MAKE HEALING A JOURNEY, NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU READ ABOUT.
For some of us, our attempts to overcome chronic health challenges can lead us to learn some fascinating things. We may enjoy listening to podcasts, reading books, doing courses. Some folks choose to even go into the healthcare profession to share what they’ve learned and to continue gathering knowledge.
Lifelong learning and curiosity are wonderful and positive attributes. They have even been shown to promote health!
However, our Information Bias, the idea that we need to keep gathering more information even if we have enough to act, can easily sneak in.
This plays out in the questions we ask. If we want to take action on a plan, then we ask about things we need to do. We may still need to gather more information, but this is in aid of our plan, our progress, our process. Not considered progress on its own.
It’s the difference between asking about how to train for a marathon vs asking for book recommendations about running. You can study running without ever running. But you can’t train for a marathon without running.
Of course, reading a book or taking a course can make us feel like we’re making progress. We get the feeling of achievement - having gone through 3 days of learning a module with a certificate of achievement at the end.
But is our health any better? Are we any closer to our real goal?
Do you have things you could be doing based on your existing knowledge that you’re putting off?
The other problem that feeds into this tendency to keep taking courses is the way that Functional Medicine is organized. Functional Medicine is in many ways a superior lens for helping people than Industrial Medicine. But it has major blind spots that feed into the need to keep learning more, new information, rather than refining and improving on what is already known. Acting, Listening for System Feedback, then Iterating.
The body systems of Functional Medicine don’t map up in a clear organizational structure, with clear relationships. Because the systems aren’t real systems. They don’t exist in reality.
This means that if you study the Detox System, you’ll treat everyone like they’ve just stepped out of 1980’s Chernobyl.
If you take the Immune Module, you’ll treat everyone as if they have a chronic infection.
If you take the Digestive Track, everyone’s problem will be leaky gut.
But everyone with complex chronic health challenges usually has issues with at least a few of these systems. So when the Detox Protocol doesn’t work, you decide that there’s something wrong with you, that you couldn’t follow the plan or you go onto the next system.
The suggestion is to study all the modules - tens of thousands of dollars and days of sitting in front of a screen. You then look at where you have the most symptoms - Digestion? Detox? Inflammation? And start with that plan.
Of course this is learning how to treat other people, you still haven’t started on your own plan.
But what if you have a history of chronic infection and then developed a mercury toxicity? What if you have leaky gut and mitochondrial issues? Which lens or diet or plan should you start with?
We need to think about this in a more helpful way. We need to anticipate up front that you’ll need to go through a process that addresses all of these systems.