Can We Talk About Symptoms?

By Dr. Ogi Ressel, DC

Most of us were raised following what has been called “the medical model” – if I feel good I’m healthy and if I feel bad I’m sick. A simplification, but you get the idea.

If there is anything that modern science has shown us it’s that such a statement is completely false.

So what is the key to health? If we could put health into a formula, it might look something like this:

Health = wholeness + function + time

Let’s go deeper. Wholeness….how many of you reading this have all of the parts that you started with? Missing tonsils, an appendix, a gallbladder, or a uterus? We cannot control what parts we have (or have left). Wholeness is not the key. Time…we certainly can’t control time, especially the time that has passed before you understood the importance of having your spine checked on a regular basis throughout your life. Time is not the key. That leaves function. If you can allow what parts you have (or have left) to function as best they can for as long as they can (time), then you stand the best chance of being as healthy as you possibly can.

How you “feel” has nothing to do with how you “function”. Function, you see, is the truest, most accurate barometer of one’s health.

Does that mean if you have your spine checked on a regular basis through your life you’re never going to get a fever or cold or runny nose? Absolutely not. Sometimes your body has other ideas. When a child gets the flu, he or she may experience a runny nose, coughing, fever, swollen and glassy eyes, loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, etc. These symptoms are the result of your body doing exactly what it should be doing…striving to get you functioning at your best. The nose runs to excrete the virus. The child may have diarrhea to excrete the bug further. Fever is the result of extra work produced by the body to “burn out” the invading organism (most can only survive in a limited temperature or pH range). The tear glands produce continuous tears to cool down the cornea so it’s heat-sensitive protein make-up is not damaged, which is why the child looks glassy-eyed. There is little to no appetite because the body shunts its energy from the digestive process toward its defense.

All of these activities are designed for only one purpose – to get your body back to functioning as best it can for as long as it can. The best, healthiest responses a properly functioning body can have toward the flu are all the symptoms we described.

So the next time a symptom hits you, smile. You might be getting healthy!