The body is not a machine

Dr. TonyNSA

The picture above is that of a human cell. To me it looks like an alien city. In order to make sense of our world, we have incorporated a left brain approach to seeing the world as parts that are collectively doing something. We have learned to manipulate those parts, even going as far as switching them out for new ones when the need arises. This left-brained approach has enabled us to make wondrous discoveries and technological advances. At the same time, it has its limitations.

In health care, we tend to think of the body as a collection of parts. Medicine seeks to, in some cases, replace parts of the body once they are worn out. There are labs in the world, where tissues and organs are now grown.

Now I’m not saying that all of this is bad. In some cases, these new parts can save lives or at least give us an extended warranty:).

Without getting into the age old philosophical debate of the ghost in the machine, healing does take the body time to accomplish. If you cut your skin, do you expect the cut to instantaneously disappear? We know through experience from an early age, when we first scraped our knees or bumped our heads, that the body can heal, it just needs time.

But because we’ve learned that health can be seemingly regained by cutting out the parts that aren’t working combined with some magical potions that help the body function better, we tend to have expectations that the healing process is instantaneous. This expectation is not a rational one; it is an emotional one.

When I mention to most patients that “this problem you’re having has been a long time coming, so don’t expect your body to bounce back overnight”, most people rationally understand this.

And yet one of the most challenging hurdles that people come up against during the healing process is having an emotional expectation: they want it a certain way and they want it now.

It is challenging because it can often impede the healing process. If they’re feeling like “this is never going to get better” or “this NeuroSpinal approach is not working”, they can sometimes choose to stop care. Which then of course stifles their healing process.

Impatience and frustration are a normal part of the healing process as they are a normal part of life. It’s what you do with those feelings when you feel them that’s important. Some people find it too uncomfortable to feel impatience or frustration, their wishes, hopes and expectations not being met.

What I find most interesting is that this has more to do with the nervous system and dysregulation. Have you heard of the Marshmallow experiment? Children are given a marshmallow and they are told that they can eat it right away but if they can wait a certain amount of time, they will be rewarded with another marshmallow. So instead of having only one, if they can wait, they can have two!

This was an experiment run at Stanford in the 70’s and it was testing delayed gratification. Since then scientists have found that when someone has Neuro-Adaptive Syndrome (NAS) and their nervous system is dysregulated, they’ll tend to be ruled by their emotions and less by the rational mind.

So a person’s ability to feel impatience or frustration can be affected by NAS, in that the person will more likely act on their emotions rather than reasoning. It turns out that the very thing – NAS – that the body needs to heal, can be stopping them from continuing the healing process.

We are more than just parts assembled together. We are emotions, thoughts, beliefs, roles, values, searching for meaning and purpose. And all of these things that are “Us” are linked through the nervous system, body/mind/spirit.

Awareness is choice
We have the power