I had a patient a few weeks ago come to the realization that the yoga she had been doing was aggravating her condition. It was actually causing her more pain. This was frustrating for her because she had invested time and money into classes and instruction, and enjoyed it immensely. I suggested she try Pilates instead, as I knew she needed some form of activity, and felt she might not only benefit from what Pilates has to offer, but could possibly enjoy it just as much as yoga. Her back pain has nearly completely resolved, she feels stronger already, and she absolutely loves Pilates.
That same week, a patient who had been doing Pilates was complaining that her lower back pain seemed to kick up after doing Pilates. She had been doing Pilates for some time, but just now realized that something in those classes was causing her more pain. I suggested she try a yoga class. She was hesitant, as she loves Pilates, has friends she attends those workouts with, and feels like it has helped keep her strong and toned. She was also unfamiliar with yoga and really didn’t want to have to start from scratch. Yet, she did find a class, has started going, and her back feels better than it has in years. She likes it better than Pilates and wishes she had started years ago.
No two human beings are exactly alike. While we all share enough DNA to categorize us as the same species, Home sapien, we all have enough differences that we remain unique, with vastly complex inner workings that set us apart from every other person on this planet. While we know with certainty that every human has very real needs that are the same, such as air, water, food, movement, etc., we also know that what works for, helps, or interests one person, may be completely different for another.
You may love strawberries, a friend may hate them, your neighbor may be highly allergic to them, and a co-worker may get an upset stomach when eating them. Same food… different response. Strawberries have nutritional value and a sweet taste, yet if you are allergic to them, or do not like how they taste, it would be silly for someone to push them upon you.
As individuals, it is up to us to figure out what we enjoy, what exercises are most beneficial for us, what foods provide us with the most nourishment, and what gets us feeling and functioning as best we can. What is ideal for one person isn’t always ideal for you. You must experiment to figure these things out.
Our current mainstream medical system relies primarily on two things… drugs and surgery. If you listen to the pharmaceutical ads on television, they lower their voice at the end of the ad and rattle off a long list of potential side effects. While a medication may achieve the intended goal in one person, i.e., lowering cholesterol or lowering blood pressure, it may have no positive effect on another person. And along with that drug achieving a positive result in one person, and having no effect on another, it may cause serious, life-threatening adverse effects in another person.
In regards to surgery, it is very common for the same procedure to end up with outstanding results in one person, yet fail miserably in another. One may rave about how much better they are and how they’ve gotten their life back after a knee replacement, while another is left with chronic, debilitating pain, wishing they had never signed up for the surgery.
There are two points I am trying to make here. First, you need to experiment when it comes to trying to get well and boost your health. Just because something had a miraculous effect on your friend does not mean it will help you. And just because someone you know tried something and saw no improvement, does not mean it won’t help you. If something you are doing is not producing positive results, quit. And if you find something that really works, continue with that. And if you are doing well with what you are doing, but think you can do better, continue with what you are doing, but try adding something else.
Second, when experimenting (as most of us do), choose natural, safe, holistic things first. Drugs and surgeries come with adverse effects, risks, and often do not address the cause of your problems. While drugs and surgeries are warranted at times, you’ll get much more upside when dabbling with exercise, nutritional changes, natural supplements, and holistic therapies.
You must experiment when it comes to boosting your health and correcting ailments. You are different from everyone else; therefore, your needs will likely differ from your friends and family. Spend the money, take the time, and invest your energy into things you think might help. If they work, continue with those. If they do not produce a result, try something else. And focus on natural, safe options. There are so many health-boosting options out there… go search for the ones that work best for YOU!