advocate of self care management. I have not needed to visit my GP now for over 14 years. That’s not to say that I have not been off colour (and I would seek medical attention if I needed it, I’m not suggesting for a moment that we should not embrace alopathic medicine where necessary), and I am profoundly grateful for my good health, but I also do a great deal to look after myself and take full responsibilty for my health.

In my next series of blogs I would like to delve into this theme of self care mangement. I believe that Martin Blaser’s book will be a real wake up call, we will no longer be able to rely on antibiotics, so as a nation we must start looking at other ways to stay healthy. Of course antibiotics have their place in our health care, and I am not recommending that you throw away all your medications and manage your health on your own, but I do think there is room for a discussion on the role of comlementary therapies and other systems of healing for keeping us well.

Perhaps the sticking point with taking responsibility for our own health, is the time, effort and discipline it takes to do this….and it does take time, effort and discipline! If I have a cold, I take myself off to bed and rest. I use a steam inhalation and clean out my nostrils a couple of times a day. I eat well, take vitamin C and echinacea. I tailor my yoga practice to ease the cold symptoms I am experiencing. I use whatever aromatherapy oils, acupressure points or homeopathic remedies I feel will help, which takes time for me to research this. So, yes, I spend time looking after myself and I would be able to “get on with my life” (as the adverts tell me!) if I took a cold remedy, but I choose to follow a different path. The cold is telling me something, my body is asking me to take note and take more care.

It also takes time, effort and discipline to keep up with a daily yoga and meditation practice, regular exercise and stick to a healthy diet, and all the things I do to maintain my wellbeing. I’m not denying that, and I’m only human, it does slip, but it is worth it. I strongly believe that we are all worth that TLC.

Self care management has the potential to pay great dividends. If there’s one thing I have learnt over my 20 years of yoga practice and working in this field, it’s that little steps of self care management can make a huge difference, not just to our physical health but to our mental and emotional wellbeing too. Martin Blaser’s comments are a call to action – surely it is time to take control of our own health, relying on the wisdom of our bodies? Then if we do need to use allopathic drugs we are doing so in an informed way, and a way which will ultimately help us more.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this subject and look forward to exploring this theme further. Ix

 

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