The Twelve Keys of Health and Healing: Keys 1-3

First, we have to distinguish between the “take something” or “do something” prescriptive drug-like approach typical of western thinking about healing and a truly comprehensive approach. Specialized pain clinics have only a 58% success rate (which includes drug therapy), because they are still just trying things in hopes of hitting “the one” that works for a given person. And that’s understandable, since you don’t want your medical doctor doing things that aren’t medically indicated.

And second, we don’t want to get into “blame the victim” thinking either, as if anyone should be able to rise above anything or they’re “doing it wrong.” Real life is complex, people take on a range of challenges, and they aren’t right or wrong to do that. And we all go through phases, for a time, for a long time, for a lifetime in some cases. Let’s not set unrealistic and unfair objectives and expect everyone to meet them.

But we CAN recognize that health is more than treating illness. And we can change our mindset from accepting that getting ill is normal and unavoidable to recognizing that continual health is not only possible but also well-established. Google “people who never get sick” and you’ll find (1) a lot of them exist and (2) a lot of very different theories about how they do it. A lot of these fall into the “Yeah, I know” category – except that if we really knew, we’d all be enjoying the same effects. What the Nine Cornerstones do is move from speculation to reliable, demonstrable results.

I’m not talking strictly Taoist mysticism here (though that too), incidentally, but sources more culturally close to home as well. Western businessmen, from Charles Haanel to Napoleon Hill, for example, and continuing with modern voices like Bob Proctor, practiced a Christian/Greek/Hindu hybrid “vibration” based approach to life that included prosperity and good health. In fact, Proctor was turned to this approach as a struggling young man when a mentor asked, “Bob, have you ever seen me sick?” and realized he had not. We don’t have to become mountain mystics to live healthy lives.

The first two keys we’ve already mentioned (in early blog posts). The next three won’t surprise you—though you’ll likely find a few surprises within them. Then we’ll get into three deeper areas, and finish with some that make the others manageable and work together effectively. We’ll conclude with how to use these to help conquer your pain. Let’s dig in.

Healing Key One: Medical Evaluation and Treatment

While pain and its cause can be elusive, these can also be related to acute conditions, wholly or in part, and can (and should) be treated medically. That’s the place to start. It’s the easiest and most direct route. It also gives you a good starting point for what exactly is going on. Treat the infection, set the bone, clear the arterial clot, stop the bleeding, get an X-ray . . . these are good places to start. If you’re having a heart attack, go to the ER first, not your energy healer. I know some folks are anti-doctor. Find one you like.

Healing Key Two: Understanding the Healing Equation and a Comprehensive Approach (Clarity, Connection, Coherence, Change)

We can’t solve a problem you’re not clear on—we wouldn’t know where to start or when we were done. You can’t solve a problem you’ve been unable to solve without connecting with someone or something beyond the resources you’ve already employed. If your efforts are scattered in different directions instead of focused and coherent, you are going to be working against yourself, accomplishing little. And if you want different results than you’re already gotten, you’ll have to change your approach.

Nor can these Four Pillars be left to chance—a comprehensive system is needed to ensure all the needed elements are in place. Know why approaches like Ayurveda accumulate success stories? Because they cover so many aspects! Improve all those things, and your chances of doing better are good. (Just be sure it’s a demonstrable, proven system…or it’s arbitrary, not a “system”).

Healing Key Three: Diet, Disease, Weight and Pain

Dr. Joe Tatta, in his 2017 book “Heal Your Pain Now,” tells of a lower back pain sufferer who did physical therapy, but lived on coffee, carbohydrate-rich foods, and lived a sedentary lifestyle. By changing diet, exercise, and thoughts, he notes, you can see a real difference in your health and in your pain in a short time. Let’s look at why—and how. He explains it well (much of the information below).

Inflammation is the root cause of most disease (and certainly pain). If you eat an extremely healthy diet, exercise at least five hours a week, meditate daily (even ten minutes), you probably have no chronic inflammation. If you eat too much sugar, processed foods, and not enough fruit, vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, and exercise too little, you “undoubtedly have a moderate amount of inflammation in your body.” Further, if you regularly take medication, that medication can dilute important nutrients as well.

70% of your immune system is in your gut. More than 2/3! Your gut protects you from invaders like bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles. But when it breaks down, the one-cell thick lining becomes inflamed and develops holes that allow these through. Further, when the intestinal lining is inflamed, it can no longer absorb nutrients effectively. Toxic food particles, environmental chemicals, and bacteria then enter your body instead through the digestive tract. Heal this, and you can optimize your immune system, decrease inflammation, lose weight, and lessen your pain.

