Dr. Terry Rondberg
Special to the Village News
Those people who are closer to a state of wellness will engage in voluntary actions that will help them reach higher states of function and quality of life, regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms, such as exercising, eating healthy, practicing meditation or yoga, involvement with community, and receiving wellness care such as that provided by brain health practitioners. In contrast, people who seek disease/symptom care, as those closer to a state of illness, usually take action when a “problem” becomes obvious, usually because of symptoms.
These people who are closer to a state of illness on the illness-wellness continuum usually feel disconnected from others as well as themselves. Their awareness becomes narrowed and distracted, and they become self-absorbed. This is accompanied by a narrowing of adaptive responses to life’s challenges and stresses.
This is stress physiology in action, and most of us could think back to a time – perhaps recently – when we faced a major crisis in life in which everything going on around us became a blur as our focus narrowed.
On the other hand, someone who is experiencing wellness may see symptoms as a sign of a body functioning the way it should and may view a health crisis as an opportunity for growth and change. In contrast, one who is in the mode of illness may see symptoms as a major regression, a burden that they do not have time to deal with.
The outdated, but still widely practiced, model of reality or paradigm when it comes to health is called the “medical model.” It holds that we are healthy if we have no symptoms and unhealthy if we do.
Let me make this clear: it is not only modern medicine that subscribes to the medical model. Even so-called natural healthcare systems often practice this way. A person presents to their office, and if they have a cold or an ache or pain, they are given herbal medicine or an acupuncture treatment or an adjustment. When the person’s symptoms go away, treatment ends.
The problem with this should be obvious: most of us, at one time in our lives, got food poisoning. We ate something that was spoiled and we quickly, and rather unpleasantly, got it out of our systems. I would argue, however, that we were not sick then. Instead, our body was expressing its health – its ability to get rid of a poison, and quite effectively at that.
On the other hand, is the case of “poor Andy,” who was supposedly never sick a day in his life yet drop dead suddenly of a heart attack at 57. I’d wager that Andy had symptoms but did not consider them to be the call-to-action that they often are. Perhaps his symptoms went something like this: “I hate my ex-wife.” Or “I can’t believe I’m still stuck in this job.” Or “My life is passing me by and I have done nothing with it.”
Or perhaps his symptoms were actually physical. Maybe Andy felt more fatigued than he should, or had chronic foot pain or perhaps he had intermittent shortness of breath or minor chest pains. Like most men – and, increasingly, most women, Andy was frustrated because he wanted immediate relief and when he didn’t receive it he gave up to soon.
This is an actual medical condition, called alexithymia, in which a person loses the ability to perceive the internal cues that their body is constantly providing them with. Andy probably thought, once he could no longer feel his symptoms, that he was safe from harm. And then comes that fateful day which is actually, in his case, the fatal day, after which he will never be able to listen to his body again.
Health, as defined by the 2012 Physician’s Desk Reference is “a state characterized by anatomical, physiological, and psychological integrity, ability to perform personally valued family, work and community roles; ability to deal with physical, biological, psychological, and social stress; a feeling of well-being and freedom from the risk of disease and untimely death.”
The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and emotional well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Arizona State University also has a concise, yet comprehensive, definition of wellness: “Wellness is an active, lifelong, process of becoming more aware of choices and making decisions toward a more balanced and fulfilling life. Wellness involves choices about our life and our priorities that determine our lifestyles. The wellness concept is centered on connections and the idea that the mind, body, spirit, and community are all interrelated and interdependent.”
These are beautiful words and I agree with them wholeheartedly. Sadly, the medical establishment is still in the grip of the very powerful pharmaceutical industry and has no interest in putting these concepts into practice.
The quotes that I just shared are yet another indication that a new paradigm is struggling to be born. The other side of the medical paradigm, the newly emerging paradigm of health, I call the brain based-spiritual model and it is big and multifaceted.
The brain based-spiritual model of health takes a holistic approach rather than a medical approach to promoting health and addressing illness and pain. As I see it, there are four key components to this model. They are:
First – Health comes from within. Whether you want to call it the “wisdom of our cells,” “homeostasis,” or “innate intelligence,” the fact is that our body is always trying to direct us towards, not merely survival, but health. Each one of us has experienced this countless times, starting with the early days when we were constantly skinning our elbows and knees, only to have them heal themselves as a natural course of events.
