Inflammation at the Root of Many Common Illnesses - By Neela Sandal
Inflammation is at the root of a lot of common illnesses, such as allergies, asthma, heartburn, and muscular aches and pains. Inflammation is our body's way of cleansing itself, fighting off infecting, repairing damaged cells, and so much more.
Inflammation is one of the foundations of our body's systems, and when have dysfunctional systems, we have higher amounts of inflammation, which makes us prone to develop a whole spectrum of disorders that appeal to be dissociated from their root cause. The trouble begins when our body becomes either overwhelmed with these tasks, or hyper sensitized, which triggers too much inflammation, but we need to keep in mind that inflammation in moderation serves our body well.
The interesting thing about inflammation is that it doesn't sit in one place. We have inflammation in our gut, and it affects the rest of the body as well. When we have one area of our body that's having a particularly hard time, it can be a source of inflammation for our entire body. While inflammation is the basis of a lot of complex disorders, it's not focused on too much in traditional medicine because the roots of inflammation may not be apparent through the symbols we're experiencing.
With the integrative approach, what we are trying to do is to figure out how to clean up all of these different kinds of systems in the body. We don't want to look at a disorder and say to a patient, “We got it 50% better, so good luck.” We want to say, “We did the heavy lifting, and now what are the other pieces that led to that? What is the underlying dysfunction that ultimately brought us to this manifestation of illness?”
A good example is a pollen allergy, which is the body's over-reactivity to an environmental stimulus. There's no intrinsic reason that our body should react to pollen; pollen is not bad for us, it's not attacking us, and it's not really causing any problems except that our body makes it a problem. Traditionally, pollen allergies are treated with medicines that stop the body's response to this, so this allergy is typically only treated symptomatically, missing the question of why the heck are we reacting to this benign substance?
Our body, due to underlying levels of inflammation, can be set up to be more reactive to everything. The body's natural process process of trying to produce inflammation to correct something in the body has gone overboard.The body is saying, “There's something (virus or bacteria) that I I need to get rid up, so let's turn on the heat.”
A lot of infections or toxins are co-evolving with us, always a step ahead of our immune system, or, the case of toxins, not just something we're equipped to successfully deal with, so this can really escalate. The body gets to the point of saying, “I think we're on maximum hot,” which will make the body react to anything that seems unusual, but there's a serious underlying issue that needs to be addressed when this happens.
Inflammation treatment is one of the cornerstones of many integrated therapies approaches to complex disorders because inflammation is such a complex system and plays to some disorders. Notably, there are a lot of inflammatory disorders that modern medicine has a hard time treating – asthma, allergies, heartburn, headaches, chronic stomach pain – and the list goes on. In any given individual, the inflammatory overactivity may only be 10% of the cause, but sometimes its 50% to 90%. In the integrative approach, we apply best study practices in trying to figure out where the sources of the problems are, how to make improvements, and how to treat the symptoms as well as the roots.
There's general and specific ways to treat inflammation. If you can find the toxin or infection, then get rid of it, that's very beneficial. There's also some broad things one can do: apply medicines or herbs that reduce the irritation to the immune system, and look for various ways to turn down the heat a little bit.
We can bolster our detoxication processes, and that helps us move through those irritating products in a general fashion. In tradition medicine, this is often accomplished with pain-killers and steroids, which twist the arm of the physiology to reduce the inflammatory reaction. That's great for symptom control, and in some ways can stop a propagation of inflammation, but there are other ways we can reduce those reactions. This is where we can draw on body awareness, meditation, biofeedback, increasing consciousness of what's happening with our bodies, and thereby allowing more conscious control of these reactions.
Neela Sandal, founder of Atma Clinic, provides primary and stand-alone care. The first session is free. More at 785/760-0695