Frequently we hear the meme “Don’t shoot the messenger!” when the bearer of bad news is blamed or lashed out against. The emotions attached can be hostile or jokingly expressed. But it’s no joking matter when it comes to our body, and to our health. So frequently, when the body tells us something is wrong – giving us a message intended to be paid attention to – we shoot the messenger. Symptoms are messengers. They are there to raise a red flag and say “Hello! Is anyone listening to me? Something is wrong! Please pay attention!” So instead of delving into the root issue, we mask the symptom. We shoot it with drugs, radiation or even try to cut it out. The messenger may be suppressed, or dead, but what about the problem? In most cases, it’s still there.
Let’s take a couple of examples: the gallbladder is a good starting point. One day, the gallbladder sends a message. We call it pain, or achiness. Initially you may not shoot the messenger, but rather ignore it. So, the message gets stronger and stronger until finally, you can no longer ignore it. Then you seek someone’s help in killing the messenger, and he is removed and the pain stops. Is the problem gone? No. Just the messenger is. You see, the problem started further upstream in the stomach. With ineffective digestion from the stomach level, the gallbladder starts to falter. The stage is set for either an incompetent gallbladder or gallstones. How many of you ever had your stomach issues handled too?
That’s another good example. More commonly than ever, heartburn rages in the stomachs of the innocent. Reflux frequently accompanies it, and maybe a hiatal hernia, an esophageal spasm, or a myriad of other symptoms. There are lots of messengers in the stomach that relay differing messages, but with a similar root cause. So, when heart burn tortures us, we run to the acid reducing medications – we just shoot that fire dead! But what was the message the stomach was trying to relay? That we have an acid reducing medication deficiency? No! In most cases, it’s an inadequate amount or balance of stomach enzymes, a deficiency of enzymes. When that is the case, why is there a deficiency? There are many reasons why, and almost all of them are within our control, and easy too. One way to listen to the messenger and take care of the problem is to seek the services of a competent acupuncturist. Their job is not to attach a label to the symptom, but to find out why it is there in the first place. The person is treated, not the disease. Every message – every symptom – is listened to, and the entire spectrum of symptoms are organized into a pattern of dysharmony, which pattern is then treated. Since the body can send many messengers to relay problems in the body, it is essential that we don’t shoot the messenger, but listen instead!
©2016 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.