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How Does the Body Work? (What is Natural Health? Part 3)
Do you know how your body “works”? Did you ever play the game “Operation” as a kid? Did you take Biology in school? Perhaps you’ve watched a PBS special about the human body and how it functions or maybe an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”? Most people aren’t doctors and don’t even play one on TV. We can be thankful that we don’t actually have to know how our bodies work to operate them! But, the truth of the matter is that if we don’t know how they work – they will end up getting operated on! And more than your nose lights up when the doctor messes up!
First we looked at our spirit then we talked about our soul (the mind, will and emotions). The spirit, soul and body must be working together in unity or we will not be in good health. Today we’re going to take a peek at how the body works.
Since God created us, we’ll go to His Word to find the instructions for how to live. Proverbs 4:20-22 (MSG) says, “Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.”
God says that how we treat our bodies is very important. 1 Corinthians 6:19 (GNT) says “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God.” We see here that our body is the “house” we live in.
The Word also says that “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand” Mark 3:25 (NIV). Likewise, if one part of us is not working, it will eventually cause the whole “house” to deteriorate. That’s why in natural medicine we look to the condition of the whole person and treat the imbalances, wherever they may be. There may be a mineral imbalance that has led to a heart attack, or an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut that resulted in eczema on the skin or perhaps unresolved bitterness and unforgiveness has caused the heart attack and the eczema! Ancient wisdom tells us to not just look at the symptom and treat it but to trace it back all the way to its root and cut it off there.
In general, we live in a skin house. It’s held up by a structure of bones. There are muscles to make it all move and fat to insulate it well. There are organs running the rooms of the house. There are pipes in the form of veins and arteries carrying blood throughout the house like plumbing and duct work carrying oxygen through the house like air-conditioning.
Remember that old grade-school song called “Dem bones”?
You know, the one that goes:
“Toe bone connected to the foot bone
Foot bone connected to the heel bone
Heel bone connected to the ankle bone
Ankle bone connected to the shin bone
Shin bone connected to the knee bone
Knee bone connected to the thigh bone
Thigh bone connected to the hip bone
Hip bone connected to the back bone
Back bone connected to the shoulder bone
Shoulder bone connected to the neck bone
Neck bone connected to the head bone
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…”
<Rabbit trail warning!!!> That song wasn’t written to teach school children the bones of the body and how they are connected. It is actually an old spiritual composed by African-American author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson in the late 1800’s. It was inspired by Ezekiel 37:1-14, where the Prophet visits the “Valley of Dry Bones” and prophesies that they will one day be resurrected at God’s command. <End of the rabbit trail>
Well, just like how the bones connect together and effect each other in the body like dominoes, our body systems and organs do as well! One example of this is the digestion process. Let’s take a look at the gallbladder’s function in that process. It’s easy to imagine that if you have trouble with a part of the body that it’s just a faulty part – so remove it and eliminate the problem. The problem with that is that each part has a job and you’ll break down the process without each part. It’s also dangerous to assume that the one part is isolated in its problem.
Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, was considered “the father of medicine” in western history. He based his teaching on objective observation and deductive reasoning. He believed in the healing power of nature and felt that disease resulted from an imbalance of the body systems and that outside forces influenced the disturbance. He has often been quoted for such medical mentions as, “Primum no nocere” – “First do no harm”. Medicine has evolved far from the Hippocratic Oath that physicians are sworn to. Gallbladders of the modern world beware.
The allopathic medical system treats that poor little scapegoat of a gallbladder like an isolated island in the body. Have a gallbladder “attack”? Then modern medicine assumes the gallbladder must have “gone bad”. What happens next? It is removed! =>@*$#%^+! That’s me, um, screaming. The fault wasn’t the gallbladders’ – it was the diet of the person owning it, or even further back down the trail, possibly the judgment the person executes against others (remember the soul and spirit are a part of our body health too!). If the toxicity has gone on so long that the gallbladder ruptures, well, better take it out but anything short of that can actually be corrected. There isn’t a “quick-fix” pill (not even an herbal version!) but there are a number of things to bring about change and correct the problem. I know. I had gallbladder attacks and was told I needed surgery. That was many years ago and I still have my gallbladder, but I no longer suffer with gallbladder pain. I wasn’t miraculously healed this time, instead, I believe God wanted me to learn how to correctly care for and treat my body (and gallbladder in the process). The reality is: disease doesn’t happen to us it happens through us.
Yep, that’s a tweetable:
A “diseased” organ isn’t a result of us “catching” a disease or from our poor cosmic luck that it “happens” to us. An organ becomes toxic and then diseased by the choices we make every day. What we allow to go into us determines the quality of our health. What “goes into us” is, of course, food but it is also the thoughts we think and chew on and the feelings we allow and digest!
