By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
May 22, 2016
I have a weird fear, and it stemmed form an incident from many years ago. You see, as a kid, I didn’t really get sick too often, even when the kids in my classes were spreading coughs and colds like wildfire. I guess that was the pleasure of constantly being the new kid, for I regularly hung out by myself and was therefore rarely exposed to the scourges of childhood sickness. Yup, I earned a few perfect attendance awards during my day. When I did get sick, it was pretty much ear infections, which seem to be the only thing that occasionally affects me to this day. I can literally tell when my sinuses are getting a little too clogged and when it is time to whip out the Flonase and the mint smelling bag I have. There is a weird feeling I get in my throat and under my ear, like the clogging is beginning and the moments of hell are coming soon. It took a couple times for me to finally get used to the signals and preemptively stop the future problem from beginning. I don’t want to go through the horrors of what I used to suffer, where I couldn’t even swallow and even sleeping would be hard. Trust me, this was not a regularly occurring issue I enjoyed. It meant I had to really maintain my waxy left ear (the central problem of the situation) and constantly blow out the pressure in my nose. As I have gotten older, my allergies have made the situation more interesting. I could blow out pressure for five minutes straight and my sinuses would still have some built up pressure. That’s just the life I have to live with now. For years, I remember my mother or father having to have me sit on my side when they would feed my ears some medicine and then plop some cotton in there. I would get made fun of at school for it, which was one of the rare times I would get any attention from the other kids. When I got my first real, adult ear infection a couple years ago, the intern at the University of Arizona Medical Center made a note to all of the scaring I had on my ear drum. “Yup, I have had lots of ear infections, bro!” I stated, tired from the four hour wait I had endured (it was flue season, and dozens of people were in front of me…what the hell people!)
Now the moral of this story is the fact I can see when something is starting to bother me, I can begin some personal treatment that will ultimately save me some money and heartache. When I start feeling some tightness in my left ear, I become a little more diligent in my wax cleaning (I need to make a Youtube video some day, for the amount can be pretty unbelievable sometimes) while also depressurizing my ears multiple times a day. This typically does the trick and I have not had to worry about Flonase for nearly a year. I find this a good thing, because like I said about my youth, I had some fears rolling around my head. I used to read the labels for various aspirins and such, and one thing I always feared from the headache medicines is when the packaging stated that if “taken without any issues involved, you might start growing a Snow White and the Seven Dwarves sized nose!” Okay, it didn’t say that, but it stated something to that respect. I mean, I loved the Muppets and all of the ugly and mean muppets had gigantic noses! I was strangely vain about my nose back then, for I really didn’t want it to get any bigger than it already was. Yup, so I made sure that I did not take any types of medication until I absolutely knew I needed them. It kind of shaped how I viewed going to the hospital, for it needed to be something pretty bad for me to haul my butt into a potential blood factory with superbugs and diseases that will make me sicker than I could ever imagine. Did I also mention I kind of hate hospitals? Not only is it the smell of the places, but it is the creepy feeling I get when I walk in and see the dead colors, the hundreds of machines and the beds upon beds of sick and hurt people. Yup, those places terrify me. I think the worst experience is when my mother’s appendix burst and she was right next to a person that was yelling at the top of her lungs about not getting enough service. I never did find out what her problem was, but being in a hospital was certainly one of them. You could the disdain in the staff’s faces when they were doing their rounds. I just hope I can avoid the hospital as much as possible as I get older.
Now, I am not as extreme in my position in regards to drugs and hospitals. I will do it if I absolutely have to, even if the said treatment will send me into a loop and wreck my finances. But often times, you have to throw your hands up and let the world of modern day science do its thing. There are people in this world, whether it be through pure distrust of pharmaceuticals to those that are cheap bastards, who believe medical science is out to get us. Look up videos of people doing their own tooth extractions and their own cyst popping (yup, another pimple popping reference….I’m one of those people) and you will see what some lengths are being taken to avoid a hospital visit. And why not? We hear stories about superbugs and people getting wrong procedures and procedures going bad all the time. A couple weeks ago I wrote about how misdiagnosis within the medical profession is causing an estimated quarter million deaths a year. Seriously, when you are a numbers and logic nerd like myself, crunching the numbers and seeing the results can be quite unsettling. I think this is why I am glad I am taking a more “holistic” approach to my own health by eating better and actually doing some exercise. This isn’t always the best way of course, for there are moments where you will absolutely have to take medications to save your life….but this doesn’t mean you should not take some steps to prevent problems for yourself from a non drug regimen.
