Illness or Normal Body Function
From Pathways Issue 10 - Summer 2006
Letter from the Editor
Jeanne Ohm, DC
I just spent the last several days in bed with a flu and raging fever. The first day I sulked. Who needs this? The second day I fasted on fruit and water. Temperatures were elevating and there were moments of delirium. I anxiously awaited the pinnacle of letting a fever run its course – the break into a full body sweat. I am a firm believer in allowing symptoms to run their course and avoiding suppression with drugs, because that suppression only drives the illness deeper. The flu is a viral overload. The body raises the temperature to the specific degree it needs to be at to address that overload. A healthy system is able to handle these temperature elevations and they are a sign of normal body function. The more toxicity in the body, however, the more difficult the whole process becomes.
By the third day, I was still in the dry heat/chills stage. I was becoming a bit concerned. Where was the sweat? Where was the breaking point? I couldn’t last too much longer with these elevating temperatures. What is the boiling point of human body fluids?
I began to consume ginger root tea by the jarful. Somehow the burning sensation of the ginger was mild compared to the heat of my body. It was soothing to the chills. The flavor, the warmth, the liquid- it was the first drink that my body kept going back for more. And so I did. Several, spicy jars later, I intimately experienced visceral effects of ginger. It aided in heat production! My skin temperature reached a level comparable to a hot griddle. And then finally, the glorious sweat came– oceans of it poured out of me. Now I craved water. I was envious of fish. Truly they lived the glorious life. Then I knew to restore my electrolyte balance and I selected miso soup.
Here is my purpose in sharing this. All in all I had four days of what could be considered “an awful illness”. In reality, I was given an opportunity to do a complete cleansing fast, experience what was very comparable to a sweat lodge, to be alone, reflect on old patterns that needed to change – wow—very similar to some of the healing retreats out there all in the comforts of my own home!
The reason why I was hit so hard by this was because my body was in need of a housecleaning. Do you remember Dr. Phil Incao’s article, “Not a Battle but a Housecleaning” (Pathway’s Issue 6)? In his article he discusses the importance of these “house cleanings” and when we neglect to initiate them on our own, our bodies will do us the service. I had innately known this, and was planning a time of pulling myself “away from it all” and do a major meditative, restorative detox. As life would have it, I kept saying “next week”, “soon”, “after this project”. The wonderful wisdom of my body had a clearer insight into my needs and seized this time as perfect. How fulfilling to allow my body to complete this process without suppressing and hindering it.
This is most important point I want to leave you with: the huge value of allowing an “illness” to run its course without suppressing its symptoms. Reread Dr. Incao’s article. His perspective may be life saving in your ability to turn “illness” into “a healing retreat”. Also, in this issue of Pathways, pay close attention to Dr. Moskowitz’s article. He explains vaccines do not enhance immunity, but through suppression actually hinder normal immune system function. When “choosing to vaccinate or not” our concerns about the thimerosal, the age of the child, the amount of dosages per shot, or selectively choosing shots are minor compared to the effects of irreversibly altering this wonderful mechanism we call the immune system.