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Empowerment over our health is the basics of any empowerment we want. Let's open this discussion and

August 10, 2021

This MAGICAL word has been ringing in our ears for the last 40 years since it was coined by Julian Rappaport. ”Empowerment is viewed as a process: the mechanism by which people, organizations, and communities gain mastery over their lives.” However this word has really started to make sense with the dawning of a novel paradigm leading to a different worldview than the ancient mainstream one. Instead of claiming for the affirmation of our power in relation to others, we are here talking about our POWER OVER OURSELVES FIRST. Empowerment of the Self where the Self becomes a Creator, creating our own destiny. With the advent of quantum physics at the beginning of the last century, we have learnt that all is energy, that matter is energy vibrating at a very low frequency and the more we raise the frequency at which we vibrate, the more we are able to create. Alongside the physics, there has been an evolution in the relationship we have with ourselves. We know now that we can create our lives by correcting our thoughts, shaping them and by revisiting our beliefs. We have also primarily learnt about the power of awareness - how the observer automatically becomes a participant in their observation - Observer ↔️ Subject (Glenn Research Centre - Nasa) - and how the very force of intention directs creation. In the 70’s, John Kabat-Zinn created the Mindfulness-Based stress Reduction program (MBSR) and started to apply western measurements for the effects of breathing, meditation and active meditation on the heartbeat and our health. In psychology, we have learnt to look into how our emotions affect our immune system and health, thus enabling new paths for our healing. Neuroscientists Newberg and Waldman have probed into how prayer to a loving God reduces anxiety whilst fundamentalism and extreme beliefs can permanently damage the brain. We now know that our body can inform us about ourselves through our dis-ease and listening to what it has to say about where and how we are out of balance can bring us to the remedy we need. There are enough cases nowadays of people who have cured themselves of so-called terminal diseases by alternative "woowoo" therapies. Consequently, we are turning away from a mechanistic view of healing to a holistic one. If the body is infected or shows any sign of un-wellness, instead of turning to the compartmented mechanistic response of a direct attack on the disease itself "Kill it with heavy artillery and tank fire !" style i.e. with all kinds of pills or other immediate solutions entailing prolonged and very often irreversible side effects - out of fear or out of unwillingness to go through a lengthier process of healing, we can rather adopt an inclusive and holistic approach to the situation, taking in our hands our agency for dealing with it and our responsibility for how we are coping with it. Listen, open up, connect the dots and be aware. We are no longer victims of the disease but can work in partnership with it. What is this disease telling us about ourselves ? We have the ability to choose what we do with our lives and our health. Our migraines may be set in the head but may very well sprout from the liver, from a bad posture, from eye problems, from sleep problems, from an excess of screen time or of any kind so that just a pill for the migraine simply won’t do. First and foremost, whatever we do to cure ourselves, we have a wonderful immune system which our ancestors have passed down on to us through innumerable adverse circumstances - an immune system which works at its best if we look after it with care so that we can also pass it on to our children. In periods of collective epidemic or pandemia, it is a good thing to reinforce our immune system : Vitamin D3 (to prevent cytokine storms during the Covid), zinc, echinacea, Artemis. In response to our diseases, we can turn to botanical remedies - with no side effects - and if it is true that some plants can have some side effects, they can also be avoided by careful dosage and learning how to use them. The WHO have a wide array of monographs on medicinal plants and acknowledge they can’t keep track of the infinite existing variety. It is said that to every disease on earth, there is a botanical species which will heal it. I have used home-made oregano essential oil for tooth infections, calendula essential oil for my daughter’s otitis, aniseeds for cough, curcuma paste for sprains, arnica for muscle pain, hypericum for pain relief, saffron (affron®) for my son’s attention deficit, my mother herself used olive leaves for hypertension. Therefore let us go beyond our fast track culture for our own good : whatever symptom our body starts calling our attention with, let's establish a dialogue with it in a series of easy steps below. As a complex individual entity connected with social surroundings, I myself have practised that in my life and my career, opening the door to this dialogue to many of my clients. When I was 19, a childhood eczema came back in force over my face and neck. After countless visits to doctors all with the same response that I would never heal but could live with it using topical cream with antihistamines and taking antihistamines, I resolved to take care of myself with plants, undergoing psychotherapy and seeing a homeopath doctor. So many years after I have been through a series of very stressful situations and never again had an eczema. My story is far from being as miraculous as the thousands of stories that I have been told of people healing in alternative ways. One of them is Stamatis Moraitis as narrated in the New York Times, a man who was diagnosed in New York with terminal lung cancer and 9 months to live, who went back to his native Icaria and who had survived 36 years by 2012 ! Another is that of Anita Moorjani, as she explains herself on Ted talks, who cured herself of a terminal lymph nodes cancer with only a few hours to live by going into coma and a near death experience …. But there are so many more, recovering from multiple sclerosis, cancers, cerebral palsy, Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes and reversing type 2 …. I am always told : “But these are specific cases !” And I say : Of course they are ! Because when a disease occurs to each one of us, it is a very personal dialogue between our wise and higher self and ourselves and the solution will also be very personal. The way we are out of balance as complex individuals is very specific and unique and our solution responds to a very personal need for change or growth in some specific area of our lives. At some point in my life, I started having migraines, which recalled my mother lying down with her headband tied around her forehead in the dark for several days, and even fainting from the very pain. By following the steps below, I managed to detect the cause and put a halt in a matter of weeks. The stories of recovery from much more serious conditions generally imply taking charge and a personal participation in and commitment to the healing process, whether it be a change in diet, in daily routines and habits or the use of an alternative therapy.

