Why We Need Empowered Patients and Empathetic Doctors

Calling all doctors, nurses, healers, and helpers:

We are living with a faulty healthcare system that tends to treat patients as if they are broken. This can breed discouragement, if not outright depression. A patient who is approached as if she is whole, resourceful, and capable is more likely to produce good outcomes… even in the face of significant challenges.

Many of our doctors, healthcare providers, and healers are not taught the power of positivity in treating patients, so it’s frequently up to us to find our way to practitioners who understand their role in healing is a potent one. Practitioners have both the power and responsibility to see clients as capable of healing (not to be confused with “curing” which means to eliminate a disease state completely). When we see and elicit the essence and wholeness of an individual, it’s an invitation to empowerment.

The science surrounding the power of the mind in medical outcomes is limited and far more common in “alternative” treatments than in the annals of western medicine.

But we do know a few things: stress, anxiety, and negative thinking can make us ill, a positive psychological state has a tremendous impact on physical health, as does the relationship between practitioner and patient.

According to the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, “Stress — the belief that we are at risk — triggers physiological pathways such as the ‘fight-or-flight’ response, mediated by the sympathetic nervous system. What researchers are now realizing is positive beliefs don’t just work by quelling stress. They have a positive effect, too. Feeling safe and secure, or believing things will turn out fine, seems to help the body maintain and repair itself.”

One way to get in touch with healing the mind is through Medical Qigong, an ancient branch of Chinese medicine which treats the person at three levels: the physical body, our essential life force, and the spirit (jing, qi, and shen, also known as the Three Treasures). It addresses the root causes of illness by including the mental and emotional aspects of healing — not just the physical manifestations or symptoms.

Qigong doctoral candidate Christy Koster was in her 30’s when western medicine failed her during a massive health crisis. It wasn’t until she turned towards eastern modalities that she was able to heal. “I was suffering from debilitating fatigue, migraine headaches, and recurring urinary tract infections,” Koster shares. “Western medicine could only offer me drugs, drugs, and more drugs. When the drugs did not work, the doctor dismissed me telling me it was all in my head.“

Her subsequent exploration of a combination of therapy, acupuncture, massage, and Qigong restored her health and peace of mind. Koster is deeply aware of the role trauma can play in healing (or lack thereof) and is writing her dissertation on the applications of Medical Qigong in women’s reproductive, sexual, and/or relationship trauma. Her approach embraces the concept that “residue of traumas, great and small, can be cleared in the physical body as well as the emotional, spiritual, and mental energy fields.”

Whether or not Medical Qigong is for you, if you are a patient/client on a quest for care, here are a few tips to take with you on your journey to health:

1 | Always obtain records from any blood work, testing, or medical care you receive. Create a personal file of your own.

2 | Be proactive and ask as many questions as you need. Educate yourself about your health.

3 | Healthcare providers and healers are neither gods nor gurus. Nobody lives inside your body but you, so learn to listen to and trust your own experience. If you don’t feel seen and heard, or your practitioner is not treating you in a way that feels compassionate, respectful, and present, keep moving. You have the right to excellent care, and there are many great practitioners to choose from.

Jen Hoy is a holistic nutritionist, shamanic practitioner, and integrative counselor. Deeply committed to helping others by weaving cutting edge nutrition with ancient healing traditions and transformational mentoring, she is the architect of a powerful paradigm for healing. For more visit her jenhoy.com.

Comment