Be Your Own Health Advocate: Accessing the Inner Physician

Because our health care system is for profit, we have to be strong and informed advocates for our own health. Even though there are many doctors and healthcare practitioners who are trying to do genuine good, the underlying system is always looking out for its own interests – money. We have to watch over and protect our own health.

/ Photo by badkleinkirchheim/Stefan Heinisch /

Most importantly, we have to be engaged in the process of protecting and maintaining our own health. The most important person on your healthcare team is YOU.

We all have an Inner Physician, the soul’s representative, to advise us on all aspects of our health, from the physical to the spiritual. Your Inner Physician gives you a direction to go in that’s a balance of logic and intuition.

Here are some suggestions based on my experience with own my health. I hope they speak to you and open up possibilities for your health.

1. Research, research, research.
Look at both allopathic and natural health options. When I fell and broke my wrist in December last year, my surgeon gawked at me when I said I wanted to look up a medical term he used. He said I’d worry too much. I disagree. When we are informed and can see the bigger picture, we worry less. Be informed.

2. Don’t rush unless it’s an emergency.
If you’re feeling pushed, then ‘the system’ has got you. You can get trapped into a certain course before you’ve had time to decide for yourself what feels right. Buy yourself some time to get oriented. Make sure you have an excellent rapport with your doctor and that you feel comfortable with the proposed treatment plan before proceeding. To access the Inner Physician, you need to pause while you digest all the information you’ve been given.

3. Check your doctor’s belief system as well as his credentials.
Your doctor’s assumptions and perspectives can shape both your health decisions and your potential for full recovery.

Patients who hear such comments as, “You have a 25 percent chance of surviving this cancer” frequently interpret them to mean, “I have a 75 percent chance of dying.” If physicians’ beliefs shape reality, as the above studies strongly suggest, these “doctor beliefs” are capable independently of causing great harm.
~Larry Dossey, Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine

4. See your health as a spiritual vision quest, not a trip to the repair shop.
Travel inward to inventory where you are at with your life. Is your soul calling out for a change? A health crisis is a spiritual retreat in disguise. You’ll need rest, quiet, contemplation, and nurturing. Refill your cup because it went empty a while ago.

5. Recognize that your body is an interconnected, living network.
Your thigh bone is connected to your hip bone. Its foundation is a complex assortment of interconnections. A heart problem could be a digestive problem. Alcoholism could have its roots in nutritional deficiencies. The onset of dementia could stem from an undiagnosed head injury. Explore these connections and interrelationships to see where it leads you.

6. Do some time travel.
Go back to the “point of origin.” The date of an injury or health diagnosis is not its true beginning. There’s an emotional history to examine – a series of past events that culminated in this health crisis. When I examined my arm injury, I went back several years in time. I also revisited my childhood years. Don’t be afraid to explore the historic roots and emotional threads of your diagnosis. There’s real healing in doing so.

7. Do something off the beaten path: Consult with a shaman.
Here’s a moving documentary to watch: The Horse Boy. It’s a great example of exploring something off the beaten path. A family goes on a trek on horseback with their autistic son, Rowan, to consult with shamans in Mongolia, with the hope of healing their child. Does he fully recover from autism? Some of Rowan’s symptoms – his tantrums and his difficulties with incontinence – do subside. He has a profound connection with horses and eventually learns to ride a horse on his own. This is an even bigger story about the healing of a whole family. I highly recommend this film!

8. Have an ally and don’t handle this situation in isolation.
Make sure there’s a second pair of eyes and ears around to help you sort through medical information. A common root of ill health is a broken relationship somewhere down the line that didn’t heal. This is an opportunity to deliberately reach out to others and heal that broken heart. Yes, work at it, especially if you’re like a hermit and alone much of the time. This is an important part of the healing process.

9. Celebrate more, work less.
Our health acts up when we’ve stopped having fun. Work overload. Long days and exhaustion have set in. Heated relationships – our relationships are suffering. A simple remedy is to order up more fun. When we have fun, we connect with our creativity, which is accessing the Inner Physician. Solutions begin to show up for a more fulfilling life. Go for a balloon ride. Read Calvin and Hobbes comics. Laugh. Buy yourself some flowers. Dance and sing. Enjoy life.

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