Sometime between the founding of the American Medical Association in 1847 and today, our entire standard of care in this country has changed. I imagine that before there were specialties for every organ, cell, and part of your body, that doctors had to know about the whole person. In addition to having knowledge of the entire body, they were able to see the whole person in front of them, instead of the spleen, digestive system, or sinuses, depending on their specialty, sitting on the table. Yes, times were different… were there even medical schools then?

Anyways, our whole culture has adopted this symptom-based standard of care. Instead of searching for the origin of a problem, we slap a band aid on it. Oh, you get splitting headaches once a month? Try this great new medicine that was just released to the market. It will help you get through the day and back to work. No questions are asked about diet, lifestyle, sleeping habits, or a thorough check of the entire person. Not in my experience, at least. 

I still remember my eversion ankle sprain from college. First of all, an eversion ankle sprain is a very special task to achieve. I didn’t put two and two together at the time of the injury, but later realized that rain, fake Uggs, and biking do not mix. Because I couldn’t remember the cause of the injury, and thought it was just an irritation that would resolve itself, I continued to walk on it until one morning, I couldn’t bear any weight. Here’s my conversation with the doctor in the Urgent Care:

Doctor: “So you say it hurts?”

Me: Yes, as I’ve already said, right here and I can’t stand.

Doctor: But nothing is broken…hrmm…

I understand that specializing in something allows the individual to be more efficient and accurate, but really??

I believe we are at the dawn of a self-care revolution. Pretty soon you will have the know how and confidence to tackle your general aches and pains. People will be more in touch with how their bodies’ work and how different activities, foods, and actions affect them. Less tablets, more observation. We have given up so much of our own bodies to our specialists, reserving parts of our anatomy for specific doctors, that it is time to empower ourselves with self-care. As Jill Miller has said, “Self Care is the new Health Care,” and there is no time like the present to get started!

Instead of promising to exercise more, or eat less pie (I say never eat less pie!) we should make a pact to take better care of ourselves. Surround yourself with those who are not only knowledgeable, but also teachers who will share the information with you. Know not only how to take care of yourself, but also when you need to reach out to someone who knows more. The medical world isn’t bad…they’re just not being challenged to work their hardest. Imagine your next visit to your doctor – because of your new self-honing skills, you are able to rule out all the things your doctor normally would have spent time prescribing things for. You both save time and you maintain ownership of you. Sounds like a win-win to me!

First opportunity to empower yourself with self-care knowledge? My Ball Bliss: Myofascial Self-Care workshop is Saturday, January 25th, at Yoga at the Village in Glendale. Spend 2-hours giving yourself a head to toe self-massage while learning what muscles you’re rolling and how to put yourself into better positions to alleviate total body tension.

Eradicate Pain. Improve posture. Enhance your performance.