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Bowen therapist, Kate Anderson, gives a run-down on how we can better view our long-term health and offers six tips on creating a better future for ourselves…
Being a Bowen Therapist allows me a small window into many people’s lives. The majority that come to see me arrive broken, suffering chronic pain and illness, and have been through a medical system that has failed them.
To my surprise, I had a different kind of client recently who came to me at 77 years of age – not broken, with no aches, pains or other ailments I could initially see. He stated that he had always believed in maintenance of the body and had been having some kind of therapy or treatment every six weeks for majority of his life. He attributes this, along with good eating and exercise, to the healthy condition he is in at his age. A great analogy he offered was that people spend so much money maintaining their cars or possessions, but when it comes to themselves, they wait until they are broken and then try to get fixed, rather than maintain themselves so they don’t break.
As policies and legislation seem to be changing with our new government (and not for the better), it looks like we are in the process of losing our first-class medical system to a user-pays system that will not be accessible to the most vulnerable.
With this I mind, I put out a challenge to boycott our medical system by not getting sick.
(I know that is totally unrealistic and never going to happen, but stay with me).
In saying this, there is more we can do to prevent ourselves from getting to the broken stage.
As humans we need to learn to listen to our bodies, not fight them. For example, when you are tired – GO TO SLEEP. Don’t push through over and over again. Our lives are so busy between work, families, kids activities, etc. We have become a society that never smells the roses. I know of many people who think their life is unfulfilling or that they are unsuccessful if they have not got a full diary with no spare time. We are running on empty – never enough hours in the day. On top of that, and because we have no time, we fill up on convenience packaged foods. We are also consumer driven, believing that the more we have materially, the more successful we are. It is for all these reasons that I keep seeing clients who are at breaking point, worn out and chronically ill.
Mental illnesses, stress and anxiety disorders as well as kids’ behavioural problems are on the rise. The upside to this is people are realising that the way we live is unsustainable. When your body breaks, you have to start listening to it and your priorities must change. Our health is our most important asset and without it life can change very dramatically. I see people who are starting to care about what they eat, buying fresh produce from local green grocers, butchers and farmers’ markets, not the duopoly supermarkets. I see people realising that smelling the roses is important – in fact, way more important than having a new TV or the latest gadget. I see people understanding that you don’t need money to take time out in nature, and the benefits to your body from spending that time out in nature are huge (it must be without electronics). Work is to sustain us and give us a happy life, not to be our life.
For our health to change our whole society needs a massive overhaul.
Let’s learn from our chronically ill and build a system where we look after ourselves. Once our body gets to a broken state, it is a long, hard road back to recovery for some. Others don’t make it back at all. Don’t judge the person who lives with chronic pain or illness, because this could happen to any single person at any time.
So my top six tips to you with regards your health are:
- Listen to your body and take good care of it, do not ignore what it is trying to tell you as every ache, pain or illness is a red light telling us we need to act.
- Take time out to reassess what is truly important in your life.
- It is inevitable that you will spend time and money on your health in this lifetime. You can be proactive; Bowen Therapy, naturopathy or counselling, etc – or it can be reactive; GP’s or surgeons etc.
- Food is important. Inform yourself. We are desensitised to where our food comes from but when we are informed we make better choices. Do you want factory-farmed meat from the supermarket or grass-fed, free-range from your local butcher? Be part of the food revolution.
- If you live by your diary, pencil time in to do nothing. Make sure your nothing involves time out from routine and time by yourself.
- Stay active. This does not have to mean structured exercise. Turn your music on and dance around the lounge room with your kids, go on a bush walk or swim in the ocean.
You only get one body – make it last a lifetime.