Now I am sure a great many of friends are going to perk their eyes when they see this news….two doctors named Arthur Grollman and Donald Marcus conducted a study that was recently published stating herbal remedies need to be studied more due to the threat of toxicity and carcinogenicity. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/20/herbal-remedies-pose-global-health-hazards-study-claims.html Of course, this once again leads into the typical war of words between Western science and the more holistically based Eastern sciences which rely on herbal supplements and home remedies. It’s nothing new really, for just about everything in the Western-Eastern debate can lead to a lot of arguments. For example, one of my favorite Epic Rap Battles of History was recently the battle between Eastern Philosophers (Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu and Confucius) and Western Philosophers (Socrates, Voltaire and Nietzsche….and if you can believe this, I spelled Nietzsche’s name right on the first try!). https://youtu.be/0N_RO-jL-90 Ultimately, everyone started arguing amongst themselves even though all of the ideas involved served some extremely valid points. So naturally, in the couple days that it has taken for this story to circulate, arguments have already surfaced.
Now, I am not a man that will use Oregano Oil to aid in my weight loss (or maybe I should) or use cinnamon for erectile dysfunction (!!!!). But I sure as heck don’t use tension headache pills for a headache or muscle relaxers when I have worked too hard in the gym (which my right arm could sure use right now). To begin the argument, you have to remember the amount of money at stake on both sides of the argument. The pharmaceutical industry makes roughly 250 billion a year, especially off the use of antibiotics in our farm animals. While the holistic industry “only” makes roughly 34 billion a year, the amount of practitioners and professionals are a much smaller group of people. So you can see why the holistic community is on the assault. Now according to the article, just about every country in the world has some say about the use of herbal remedies in conjunction with standard western medical practices. But according to Grollman and Marcus, no one has really studied the dangers of such remedies, and there sentiment is growing among other professionals. Some of the claims they cited are herbal remedies like ginkgo and St. John’s Wort, which typically make claims about healing brain disfunction and mild depression. The question is…we say it is good for our bodies, but is it really? I mean, Monster energy drinks like to boast that super additives like taurine are good for us, even though too much of the taurine might elevate our heart rate to levels coffee could only dream of. When you really think about it, it is a valid point in regards to the holistic community. You have multiple subsets of society like essential oils and herbal remedies making claims in regards to health. Just how much truth is there to these claims? I use a funny movie as an example called “The 51st State,” where Samuel L. Jackson supposedly makes the most powerful party drug in history called POS 51. Of course, the joke is the POS means “power of suggestion,” and people are only getting high and thinking they are having a good time because they are being told so. Is this the same type of power that holistic medicine has on the human psyche?
Now I am not here to denounce the holistic and herbal remedy industry. To each their own…this is just something I can’t really afford right now (in addition to western science). Placebo Effects can certainly be powerful, for a great many self help programs in regards to the mind are nothing more than saying “I feel better and love myself” over and over again until you either get tired of saying it or actually believe it. In respect to society, the mind and the body have a powerful effect on a person when you think positively. But not all of these things can save us. One Facebook friend of mine recently had to purge some idiots who believed sunshine and diet would be able to cure her Type 1 diabetes…believing the drugs were causing the problem. Same thing happened to another person that needed meds for a mental problem. Let’s face it, there are some instances where we need science to save us. While the problem may be leveled against the herbal and holistic field, the profitability of the industry may be aided by the lack of regulation, much like the money making machine that is muscle building supplements. Right now, there is no movement to really start regulating the holistic world, for it seems people are more than content to try these herbal remedies. In fact, the whole idea of home remedies is really making a comeback, for a small trend that is growing right now is the use of maggots to clean wounds for people who are having trouble with wounds that don’t seem to want to heal. http://qz.com/688958/maggots-are-making-a-comeback-in-modern-medicine/ As gross as this may seem, it makes some valid points. Much like the back and forth argument we constantly have between Western and Eastern healing philosophies.
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.