Mapping Out Your Health Priorities

Think about a time when you had to make a big decision about something. Changing careers. Moving to a different city. Investing money. You probably spent a lot of time thinking through the pros and cons of each choice you could make and the risks of each action you could take: What if the new career doesn’t work out? How would you support yourself and your family? What if your investment fails? Are you prepared to take the loss?

Maybe you thought out all of this in your head. Maybe you wrote it down. But with so much on the line, you knew it was wise not to rush your decision but to think it through as thoroughly as possible, talking with your loved ones, getting additional opinions, and so on.

I find it strange that so few of us tend to be as thorough as this when it comes to decisions about our health. Indeed, it seems the prevailing habit is to not think – about the quality of the food we eat, the drugs we put into our bodies, the stress our bodies are put under by sedentary lifestyles full of psychological stressors. Yet the decisions about how to treat our bodies are the most important of any we make in our lifetimes. They impact every part of our daily lives. Their outcomes dictate all the other choices we can make. They are all ultimately life and death decisions.

Part of this tendency to be passive comes, I think, from how we are conditioned to believe in the precepts of conventional Western medicine. This kind of medicine sees the human body as a sort of machine, a collection of parts that may be worked on in isolation. Conventional dentists and physicians treat patients by doing things to them: filling the cavity, setting the broken leg, performing surgery. The patient is not active but acted upon, and the practitioner becomes an authority to whom we’re encouraged to defer all choices. It’s the old-fashioned paradigm of “Patient Knows Nothing, Doctor Knows Best.”

And it’s wrong

Your body is no mere machine. Nor is it just some collection of parts. It is an intricately made, unified organism; the physical manifestation of an individual life. It is a self-regulating system, built to heal itself under the right conditions. Thus, each of us becomes responsible for doing all possible to create the conditions of health. If illness is not an immediate issue, it’s a matter of feeding and treating the body well in order to stay strong and healthy, all systems running efficiently and in harmony. If illness is an issue, then we consult with specialists such as dentists, physicians, chiropractors, osteopaths, body work specialists, acupuncturists, nutritionists and so on to help us. Under their guidance, we take a journey of discovery to locate the true sources of the problems and receive expert support in eliminating those sources and nurturing the healing body.

But above all, each of us is the primary agent of our own well-being. Consequently, it is good for us to be deliberate in our health choices, to make informed decisions that are aligned with our values and life circumstances.

Not everyone will make the same decisions in every case. Consider the issue of mercury fillings, for instance. Not everyone responds to the same way to their presence. Many get sick, but not all. Those who are sick may choose to have the mercury removed and replaced with a nontoxic alternative as soon as possible, while those with strong immune systems and who present no symptoms may choose not to do so. Maybe it’s just not financially doable at this time. Or maybe they worry that the removal process could increase their toxic burden is greater than the physical effects of keeping the fillings. Yet another person who’s presenting no symptoms may choose to have the fillings removed and replaced as a preventative measure.

These are individual choices

As a Biological dentist, I am in no position to make choices for you. What I can do – and indeed take great pride in doing – is to help you understand your individual situation through information-gathering and clinical testing, then show you the options and help you make the most informed decision possible. Philosophically, this is the only ground a conscientious practitioner can really take – the ground of being a teacher. And after all, the word “doctor” comes from the Latin word that means “to teach.”

And then after teaching, I do what I can to provide the services, treatments and therapies that you have deemed most right for you where you are right now.

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