  • To start with, avoid the easy to do "open my flask of whatever pills" and resort to a mechanistic view of diseases but rather to a holistic one. If a part of my body is expressing a disease, my body makes a whole along with my mind, heart and spiritual being, set in a social context and the cause may well be elsewhere.

  • Let’s think about what I ate, drank or did which may be causing the ailment. How did I sleep ?

  • It may be something emotional that is going on. What happened previously in the last day or days ? Who did I meet ? Did I have any discussion, argument ? Did I have anything that may have upset me ? How am I dealing with it ?

  • Is this something recurrent? Can I see a pattern ?

  • If this situation occurs again, I scan myself and observe what is going on. We all have different reactions : does my heart sink ? Does my throat close ? Does my hair stand on edge ? Does my voice rise ? Do my lips tremble ? Do my hands sweat ? Can I sense a tension building in my jaws, in my shoulders or neck ? Do I tell the same story over and over again ? Am I allowing myself to feel some negative emotion or am I blocking it because I am not allowed to? Am I building a stress reaction ? How does my view of this situation compare to that of others' in that same case ?

  • Let me give myself some time to establish a dialogue with my disease. See it not as an enemy but as a friend or a caring teacher telling me something about myself, which can only bring me growth and good.

  • I will of course seek the advice of a doctor if I am not able to deal with it, will contrast the opinions of several but a disease is nothing but a dialogue between me and myself. The diagnosis will surely be right but the way to healing is of such ingenuousness and creativity as mother life herself.

  • Sometimes by intuition, I may even find the remedy myself. Let me learn to give credit to my own intuition.

  • A doctor, a psychologist, a priest, a guru or model is there to shed light and show the way but my life is mine - I am the only one who can decide. It is my obligation but also my responsibility as the owner of my life. (I am grateful to having been born in an Islamic culture where no intermediate can stand between Allah and the self.)

  • Then, of course, there are the other signs : hair loss, nail lines, skin rashes, skin tone, coated tongue, urine colour ..... a few of the signs of deficiencies and disturbances that we can observe.

Now what of placebo ? Let’s go beyond the disdain and listen to the experts : the placebo effect is to date not understood though Professor Ted Kaptchuk of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, whose research focuses on the placebo effect says :”The placebo effect is more than positive thinking — believing a treatment or procedure will work. It's about creating a stronger connection between the brain and body and how they work together.” Placebo is some form of non tangible treatment, some non-active substance or "non-real", which has not been or can't be measured in a way yet, However, we know that placeboes produce endorphins, that old people do not survive loneliness and the Anat Baniel Method has shown how CONNECTING with children born with cerebral palsy, with global brain damage or with other disabilities such as ADHD or ADD instead of trying to FIX them can lead to paths of more normal development. Could we therefore say that love, care and connection are placeboes and acknowledge the rightful place and use of these so-called placeboes for our health at a much lesser cost ? As a holistic mindset and a sense of agency towards disease are fostered, companies will also benefit as work accidents, short term absenteeism and sick leaves dramatically decrease with the prevention of illness and the promotion of health. The gains are not just financial in nature but are also indirect, through the gain of quality, of quality of service, of production and of customers. For McKinsey * the organizational health index is a fast track to performance improvement and goes beyond mere culture or employee engagement :"It’s the organization’s ability to align around a common vision, execute against that vision effectively, and renew itself through innovation and creative thinking." However, organisations are only a transient part of a person's life and just as an employee carries with them the experience and values they have acquired and built in an organisation, the more organisations will promote a healthy mindset towards each individual's active empowerment over their health, the more will society at large benefit from it. Helping their employees look after their health and take it seriously as an asset belonging to them - apart from medical coverage - should become one of the 21st century companies' priorities in defining their values. It seems that what we are observing nowadays is the great divide between two antagonistic views and cultures regarding healing - the compartmented mechanistic approach and the inclusive holistic approach - which has less to do with standard, measurable and controllable data as we have them now - and which many may deem fuzzy or “spiritual” (with a look of scorn), which rests on a more complete view of the human being inhabited by inner forces - survival instinct, the instinct for growth and self-realisation, intuition, neuroplasticity, connecting experiences and giving meaning - or related to the external world - the family field, social instinct and belonging - which he cannot control with his limited rationality and his intellect, the monkey mind and which are healing forces. We are called upon to make a decision on our health at this time of crisis (which etymologically means decision making) : Are we at last to become the agent of our own making ? Shall we view our healing just as the action of matter over matter or give credit to the intangible Spirit and Intelligence living in matter ? I never understood this thing about Jesus coming to save the world but now 2000 years after, his teachings showing us reiki and so much more start making complete sense : with great foresight, could he have come to save the world from a materialistic and mechanistic view of the human being ? This great battle is taking place now. We are at the threshold of another kind of medicine, much more connected to our infinite creative power. Let’s take care of it NOW for our children's sake or we might lose it forever. What do you think ? I believe this is a very important subject that has to be discussed and I'd like to hear your views. *

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