by Sarah Bricker
It was 8 years ago. I was in my senior year of college, and I was studying pre-med courses at Indiana University. I remember that I was sitting in a lecture hall taking notes for Microbiology and Pathology, and the topic at hand was “viruses”. My study partner and I whispered to one another with a light chuckle, discussing how viruses were similar to zombies; neither was technically dead nor alive, and in order to procreate they had to “inoculate” their victims with a stab / bite. The professor went on to explain that the greatest weakness of a virus is heat, and that when a viral infection gains the upper hand, the body will increase its own temperature in order to combat the virus. He then continued on to explain that one should administer a drug which contains acetaminophen, like Tylenol, Aspirin, or Ibuprofen, in order to lower the fever. Confused, I approached the professor after class. “I’m sorry Doctor, I must have overlooked part of your explanation, and I have a silly question… why do we reduce the fever if that is what kills the virus?” He looked at me suspiciously, “because people die from high fevers” he explained shortly. “Um, yes, I understand that” I replied reluctantly, “but most fevers don’t reach life-threatening temperatures, so generally speaking, why don’t we want to let the body kill the virus with the heat?” My pencil was ready in hand for the doctor offer a nugget of wisdom upon me, a lowly student. But our conversation continued to spiral into further annoyance on the professor’s part, and a realization on my part that I wasn’t confused, but I actually disagreed with the doctor about the best way to care for a fevering patient.
This conversation changed my mind about healthcare forever. I realized that there were many facets of health, each with varying perspectives, which result in varying treatments. In some cases, a specific treatment has become so commonplace that it appears to the general public as being the only method of treatment. For example, cancer is always treated with chemotherapy, Asthma is always treated with an inhaler, and fevers are always treated with Tylenol… right?
Conventional Healthcare Professionals most often seek to relieve their patients of pain or discomfort (a noble endeavor), and therefore focus on an external source (a drug) to address the issue at hand. This of course presents certain risks, causing serious side-effects, and often leads to over-diagnosis and excessive prescriptions. Wellness Professionals look inward, focusing on the body’s innate wisdom for healing, and supplementing the healing process when necessary. This approach emphasizes the long-term welfare of the patient. In regards to fevers, the body will not spend energy to raise its own temperature higher than what is necessary to kill an infection (assuming an otherwise healthy body). It’s also safe to assume that the body will return to a stable temperature once the infection has passed. This allows for faster overall healing, and a stronger Immune System…but you’ll be uncomfortable for a while. So how do you decide which approach to take? Ask yourself whether you are taking medicine to support the body or relieve the patient.
Stillpoint Family Chiropractic is of the opinion that the body is magnificent and intelligent, and will perform optimally if given the chance, with a balanced diet, regular exercise, a supportive community, and frequent chiropractic check-ups. We support the principle that the body’s aptitude for health should be honored throughout your day-to-day routine. We seek to find the cause of sickness, not cover it up; this is called Wellness. The exception to this philosophy is when the body has experienced a severe trauma and requires immediate, life-saving treatment; this is called Emergency Care. If you are ready to make the change from Healthcare to Wellness Care, please continue to read our blogs for support, and call to make an appointment with Dr. Mary Grace Pennella – we’d love to accompany you on this journey.
Yours in Health,
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