Our Life As A Tree
I have found a literal gold mine of health information from Frank Lipman, M.D., founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City.
One of my favorite quotes from him states, “In a true health care system, we must use modern western medicine for what it is good at – crisis care, acute medical and surgical emergencies – and natural, non-toxic and non-invasive therapies whenever possible. The most effective ways of preventing and treating most chronic diseases are diet, supplements, exercise, stress management and other benign modalities. And herein lies the rub. Although guidance may be helpful, lifestyle changes can’t be imposed from above – they have to come from you. There is no greater reward than being the master of your own health.”
I subscribe to his weekly newsletters, Frank’s Pearls, and one of my favorite articles was about his “Tree Metaphor.” In this he spoke about his learning to see himself as a gardener tending a garden when he was treating patients. When a plant or tree is not growing well or the leaves are drooping, the gardener looks to see if the plant is getting enough sunlight, enough water, is the soil correct, are the roots being impinged on by anything, etc. He further states that the gardener does not paint the leaves green if they are going yellow or cut off the “sick part.” He looks to see why the plant is not growing well.
Dr. Lipman, using the tree image, explains the philosophy developed by the Functional Medicine Doctors, a group he belongs to. He states that in Modern Western Medicine the leaves or branches of the patient are treated according to “specialities” such as allergies, endocrinolgy, rheumatology, psychiatry, gnecology, neurology, gastro-enterology, cardiology, pulmonology, orthopedics, etc. where each specialist gives a drug or sometimes gets surgery to treat that particular problem in that particular organ or system or branch. He gives an example of leaves turning yellow in the “Cardiology” section of the tree and they are painted green or cut off, with no thought about why this is happening or how it is related to the other parts of the tree.
In reading this my thoughts immediately went back to when my mother was being treated by several different doctors, who all were prescribing different drugs to her for various issues she had. Her state of health became worse as these medications began to react with each other. Even though it was stated on her death certificate that her death was caused by pernicious anemia, all of our family believed it was because of all the prescriptions she was on.
Lipman’s new model of medicine looks at te roots of the tree to see what factors could be contributing or causing the problem including such things as lack of nutrients, lack of sun, too much stress, toxic exposure, and then looking at the trunk of the tree for such things as inflammation, a gastro-intestinal dysfunction, etc. He gave the example of inflammation that is present in asthma, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis or allergies. In Modern Western Medicine, each Specialist gives the patient drugs (as in my own mother’s case) to alleviate the symptoms of that organ system instead of treating the underlying inflammation, which needs to be addressed by removing the factors causing inflammation and supplying the factors needed to stop the inflammation.
In reading this I immediately go back to part of Dr. Lipman’s quote, “The most effective ways of preventing and treating most chronic diseases are diet, supplements, exercise, stress management and other benign modalities.” I only wish I knew then (when my mom was alive) what i know now. I was fortunate enough that someone shared with me how to take control of my own life with proper diet, exercise and supplementation, so have not followed in her footsteps regarding her health issues. A helpful tip for filling out your own personal health assessment for free can be find here. Just sign in as a guest and answer the questions and you will given great suggestions on your own journey to a healthier life.
This pioneer in holistic medicine has the prescription and road map we need for unparalleled wellness. I highly recommend his books, Total Renewal: 7 Key Steps to Resilience, Vitality, and Long-Term Health and Revive~Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again.