Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Give the Body a Chance to Heal Itself

The sharp pain in my right ear made me wince. I was having difficulty eating. My throat was hurting. Should I or should I not? Call the doctor, that is. Since the weekend was coming up, I reluctantly made the call. I have a bias against burdening an over-burdened system.

The kind and compassionate doctor checked my throat and ear. "No infection in the ear," she said with relief, "but your jaw muscles are inflamed." One possible reason was that I had visited my dentist two day earlier, and opening the mouth wide and clenching for x-ray might have caused the inflammation.

She prescribed the tablets that would cure me of my pain and I left with gratitude. Normally, I go straight to my neighborhood pharmacy. But this time I had an idea. Why not give the body one more day to see if it heals itself. I could put up with the pain for 24 hours but not any longer.

It worked. The pain began to subside and within 72 hours there was no pain whatsoever.

I am not trying to draw any general, high-sounding conclusion from this. It is always better to err on the side of caution than to be cavalier about one's health. Certainly, and in most cases, one should consult the doctor and take the prescribed medication.

But too often we underestimate our body when it comes to common ailments. At the slightest hint of a sniffle or a headache, we panic and think that without a doctor's intervention, or without some medicine, we will fall apart physically.

The body has its own natural, check-up mechanisms, and as long as we eat healthy food, do not overeat and do some form of regular exercise, the occasional flare-up is actually no cause for concern. The best medicine in such situations is probably to wait for a day or two while taking commonsensical precautions.As ancient cultures know and have practiced for generations, the body has the capacity to heal itself far more than we give it credit for.

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