Faith is Powerful Medicine

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

A subject that I have been thinking about a lot lately is the subject of faith. Specifically the role of faith in healing.

I have, of late, had some experiences that have shown me how important faith is in healing from disease as well as emotional traumas (and the two often go together). It is always humbling to think about how much is involved in healing. It is not just going through medical school, knowing your points, learning the protocols and memorizing herbs, nor is it learning medications, biology, physiology or any of those huge subjects. It is so much more than that. I had no idea when I was in school where a career as an acupuncturist and healer would take me. I feel like school was just a taste, a taste and a viewing of the entire banquet of possibilities, so you could see how much you had to learn. Once you get out of school is when the real learning begins.

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Once you get out into the world and start treating patients you realize that what you have learned in school is only a tiny, infinitesimal fraction of what is involved in the healing process. And that it isn't at all about you. You are a helper, a facilitator of the healing, and that healing is innate in every living thing. You are just supporting it, helping it along. Your healing isn't about me, it is very much about you.

The body is of course, an important aspect. It is the vehicle. It is the physicalness of your being. We must take care of the body, like a temple we should worship every day. But, there is so much more to us than simply a body. We are a soul, a spirit, a mass of emotions, thoughts, and beautiful light. And they are all intwined together, inseparable and interconnected to make up the awesomeness of the one that is us. As all these parts, working together are important in health, they are also just as important in disease. The Newtonian model of physics that led to Western or allopathic medicine sees the body in a mechanistic way, as a machine, and that medicine has been developed with this thinking. The body is reduced to parts, doctors specialize not taking into account the whole, the fact that the pieces are working together and cannot be separated for health to be achieved. In my opinion, Western medicine has made many advancements which have saved the lives of many people, but it is its inability to consider the whole that is its weakness.

Do you notice how you feel when you are depressed or sad? How your body feels? How do you react when you get a phone call with bad news? That someone you love has been hurt, or someone you are close to dies? Could you say that your emotions do not have an effect on the body? That how you feel doesn't have an effect? It is the same with our thoughts because they are so powerful. People live for years with cancer, but it isn't until they go to a doctor and get a cancer diagnosis that they get sick and die.

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Have Faith, it Could Save Your Life

So where does faith come into all this?

It has been proven that when diagnosed with a terminal disease, the people who tend to heal faster and ultimately survive, are the ones who THINK they will. The ones who have faith that they can and will get better. Faith is powerful. This concept has been played out over and over again with patients who have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Faith, or the belief that you will heal and survive, seems to be as, or more important than any "medicine" you could take to save you.

Think about this. People can live for years with cancer, but it isn't until it is diagnosed by a doctor that they get sick and die. A statement from a Deepak Chopra book I read as part of my final year thesis when I was studying Chinese medicine. My thesis was about the role of the "mind" in healing. Chopra's argument was that it was having someone tell you the words - that you had a disease that immediately gave it the power to kill you, but when looking at the survival rates, the people who seemed to survive were invariably the ones who thought it was a possibility. That didn't see the diagnosis as a death sentence. Thoughts are powerful.

Faith is not easy. When you are struggling with a life threatening disease, something shifts in your mind. Suddenly you become very focussed and your perspective changes. I believe it is a part of the society that we live in that gives so much power to the words of doctors and not enough power to the healing capabilities of our bodies. I believe that if the body has what it needs it can heal itself. Every time.

Physiologically, it has been proven over and over that worry, doubt and stress put a huge burden on the immune system and weaken the body making it more difficult to heal from disease. Having faith and being positive have been proven to strengthen the immune system and these attitudes lead to better outcomes in instances of illness. It makes sense, doesn't it? Think about how your body feels when you get some really bad news. You can feel it in your body. Maybe you get nauseous, or get a headache or feel faint. Now think about how you feel when you get good news. When you pass an exam, or when you fall in love. Your body feels wonderful and alive, like every cell is vibrating at a higher frequency than it was the moment before.

So, in my experience faith is just as (and often even more) important to the healing process than medicine, or any other physical thing you could be doing to the body. This is why I love Chinese medicine so much. It isn't just about the body, the body is only a part. You are treating the mind, body and the spirit in tandem, because they are all part of you. And all equally important. So have faith, it will keep you healthy and it could very well save your life. :)

Faith is Powerful Medicine : Chinese Medicine Living

Faith is Powerful Medicine