Eastern medicine has a concept of balance
that I believe is vital to understanding the keys to health.
Simply stated, balance involves the proper functioning of the
body's metabolism. What is ingested should be metabolized and
utilized in such a manner that the anabolic and catabolic processes
are balanced. When the anabolic or growth energies are stronger
than the catabolic forces, there is surfeit leading to metabolic
residuals that congest and often impair the functioning of
various systems of the body.
In traditional medical systems—such
as the systems of medicine from China and India—no distinction
is made between benign and malignant swellings or tumors. These
conditions are viewed as signs of excess anabolism.
Regarded from a caloric standpoint, we easily
understand that when the intake of food exceeds the body's
utilization of food, there will be growth and possibly pressure
on the body to eliminate or store the excess. This example
is not strictly accurate because over and above the amount
of food eaten and the number of calories ingested, there are
additional considerations such as the digestibility of
Many of today's foods are nearly impossible
to digest. Therefore, virtually any simplification of
diet and return to basics—such as eating fresh, organically
grown food—eases the stress of metabolizing meals. Whenever
there is slow metabolism, as is typically the case with cancer
patients, there is also a tendency for diseases to develop
gradually and often inconspicuously over a period of many years.
Such people are less likely to suffer the symptoms of acute
diseases and therefore are more prone to developing chronic
Modern medicine has been devoted to overcoming
epidemic and infectious diseases; and it is exhibiting weaknesses
in the prevention and treatment of chronic,
degenerative, and other major disabling diseases. It is possible
that many diseases that in former times were characterized
by virulent fevers and inflammation are now suppressed. However,
a morbid condition may lurk under the surface of a reasonably
healthy exterior and manifest as a degenerative disease later
Excess immunization and inoculation; antibiotic
abuse; preserving of food with salt, sugar, and chemicals;
microwaving of food; and depleted nutrients in food due to
the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are probably
only a few of the factors contributing to the devitalization
and debilitation experienced by much of the world population
Healing versus Medicine
Restoration of correct bodily functioning
through dietary and life style changes, reevaluation of
goals and priorities in life, and deeper self understanding
are all part of the broader healing process. If patients
look for quick fixes in operations and medicines, they
may ignore the underlying causes of illness and fail to
correct the imbalances that make them vulnerable to disease.
Obviously, these are opinions, but in the
thirty-five years that I have been working with cancer patients,
I have never seen anyone recover totally when reliance was
placed on instant remedies.
In fact, I see cancer as an opportunity,
an excuse to live one's truth. If the red flag had not appeared,
people might persist in patterns that are destructive. With
a life-threatening illness, patients can give themselves
permission to conduct their lives differently. One man wrote
me that his biggest regret was that he hadn't developed cancer
earlier in his life so as to have had a wider future in which
to employ the insights and changes and values that occurred
when he truly began exploring the reasons he developed cancer.
Though this sounds shocking, especially to younger patients,
I totally understood his meaning. His life is more precious
now than before, and the choices he makes are based on deeper
appreciation of what is actually important in life.
Balance is psychological
as well as physical. It means not only that work and play
are both given expression but that dysfunctional patterns
are corrected so survival is not jeopardized.