What does that mean?

Does health mean physical vitality, mental acuity or emotional stability?  Or does health mean reducing the number of prescriptions in the medicine cabinet or the number of missed days at work?  For each person, health means something different, and is something we must each define for ourselves.

What would health look like to you and your family?

Would there be more time with your significant other or children?  Or would there be more money for vacations or special purchases?  Would it mean better sleep, and so, better days?  Would it mean gaining or losing weight and then being more active, physically or socially?  How would your family benefit if you were healthy?

What would it feel like to have health?

What would it feel like to wake up each morning without the lingering effects of disease (dis-ease) in your system?  What would it feel like to be able to function during the whole month?  Or plan for something three, six or nine months away?

For many people, this is a concept that is so far removed from their reality they refuse to entertain the notion.

For some, they’ve been told absolutely they CANNOT have health.  Perhaps this is true, but what if it isn’t?  What if the diabetic or hypertensive in your family could get treatments and actually “get health”?  What would that be worth to your family?  If you no longer had debilitating headaches or menstrual cramps?  If your back/neck/arms/legs/joints no longer ached/burned/throbbed?

And what holds people back from exploring their options?  Is it fear of failure or fear of success?

There are any number of terrible “invisible diseases” (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Fibromyalgia, Lyme, Primary Immunodeficiency Disease and Dysautonomias to name a few) which it would be inappropriate to baldly state could be “cured” but what if the debilitating symptoms could be reduced.  And what is that worth?

A leap of faith?

Three or four visits to a health care provider who treats the whole body to see if you get any relief?

What if it worked?  What if it didn’t?

When counselling adult students returning to school after years in the workforce, I often had to field versions of this question. “What if, after going to school full-time for four years, I don’t go into practice as an acupuncturist?”  And I would answer them “What if you don’t.  At the end of those four years, you’ll have gained a Master’s degree, a whole new way of approaching health – yours and your family’s at least.  And you’ll be four years older.  If you don’t go to school, at the end of four years, you’ll have four years more experience in the world, that’s true, and you’ll be four years older, but you won’t have been exposed to the richness of experience you’ll get returning to school.  If you’re not sure this curriculum is the right one, go talk to other schools.  Maybe you’d rather study mental health, or education, or get a Masters in your current field.  Go take some time, listen to the voice inside you that’s telling you to return to school.  And remember, it’s only four years after all.”

They didn’t always come to our school, some went away and stayed in their jobs and some went to schools in other fields.  But each one of them let me know that they appreciated the reminder.  It’s easy to forget, but time is only time.

So what if you did go to, say, an acupuncturist, for a few visits?  What would you lose?  What might you gain?

What is your health really worth?

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