This morning, on the way to the office, I heard a story about a study that was conducted by the National Academy of Science which found that fluoride, which, as most know, has been added to our drinking supply to help strengthen our teeth and bones, might actually be harmful to us instead of being helpful for our teeth and bones as originally thought.
Every time I hear one of these studies I have to laugh to myself as I think, I could have told you that. But how would I know that without having done a study myself?
Very often, clients that consult with me are seeking advice about their diet, exercise program or what types of holistic procedures they should try. Instead of telling them what I think they should do, I prefer to arm them with the ability to reason their own solutions.
Many practitioners will give rote advice about diet and exercise regimens. That would be great if it weren’t for the fact that no two people are the same. While a specific diet might be great for one person, it might not work for another. Then how do we know what’s best for us?
I recommend a combination of sound reasoning and listening to your body for its own specific needs.
There are two basic methods of reasoning – inductive and deductive. Inductive reasoning is based on gathering bits of information, considering them, and then reaching a conclusion. Deductive reasoning is based on the logical thought progression from a major premise or accepted idea to smaller concepts or conclusions. If your major premise if faulty, you can expect that all other ideas stemming from it will be false too. Likewise, faulty bits of information would render inductive reasoning ineffective.
For example, there was a time when the accepted truth was that the world was flat. Anyone disagreeing would most likely be burned at the stake or at the very least be ridiculed. Now we know otherwise because every day as new knowledge is gained it replaces previous understandings and subsequent advice or procedures based upon those truths or understandings.
I heard once that every year scientists learn more about the human body than in all previous years combined. Given this, it might be worth noting that our current healthcare system leans heavily toward inductive reasoning. The Physicians Desk Reference, which is published by pharmaceutical companies, lists all information known about the medications they distribute including uses and side effects. It’s interesting to note that the mode of action for almost all of the medications listed is unknown. In other words, they don’t know how they work. Why not, you ask? Simply, because as much information as we have learned about the human body we still don’t know much at all. If we did, then our healthcare system might not be in such shambles.
Great; so now what? If we can’t rely on compiled information or conflicting research studies, how are we supposed to make healthy decisions for ourselves and our children? To sum it up in one word: Think!
Using a combination of inductive and deductive reasoning, we need to make conscious decisions based on what actually makes sense, not on what somebody else tells us. Information is a good thing, but it must be used with wisdom and common sense.
For instance, let’s consider what we put into our bodies. We don’t need a study to tell us that synthetics or chemicals ingested or absorbed in the body are going to be harmful. Logically, we would want to eat wholesome (preferably organic) foods and stay away from anything that has preservatives or other chemicals or food that is processed including fast food. Bottom line, you don’t need a research study or a course in nutrition to deduce this.
Last, and most importantly, we must listen to what our body wants and needs. Remember, we are all unique and have different and specific requirements. No expert knows your body like you do. Most of my work is based on helping clients to develop an awareness of their body and its needs. When they develop that internal awareness then they automatically make healthier choices that are right for them.
A great spiritual teacher once said “You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.” Personally, I’d rather teach my clients how to fish for themselves.