The largest organ of the body is skeletal muscle—joints, tendons, and so forth—which becomes home to inflammation from antibodies fighting what the gut failed to stop. It’s a critical factor in the 50 million Americans who suffer autoimmune diseases, causing chronic systemic inflammation. And 1 in 12 Americans (1 in 9 women) will develop an autoimmune disease. There are more than 80 of these, difficult to diagnose, and over 15% of Americans have more than one at the same time. And the inflammation will hurt.

2/3 of Americans are overweight; 1/3 are obese. This causes increased inflammation and makes losing that weight harder. Belly fat continually releases inflammatory chemicals, causing chronic activation of the immune system, which affects hormonal, endocrine, nervous, and musculoskeletal systems, as well as keeping pressure on an already stressed and painful body. Visceral fat in the abdominal cavity twists around internal organs, cushioning them, but too much causes systemic inflammation.

Excess weight also causes mechanical challenges for pain. Just walking puts a force on your knees, for example, of 1.5 times your body weight—300 lbs. for a 200 lb. person. Squatting to pick up something puts a force 4 to 5 times your body weight on your knees – so every 10 extra pounds puts 40-50 extra pounds of force on your knees. The Arthritis Foundation found even a 15% reduction in weight decreased pain up to 50%.

The easiest way to do this, research shows, is to reduce portion size. Just a 20% reduction provides many of the anti-inflammatory qualities, sheds weight, and reduces pain. But eating a healthy diet will increase these benefits, particularly as many specific painful diseases can be helped by overcoming vitamin or mineral deficiencies. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found “Nearly the entire U.S. population consumes a diet not on par with dietary recommendations,” which directly effects musculoskeletal pain.

40-80% of adult Americans are vitamin D deficient, which creates a proinflammatory state and musculoskeletal pain by inhibiting calcium absorption into the bones. Sunlight is the most common source of Vitamin D. Studies found that chronic low back pain can be alleviated with a vitamin D3 (the most easily absorbed form) supplement.

The vitamin B family is important for nerve health. B2 and B6 have been shown to alleviate carpel tunnel syndrome, and B3 helps osteoarthritis by increasing joint mobility, decreasing inflammation, and allowing a reduction in medication. The various B vitamins are found in meat, fish, dairy, spinach, almonds, peanuts, mushrooms, avocados, beans, and eggs.

Vitamin E provides anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic effects, and relieves symptoms of musculoskeletal pain, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin E is found in sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, red peppers, asparagus, fish, mangoes, and avocados.

20-40% of the U.S. population are deficient in magnesium, required for hundreds of biochemical reactions, and even more are deficient over fifty years of age. Magnesium is important for producing energy in muscle cells, so is crucial to exercise or physical therapy. Magnesium supplements are also used to treat migraines (deficiency is common in headache patients) and fibromyalgia (it helps cell mitochondria function). It’s found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, and bananas.

Amino acids have also been used to alleviate pain and symptoms of fibromyalgia. Foods high in amino acids include lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, chia sees, sunflower seeds, almonds, avocados, figs, and quinoa.

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and increase serotonergic activity, which alleviates pain. They also stimulate cartilage development for joint repair and increase mineral absorption in your gut. Omega-3 supplements have been effective for migraine, low back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and joint pain. Find them in walnuts, halibut, salmon, sardines, eggs, and cauliflower.

Diet (and exercise) can also improve insulin sensitivity, lowering chronic inflammation, pain, and weight gain. Low-glycemic fruits have anti-inflammatory properties, including apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, lemons, limes, pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries.

Stay away from trans fats in processed foods and hydrogenated vegetable oils, as they double your risk of heart disease (raising LDL, lowering HDL) through inflammation of the blood vessels. This can also contribute to degenerative disc disease, blocked arteries in the lower back and a lifetime of low back pain.

Eat real, whole foods instead. Vegetables, in particular, have the nutrients to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. The tipping point begins at nine servings a day – meaning a cup of raw, leafy greens or ½ cup of cooked vegetables. Especially consume more leafy greens—kale, spinach, collards, dandelion greens, beet greens, mustard greens, radicchio, arugula—plus garlic and onions.

Next time: more of the Twelve Keys to Health and Healing. Until then!

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Tim Emerson
Kwan Yin Healing

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