Look Beneath the Surface


This beauty is more than skin deep – iris Beverly Sills (1979).

Pretty is as pretty does.
You can’t judge a book by its cover.
Beauty is only skin deep.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Despite the prevalence of such pithy sayings, humans are much more likely to pay attention to what’s on the outside than what’s on the inside. This is true whether we’re talking about reality TV stars, politics, chocolate cake, houses, automobiles, animals or the immune system. Thus the Kardashians – undeniably attractive on the outside – get a lot more attention than someone like Jane Goodall. People injure themselves trying to take selfies. Powerful moguls, politicians and doctors get away with sexual harassment because only appearances matter. Colorful hybrid flowers that can’t reproduce themselves dominate gardens. The red tomatoes that dominate the supermarket are artificially ripened with ethylene gas and taste like cardboard. And finally, we frantically try to protect ourselves from viruses, bacteria and fungi by using antiseptic cleaners, flu shots and such while eating sugar-laden foods or other non-nutrients that damage the immune system.

In the health arena, doctors all too often look at the symptoms (outside) for which one can provide a medication and thus “solve” the problem. The real issue, however, is a derangement or lack of some sort in a body system (inside). The pill may mask the symptom, but it isn’t a solution and it doesn’t promote health. In fact, the pill nearly always has one or more side effects, which are then treated with another pill. Did you know that in the US, the population takes an average of 12 prescription medications each? Even for kids (ages birth to 18), the average is 4. For those over age 80, it’s 29! There’s something wrong with this picture – or as Joel Salatin is fond of saying, “Folks, this ain’t normal!”

Let me give you an example. Both my parents were traditionally trained surgeons. Chiropractors were quacks, herbalism was “that weird Oriental stuff.” When I started to have blood pressure problems, I first went the conventional route. My conventionally-trained physician treated the obvious and visible symptom – my blood pressure. However, the medications resulted in dizziness, low sodium levels and similar negative side effects like a very low pulse. A friend suggested chiropractic. After a few sessions, my blood pressure was under control – it became very clear that my thoracic spine alignment was the key. When T3 and T4 (thoracic vertebrae) were out, my blood pressure would spike. After almost two years of regular treatments, exercise and attention to my posture, my blood pressure stabilized. Along the way – because I was checking my readings several times a day – I discovered that eating wheat or sugar also caused an elevation. So did taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen, which have since been linked to heart failure. The root cause was spinal alignment, but wheat, sugar and NSAIDs were contributing factors. These days, my blood pressure is on the low side of “normal,” and I am symptom-free – no medications and no side effects.

The outward appearance of a problem – high blood pressure readings (outside) – resulted from a spinal alignment problems (inside). Got another pithy saying for you: appearances can be deceiving.

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