Growing older isn’t necessarily as graceful as we’d like to think.
I see people in their 30’s and 40’s who are broken … broken down and broken hearted. They feel decades older than their years and modern medicine has no answers for them other than drugs or surgery. I believe most of these drugs and surgeries should be avoided at all costs so as to avoid future complications that call for even more drugs and more surgery. It’s like a hamster running in a circle but never getting anywhere.
Don’t misunderstand; I definitely believe there is a time and a place for everything. Shucks, if I’m in an accident and there’s a bone sticking out of my leg, I’ll be in an ambulance in the blink of an eye. Accidents happen; emergencies happen and for these, Western medicine is the best in the world.
Everyday life, on the other hand, is a whole different story.
A blog on why women hurt (or for that matter, men hurt) could be as long a read as any printed book on the market. So I’ll cut to the chase. Here goes…
The Modern Era
Ladies … this is our time … gone are the days of the hippies’ music fests or bra burnings. We live in a day where we really can bring home the bacon and many of us (though quite frankly, not all of us) know how to fry it up in a pan.
We can be breadwinners and even if our paycheck isn’t quite that of our spouses (or, for you single moms, isn’t quite that of your male co-workers), we still do everything else in addition to our regular work-life duties.
- soccer practice
- make the beds
- sweep the floors (and mop them, too)
- entertain guests
- take care of our partners
- take care of our children
- get up tomorrow and do it all again
Now, if this isn’t exactly your life extracted into a few bullet points, just know they are not intended to address every single individual situation out there. The point is that you live a full and busy life; some of the things you do are just that … the things you do. They are part of your lifestyle and sometimes, we become overwhelmed with it and we get run-down because of it.
I think it was in the Nixon-era, somewhere around 1974-ish that the for-profit medicine concept began. Prior to this, medicine was driven by the desire to heal and not the profit motive. Add to this the earlier shift from a health and nutrition lifestyle (which people took for granted since it was all we had ever known in all of man’s history), and we had a new paradigm.
This new paradigm continued into the ’80’s when we began eating and drinking whatever we wanted and even living longer while we did so. Today we still live in this paradigm; no one questions it.
It was in the ’80’s the exercise craze began. It was necessary as man-made machinery and convenience made our natural tendency to move seem pathetic as we grew in industry and technology. What we think of as good and healthy got its roots in the ’70’s and ’80’s.
This brings us to the ’90’s.
If you were born in the mid-’70’s, you were in your 20’s during the ’90’s. The precedent had already been set for you during the past three decades. The world was almost in a new millennium and the whole world was your oyster.
You did everything right …
You ate what they said, you exercised like they said, you educated yourself as expected. Yet you may be one of the many, many people who are already on medications and/or in constant pain and/or experiences depression and anxiety. Your life is still in front of you but it likely doesn’t feel that way.
How can this possibly be?
Unfortunately, while the intention may have been positive, the effect has been anything but. Our lives have been culturally changed from the ’60’s through today.
Today, that change is still taking place.
Today’s attitudes were formed starting about 50 years ago and the majority of people have settled into that mindset.
People Do Not Question the Paradigm
In today’s modern era, most women think nothing of getting an annual physical, making certain they get mammograms, and heading to their doctor with even a hint of allergies or having an “off” cycle.
It makes one wonder how our forefathers ever survived without modern medicine to get them all the way from birth to their death bed.
Yet here we are. We do these things without thinking twice and without asking hard questions. We should be healthy. We should not have pain. We should not be sad. We should not be depressed. We should not … fill in your blank.
Yet here we are.
The past that we are either too young to have knowingly taken part in or too eager for advancement to question when we should have cannot be changed. But we had clues along the way. Remember Jim Fixx?
Who is Jim Fixx?
More appropriately, who WAS Jim Fixx?
Jim Fixx was a successful author and runner who was focused on health and wellness. He was so successful until he even had contracts for commercials with Quaker Oats® and American Express®. He was a famous author who made jogging and running famous. His followers evolutionized the running craze. At age 52, during a run, he dropped dead from a massive heart attack.
Isn’t it something, that someone who was supposedly very healthy died without warning while he was doing the very thing that was supposed to have been the cause of his 50+ pound weight loss and his path to fame and fortune?