Technically, digestion begins in our brain when we think about, see, smell or taste food. So, if it’s not “whetting” your appetite your body is not ready to digest it. Think twice (literally) about that gas station frozen-then refrigerated-then microwaved packaged concoction called a burrito…
Ideally, food is supposed to fuel our bodies with the nutrients we need to function. So, in our intricately designed connectedness (from Adam’s apple to anus), bad food choices (like high sugar, refined white starches, rancid artificial oils, the absence of bitter herbs, etc.) go into the mouth (getting a little saliva to help it), travel down the esophagus, then hang out in the stomach getting gastric juices with hydrochloric acid (a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid the body makes to break up the food into a slushy called chyme). Next, as this “fuel” makes its way through the small and large intestines (which if stretched out would equal about 3 times your height!), it needs help along the way – it’s a long trip. The worse the “food” choice, the harder the organs have to work to try to make it “right” for using along the way. It is not what you eat that nourishes you – it is what you digest and assimilate.
Okay, that’s tweetable too…
Back to what’s happening in the digestive tract. The liver produces an alkaline digestive juice called “bile” (degreasing and balancing the acidity from the stomach). Excess bile produced gets stored in the gallbladder. The pancreas helps by adding some minerals similar to baking soda to “sweeten” the acidic mixture even more. The bile is made in the liver but only stored in the gallbladder so removal of the gallbladder doesn’t stop the creation or the drip of bile, it just slows down the process and causes the pancreas to work harder.
Along the digestive path the body is working hard to find and pull out the nutrients to supply each part of our bodies with what they each need to work properly. If those real nutrients are not found (or aren’t available in a usable form) then every part of the body is working extra hard to find those nutrients elsewhere. Our body works like a game of “Survival of the Fittest”. Each organ or body system is going to steal from the other parts of the body to get what it needs.
Pregnancy is a perfect example of this phenomenon. While pregnant, the baby in the mother’s body is getting the “best” of the nutrition she receives. If a mother isn’t getting an adequate supply of nutrients for her and the baby it will soon show up in the mother’s health. It is a built-in survival mechanism God created in us to ensure our survival as humans.
Our body is doing the same thing every day on a system by system, organ by organ basis. Lesser systems, not as important to keeping the body alive (like hair, skin, nails, etc.) will sacrifice to more immediate needs like organs (liver, pancreas, gallbladder, etc.). If there is still not enough nutrients available or absorbed those organs begin giving up what they have to still more important organs like the brain, lungs and heart. Each part of us martyrs itself to allow the next level up to survive.
In this example we won’t continue the digestion process on out of the body, we all know where bad food goes, right? Bottom line, (hehe) is that junk that didn’t get used as true nourishment is waste. Waste that doesn’t come out on a regular basis (constipation) becomes toxic. Toxins that hang around in the body get reabsorbed into the body.
The body has a couple of reservoirs for toxins but can only hold so much at a time. Pretty soon it starts screaming at you, “Can we have a little help here?!? Help me help you! We need a break here, STAT!” Then what do we do? Typically in our current government-controlled, money-driven medical system we shoot the messenger, or worse, cut his throat so he can’t worn you anymore! (This is the part where the gallbladder is surgically removed). Meanwhile, the pancreas sits there, mumbling softly, “Can’t we all just get along?”
At the funeral of the late gallbladder the pancreas is overcome by grief. It can’t take all of the sadness and becomes bitter at the loss of its housemate. It deeply feels that your body just needs to be a little sweeter. It’s an uphill battle so it keeps trying to make you sweeter and sweeter. Say hello to your new bearer of bad news, Diabetes. Diabetes meet High Blood Pressure… Our organs don’t have warranties on them. They don’t start failing just because of age. One by one our organs begin to fail if we don’t give them what they need to function. The longer we abuse and neglect their needs, the sooner they malfunction.
That little tour of the human digestive system is an example of not only how a few of the organ systems of the body work together but also how disease begins and progresses like dominoes falling. If one part of the house is broken, the whole house suffers and is eventually destroyed. We won’t end on that sad little note though, our health doesn’t all have to head south (another bad poop pun, if you missed it). There is good news! We can change the course of events beginning today!
Psalm 103:2-5 (MSG) says, “O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.”
If you’re still with me after all that potty humor, next time in our quest to understand, “What is Natural Health?” we’ll look at part 4 “What Do We Do to Stay Healthy or Naturally Heal?”
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