I grew up believing that doctors and pharmaceuticals carry responsibility for my health. That once I feel symptoms of illness emerging in my body, it is time to visit an expert and by swallowing the prescribed medication, illness dissolves and I am back to feeling good about myself. Otherwise, health did not take up much space. Yes, only when my body’s call got so loud that I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I would stop to pay attention.
This approach was also quite easy considering the high-quality health care system available in my home country Germany. General insurance makes doctor’s visits affordable and medicine accessible for the vast majority of citizen. Things have slightly shifted, though. I gradually grew more and more frustrated about treatment at my local doctor’s - waiting lists for appointments increased and the attention that was being payed to my concerns decreased. To support all this, issues came up that all of a sudden did not have a quick fix – at least not a quick fix that satisfied me.
I was facing hormonal imbalances. A visit to my gynecologist didn’t bring much clarity: She confirmed my assumptions about something being off but a blood test didn’t show anything of importance. I was left with a big question mark hanging over my head and the suggestion to take some synthetic hormones - just in case - or simply wait for my first pregnancy, as this would usually solve the problem. Both solutions just didn’t feel right - the reason why I began to take up responsibility and look into the topic myself.
I am glad that, by then, Ayurveda was already getting more and more important in my life. I knew what I needed to do: Pay attention. Bring awareness to my daily habits. I started tracking my cycle, writing down symptoms as they occurred, which enabled me to point out patterns. I did tons of research concerning hormonal health, menstruation cycles and did not only find information around certain dietary changes that would support a healthy flow but also holistic practices to walk along with it. My frustration turned into knowledge. I took back my power.
With this little story I want to assure you that there are solutions to your problems that are far from being dependent on medication – if you catch disease before it turns into chronic illness of course. Ayurveda takes the view that illness doesn’t just automatically appear from one day to the next. In fact, it slowly builds up, step by step, initiated by biological imbalances. Therefore, by taking responsibility for your health, you can enhance your wellbeing, your health, before illness even manifests inside your body, mind or soul only by being honest with yourself and paying attention to early signs. Your mindfulness serves as your personal health care system so to say.
If disease has already manifested, this is no reason to give up hope. Right now, I need to assure you that I still believe in Western medicine. That research and the impact of doctors have done true wonders in this world and help us humans daily to battle illness. BUT – and here it comes – I believe that, so many times, we have the ability to maintain or find back to health on our own: by taking action, by paying attention to our needs, by living in tune with our innate nature or, in short, by applying age old wisdom – may it be Ayurvedic or simply returning to whole food diets & natural remedies in general.
I want to inspire you to acknowledge the meaning of your body’s signals. I understand that fatigue, period cramps, heart burn or constipation feel uncomfortable and it sure is easier to rely on a pill to make it all go away – so that you are able to carry on with business as usual. There is one more option I want you to take a closer look at. Ask yourself: “Why am I experiencing these symptoms? Am I currently doing something that harms my body? Is my lifestyle supporting me in feeling good or am I actually pushing myself past my limits? Is there something that I could change to support myself and my wellbeing?” And this right here is Ayurveda, my dear friends.
By all means, I don’t want to say that people can prevent all illness or are completely responsible for the health challenges they are facing. There are so many factors that need to be considered, like the environment we live in, the DNA we were blessed with and even our economic opportunities. Living a lifestyle where health is the priority doesn’t come easy for everyone and it sure is important to understand it as a life-long journey instead of an immediate decision put into action. To be sustainable, change needs to happen slowly, gradually, introduced bit by bit in easily digestible quantities. Nobody says that it will be simple. It’s well worth a shot, though, isn’t it?
I am excited to hear your opinion in the comments.
Sending love & light,