In reality, he was desperately malnourished and his heart couldn’t keep on beating without the nourishment it required.
Now isn’t that an interesting, and seemingly unknown, concept – that in the past 50 years (in our world today) and in a country where food is everywhere and cheap, that malnourishment is a real thing? But I dare believe the root of most all disease is malnourishment … even for people who have followed all the rules and even for people who have followed none of them.
Jim Fixx died in 1984. It was in the late ’70’s and early ’80’s that women started showing up in the work force in droves. This means that women currently in their mid-40’s were raised in a culture where working outside of the home was expected and normal. No one questioned this paradigm.
Most women went to work in offices and sat (and many people still sit) on their butts all day with bare minimum movement. Prior to this cultural shift, women worked their butts off all day (think prior to the 1960’s and what was required to keep a household running and children cared for). From working butts off to sitting on them on all day; what a great paradigm shift, right?
The Paradoxical Change
Within five decades, we as women experienced a shift in culture and lifestyle that had never before been imagined. By the 1990’s the change was in full force:
- strangers were raising our kids at daycare
- the schools had removed God
- inflation had increased prices of everything (ever wonder how our grandparent’s ever made it on just one income?)
- drive-through and restaurant meals were the norm
- our food supply had taken a huge, malnourished turn for the worse (but that’s another blog for another day)
Whew. And here we are. The truth is, we haven’t done anything wrong. We simply live in the time we live in and we can’t change that. We do the best we can for ourselves and for our family.
That doesn’t mean we feel good, right?
So Here We Are
We are well past the 1990’s. Along the way, we’ve had low-fat dieting, low-carb dieting, low-calorie dieting and any variation thereof. As a whole population, we eat more, weigh more, move less, and as times marches on, lack basic knowledge about real nutrition, healthy eating and true exercise.
For that matter, one of the really great pieces of advice spurred on by western medicine is that we should exercise. Other good pieces of advise include not smoking and to drink responsibly.
But we are worn out physically. When we talk about “emotions,” visions from the ’60’s of women taking valium to “just stay calm” may come to mind. Mentally, we are exhausted.
Sound close to home?
Yet still, our fundamental health has been depleted because we love to eat what (and where) we like, exercise as much (or as little) as we want, and work day-in and day-out because that’s what we’re supposed to do.
It’s like we’re a hamster running in circles. And like that hamster, the exercise we do wears on us. Take, for example, the Jim Fixx model of jogging and running. When we run, it produces a hormonal effect that makes us feel really great. Then over the days, weeks, months and years, we continue to run because we love how it makes us feel.
Only we don’t know how to replenish our organs, muscles, bones and soft tissues; we don’t know how to care for the most basic building blocks of our own body. Therefore, when we continue to run, we’ll still get that same hormonal effect only the body has less and less to work with. In the end, we deal with issues such as adrenal exhaustion (adrenals produce the hormones when you run).
When we keep running without addressing the rebuilding of basic fundamentals, we will eventually run out of gas and run on just fumes. Our body becomes starved for real, usable nutrition.
Providing the body with real, usable nutrition takes time. We can’t eat one meal of real food and expect to undo years of malnourishment.
Refueling the body and brain does take time just as using the fuel took time. Patience and consistency is the key to balancing the body so it returns to a state of health.
This means that no matter what the history is and no matter where we are today, we can still make the decision to take better care of ourselves. When we do this, that self care overflows into how we take care of our family and our loved ones. It is a personal and positive paradigm shift in our way of thinking and doing.
Want to experience a personal Wellness Consult so you can focus on relieving your pain and getting your life back?
Give me a call to schedule at (225) 784 – 2168.
1. Harpreet Gujral, DNP, FNP-BC – Program Director and Nurse Practitioner
2. Running, Heart Disease, and the Ironic Death of Jim Fixx
3. Understanding Your Fascia
Cathy is a Naturopathic Doctor and Licensed Massage Therapist (LA9278). She accepts clients by appointment only and is available for natural health and wellness presentations on a limited basis.
Please call (225) 784 – 2168 to schedule Cathy to speak at your church/organization or to schedule your pain relief massage session.