The western medical system has many great benefits, but supporting patients to become self-empowered is not exactly one of them. If you’ve ever gone to the doctor and felt like more of a statistic than a real person you are not alone. It’s even worse when you find yourself an outlier on some statistical chart and the doctors start giving you messages about how far away from normal you are.
So, if you are ready to take back your power and liberate yourself from the limits of this structure then keep reading. To be clear, this is in no way meant to replace the benefits of western medicine or clinical care, it is absolutely intended to complement and provide additional support and value on your healing journey. Furthermore, no generic article or text should ever be replaced for individualized care and consultation.
For the context of this blog post, I’m just going to be talking about muscular-skeletal issues and the physical body, you could probably draw correlations to other aspects of medicine as well, but that is beyond my scope.
Let’s take a concrete example of someone who struggles with knee pain. They’ve gone to the doctor, they’ve done physical therapy, they’ve had X-rays and the conclusion of all of this is that there’s some basic wear and tear but there’s no major injuries, no need for surgery. They will most likely be told to stay active and use pain as a guide, meaning, basically just don’t do anything that hurts.
So what happens when this person is still experiencing knee pain walking up the stairs? Should they just start using the elevator? Maybe they try gentle yoga classes or work with a personal trainer, and that helps them stay active but the knee pain doesn’t really change, or possibly it even gets worse. I’ve worked with so many clients in a similar situation to this that I’ve lost count.
The most frustrating part of this whole situation is the lack of empowerment. It’s as if there are only two options for this person; either they slowly allow their activity level to decline or they ignore the pain and push through it, knowing that’s not a good solution either.
Well, I am here to say that there is another option. There is simply a much more intelligent way to liberate your body from pain and discomfort while at the same time gaining the skills and knowledge that will empower you to become your own best healer and therapist.
So my friend, here is the blueprint for how to break the mold and take back your power!
Step 1 is to start with a process that will give you unbiased self-awareness and a marker for change. Essentially you are going to become a scientist where all the evidence and data that you gather is specific and relevant to you!
Step 2 is to control the variables, keep it simple, and get specific. This is why I use the primal movement pattern of walking as a way to define what healthy movement should look like, it’s specific, measurable, and something that our ancestors across different cultures and era’s all did (basically it’s as far away from a fad as you can get!)
Step 3 is simply to repeat step number 1. If you are doing an exercise in hopes that it will reduce your knee pain, then what are you doing to see if it’s working or not? Ideally, it’s something more specific than just crossing your fingers and trying to stay consistent.
In my effort to keep this simple I want to stop here and suggest that you read those 3 steps one more time. Because it is really different than how most of us are working with our physical bodies. Most of us are just tying up the shoelaces and heading for a walk. Or going to the gym, taking a class, or even working with a trainer- but we tend to skip steps 1 and 3, or leave that part up to the doctor or the trainer.
When we leave out steps 1 and 3 I think we lose a really valuable opportunity. We lose the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we are capable of understanding how our body moves. We lose the opportunity to gain motivation, hope, and trust, in our ability to heal. And finally, we lose the opportunity to identify the one or two things that are most effective, which means we lose the chance for our healing process to actually be really efficient and not a waste of time.
If you’re still with me here, then let’s break this down a bit further. If you need to commute from point A to point B, then the very first step is to identify where point A is. That’s what Step 1 is all about. It’s an honest assessment of where your body is at on any given day. If this is a new concept for you, then I suggest you start off by doing just one thing. Like any good scientist, you will want to gather lots of data points for this, so it’s really a lot more about quantity and awareness more than effort or time.
So, you’re going to stand barefoot and give yourself a few moments to feel where the pressure is going in your feet. I call this Foot Pressures, or FP’s for short. Essentially, where is your bodyweight getting transferred into the ground via your feet? It is more on one foot than the other? More forward or more back? Start to track this over multiple days and weeks. Track how your foot pressures feel at the beginning of your day and at the end. The beginning of your workout and the end. Before you do that one exercise and after. Before and after you do the foam roller stretch your chiropractor gave you. You get the idea. Most importantly your just going to stand like you honestly stand, don’t try to change anything. It should only take a few short moments. Document your findings.
And essentially that’s all there is to it! I know I know, there’s still a lot of questions about how exactly to make this apply to you, but this basic blueprint of validating and empowering yourself to gain the skills and the no-how to prove for yourself the efficacy of what you are spending your time on… I hope this is liberating and inspiring for you, I hope you can see a way forward that will continue to unfold as you take the next step and the next. The process simply becomes more and more clear, more and more empowering as you gain confidence and experience firsthand the sensation of discovering real change, real improvement in your body.