With so many treatments available to us today, how do we evaluate which is best? I take the approach “first do no harm.” Then I make sure permanent, irreversible changes are last, like cutting something out, a permanent tattoo for example.
Next I ask myself, what can I personally do to make it better? Then I look for cost-effective treatment with a good success rate and minimal side effects requiring a reasonable amount of effort.
“Effectiveness of treatment” has come up in several conversations recently. Questions like, what makes some practitioners more effective than others? Is it the technique used? Is it the skill with which the technique is applied? How much does the belief system contribute? What role does the defense system play? Probably first and foremost for any treatment to be effective, a person has to be willing to receive the treatment and have confidence it will be effective. If the person doesn’t want the treatment or if he has serious doubts he will benefit from it, it won’t work. The person’s defense system will be on high alert and won’t allow anything in. This applies to learning new ideas as well as receiving advice or help. So you must first establish an agreement to receive treatment and acknowledge it is okay to get it from that person. In this way the door is open, defenses are down and an exchange can transpire. The practitioner must also have confidence he can help the patient. If presented with two practitioners of equal training, the one with more confidence in his ability to help will be more effective. From an Eastern (and some Western) perspectives, 70% of all disease is attributable to problems in the message system. Some call this mind-body illness or psychosomatic illness. Stress-related diseases such as heart disease and cancer fit this category.
In the book “The Secret Life of Your Cells,” which talks about the experiments of a CIA polygraph (lie detector) tester, cells taken from a person’s body and placed miles away from him will still react the same when that person is stressed. This led the experimenter to conclude your mental attitude affects each and every cell of your body. Thus, thinking healthy thoughts can lead to healthy cells, which leads to a healthy body. Perhaps the message system is most important. The treatment or pill may only be the vehicle bringing the message to the body, but it is the message itself that does the magic of healing.
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Sheila Yonemoto, P.T., has been a physical therapist for over 30 years, specializing in Integrative Manual Therapy utilizing a holistic approach. She can be reached at Yonemoto Physical Therapy, 55 S. Raymond Ave, Suite 100, Alhambra, CA 91801. www.yonemoto.com