I take great comfort in the fact that health is our birthright, a “possession” that we always have at our disposal. When I approach a patient, I know that all I have to do is get my ego out of the way and gently correct interferences to the brain and this will allow a patient’s health to be restored.
Second – Holistic brain health includes honoring specific symptoms, but also promotes the overall holistic brain based health and well-being of individuals, families and communities. Spirituality, as well as the way we think and the beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world, all have a role to play in this aspect of holistic brain health by supporting actions that enhance physical and mental well-being. For example, many traditions address caring for the body, avoiding behaviors that debase the body and spirit, or support healthy diet choices.
Third – Holistic brain health recognizes that for some individuals and families, the experience of illness and pain may relate to deeper – even spiritual – concerns and that those concerns may manifest themselves as physical symptoms. The brain health practitioner advocates their patients growing in these deeper ways, in large part by working on themselves and modeling holistic brain health to the patient.
Fourth – Holistic brain health approaches address not only the causes of physical symptoms in the individual, but also recommend that their families – the direct extension of an individual – receive the care and support of a brain based health practitioner. I believe that just as the family is an extension of any individual member of it, one’s community is an extension of the families that live in it, and brain health practitioners should seek to support the unfolding of wellness throughout the community.
While there are four key components to the brain based-spiritual model of health, there are many smaller, but no less significant, aspects of this paradigm. They include, of course, a holistic perspective – that the body is greater than the sum of its parts.
The new paradigm is actually a return to an older, wisdom-based paradigm of vitalism – something that got left behind in the Cartesian model of the world – which holds that something invisible animates, organizes, and facilitates healing in the body. We refer to that, of course, as life energy aka bioenergy.
Furthermore, the brain based-spiritual model of health is concerned with something larger than “curing.” We are concerned with the patient healing from the inside out.
Imagine: What would the world be like if people were able to express their full potential? And what would families, communities, and the world be like if this were to happen? What would it be like for everyone to know, experience, and feel their personal connection to the energy that pervades the universe? To the energy that makes their life possible?
Hopefully, by now, it is becoming ingrained in your mind that the brain health is a consciousness of healing rather than curing. Healing is a process of alignment and unification with body, mind, and spirit. It has little to do with curing symptoms or ailments. It is a process rather than an event, and involves personal growth and development.
Healing is not about making symptoms go away, but to help you face yourself in the mirror and love what you see. Illness is a communication from a deeper place within us. It is telling us about something in our lives that needs to change in order for us to be all we can be. Until we understand that communication, there can be no healing.
Symptoms, in the brain health model, are viewed as signs of change, alerting us to changes that are necessary for us to make in our lives. Healing allows our individual identity to emerge. It creates love and respect for life, for what is the one thing that is common to all expressions of life but energy?
Our brain health system contains very few guidelines for how a person should live. We make suggestions regarding eating, moving, thinking, and relating in positive ways. What we have found, however, is that lives change from the inside, not by trying or forcing change to happen but when the internal wisdom of our cells can freely express itself without energetic restriction. I believe this is the missing link in healthcare today.
The brain health process is like peeling layers from an onion or removing the petals from an artichoke and arriving at the heart. As the interference to the flow of our life energy is dissolved, the connection with all living beings is restored.
What makes the brain health unique is the intention. It does not compete with the body, trying to fix something that is broken, but seeks to release the adverse tension in the suboccipital area, the portal to our energy system, through gentle and specific vibrational input. When our brains improve, our life energy is free to flow and our aspirations and dreams can be fulfilled.
By now I hope you’re becoming as excited about this therapy as the very large brain based-spiritual model of health that it is vitally a part of. This is what we have always deserved: a holistically balanced life, the dynamic interplay of body, mind, and spirit, a life worthy of falling in love with – and the ability to share this with others.
For over 40 years Dr. Terry A Rondberg, owner of Omega Brain Health and Nutrition, has utilized chiropractic, acupuncture and Ayurvedic medicine to heal people. He then earned a Diplomate in Energy Medicine, where he developed a cutting-edge system using the latest technologies in neuroscience, bioenergy and nutrition to help people of all ages achieve maximum health and fight chronic illnesses and pain. He is a best-selling author. For information, call (951) 699-5000.