Christoph Hufeland, the doctor who first used the word macrobiotics (makrobiotiks) in 1750s to describe the art of living longer, claimed that the difference between the medical doctor and the macrobiotic practitioner, was that the doctor saw illness as something evil to be cured or prevented, whereas the macrobiotic practitioner saw illness as the means to prolonging life.
For me this goes to the heart of our macrobiotic approach to healing and helps us focus on treating the causes rather than the symptoms. It also opens up the idea that perhaps our beautiful bodies are often doing exactly what is needed to heal and that all we need to do is help and support that process.
A simple example would be that it is thought that our blood temperature elevates to help our immune system become more active. If we bring down our blood temperature unnecessarily we may weaken our immune system.
Similarly most of the cholesterol in our blood is self-made. Our diet typically only creates up to one third of our cholesterol. So why do we make cholesterol? One of the roles of cholesterol is the protect cells that come into contact with our blood whilst they repair. It is like an internal bandage. If our cholesterol is high, would the question then be more about how to support our body in healing internal cells rather than assume something is wrong and artificially bringing down cholesterol? Perhaps this approach would lead us to explore consuming more vitamin C to help repair cells and look at how we can reduce on-going damage to cells through stress, poor diet and free radicals. For more on Cholesteral click here.
It interests me that gout comes about through elevated levels of uric acid. Uric acid is primarily self-made and an antioxidant that can help repair the DNA in cells. So is a gout attack a reflection that the body wants to focus on repairing cellular DNA? If so how can we best support this process? For example do we need to be more careful not to damage our DNA with our exposure to UV from the sun?
Perhaps it comes down to how much we can trust our body to heal itself and to what extent we feel the need for external interference. It may be easier to find ways to mask and blank out the unpleasant symptoms, however, if we are to explore our health, perhaps the bigger learning and self-evolution comes from trying to understand the amazing capacity we have for staying alive, despite the way we sometimes treat ourselves.
Part of caring for ourselves is to develop the sensitivity and awareness to feel what our body needs to look after itself. Are we prepared to really feel each meal and note the effect it has on us? Will we make the effort to find ways to reduce stress and apply them? Can we make time for activities that support us in being healthy? If this is possible, we can follow an amazing path leading to all kinds of interesting insights and discoveries.
Simon is available for online and in person macrobiotic consultations and courses to help you enjoy foods, meditation and thinking that will help you experience the best health.