Constitutional Balance

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 the food.

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 conditions.

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 in life.

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 today.

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.

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The Body-Mind Connection





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