A Relieve-the-Symptom Mindset

“Take this pill – it will clear up your allergies… Eat this diet – it is guaranteed to help you lose weight… Rub this on your skin – it will clear up your Eczema… Drink this liquid – it will numb your sore throat…”

Is this not how we think?

We grab whatever we can get our hands on {maybe even the doctor’s best recommendation!} that’s most likely to eliminate whatever undesirable and irritating symptoms we’re experiencing. Something as simple as minor seasonal allergies is enough to send us running for a chemical-drug that will “clear it up” in just a few hours.pills-110726-02

Because we just can’t take it any longer.

Now let me be clear in saying that the purpose of this post is not to tear apart the drug industry, or make you feel like taking an allergy pill is a sin. Because it’s not. Even if there’s a better way in most cases, there is a time and a place for chemical drugs.

We Have a Problem

I’m writing this post because I had a conversation with a friend this morning. And I realized that I have a problem. You have a problem. Our world has a problem.

We have a ‘Relieve-the-Symptom’ mindset.

We’ve been raised with this mindset. It’s how we naturally think. It’s impossible not to think this way at times. Even the majority of our health professionals think this way. “Take _______ and your symptoms will clear up… and hopefully everything will work itself out.”

We are willing to do whatever we can, however we can, and at whatever cost {check out the finances tied up in the healthcare industry!}, to get quick and easy relief. We want to deal with these symptom, and we want to deal with them right now!  Just give us a better life, free of pain and unwanted symptoms.

From the Inside Out

What about the underlying root problem? What about the initial cause deep down under the surface? Something we cannot see that’s affecting our bodies from the inside out?

Because it’s not just a rash. There’s something out of balance in the body, or perhaps an allergic reaction to something.

Maybe underneath the swelling and bruising and pain, there’s a broken bone or fracture.

Those migraines that keep my sister in bed all day on certain days… they’re caused by hidden factors like stress, or hormonal imbalance, or a pressure change due to the weather…

And sometimes it’s easy to think “If I just rub that on, or swallow that down, or follow this diet… everything will be okay”.

Natural Medicine… Duplicating the Drug Industry Mindset

Even in the holistic, natural, alternative, herbal healthcare world… we’re guilty of this mindset. As a maker-of-products I sometimes think this way! And it’s a dangerous way to think.

If I just rub this salve on, or inhale these essential oils, or drink this tea, or eat this way…”20130620-210417

Yes, this may be very true for a bug bite, or a cut, or a sore back after a long day of hard work… but it’s not enough when you’re dealing with the bigger health issues that run rampant in our world today. Fibromyalgia, Eczema, Psoriasis, to name a few.

I Love Symptom Relievers

Yes! They are wonderful things! And of course I ALWAYS prefer the herbal alternatives to chemical-laden symptom relievers. My sister can get quite a bit of relief from her headaches using essential oils. I can clear up my allergies in no time with essential oils. I know that an herbal tea and some oils are very effective in quickly healing up a broken toe…

But so many times in life it’s not enough to address the symptoms.

A Lifetime Supply

We’ve been deceived into thinking that our symptom relievers are enough. And so we fill our cabinets with products of every shape and form and quantity. Products that may or may not actually bring temporary relief… products that may or may not require us to use something bigger and stronger next time… products that may or may not actually cause damage in the long run to our health… and if we’re dealing with something bigger, they don’t usually solve the underlying root problem.


Address the Root Cause… It’s Still There

In many cases you can relieve those symptoms and they’ll come right back. My sister still gets headaches. She is able to find much relief using different methods, but that does not change the fact that she still gets headaches in the first place – and there is a root cause {still unknown to us!}.

A friend of mine has some pain in his knee. There are wonderful ingredients and products that may help relieve his pain, but it does not change the fact that his leg muscles are tight and out of balance, and he needs to do special specific stretches and exercises to work his knee back to a healthy, normal state.

My little brother spent the first 3 years of his life with a terrible rash all over his arms and legs. We used a combination of natural {and even some chemical!} products that were helpful to reduce some of the itching and redness.. but in the end it took several years of working with a natural doctor/chiropractor, making dietary changes, and using special health supplements, to help him find healing.

Josiah and Timothy 2009

In so many cases the symptom relievers aren’t enough.

Study to Know

There are hidden factors. There are root causes. There are underlying issues that need to be resolved. Use those symptom relievers, and enjoy them to the fullest {may I recommend that you avoid all drugs and chemical-symptom-relievers as much as possible}!! But don’t stop there.

You have to make time to understand more of what might be happening in your body – or in someone else’s body. You have to push yourself to research, and study to learn and understand. There are reasons, and considerations, even ‘rules’ to follow that seem to yield positive results.

It’s amazing how much you can figure out in just a few hours when you are willing to write down questions, do online research, look through books, send emails, make phone calls, find people who have knowledge and opinions and advice.

One of my biggest goals as I’m studying to be a Certified Herbalist and Health Educator, is to encourage others {and to help them!} to look deeper – beyond the outer visible symptoms {which can usually be addressed with something!}, to other hidden factors that may be causing bigger health issues.

Because as wonderful and lovely as symptom-relievers are… so many times in life they are not enough.

A New Mindset

We’ve been taught not to understand the root problems; not to ask questions; not to dig deeper. Inwardly we’re afraid of knowing what’s really going on that’s affecting us. We don’t have {or make!} the time to do our homework and figure things out. We refuse to study and learn – to understand. We want the answers handed to us … and we want them quickly, complete with an easy solution for a better life.

It’s fine to have your favorite symptom-relievers and love them too! I have a whole list of them that I use *all the time* for various things. I even have favorite recommendations.

But  we need to develop a new mindset. We need to understand that inside our bodies, things are happening that affect so many different aspects of our health. The outer visible symptoms we face are usually warning signs of a bigger problem beneath the surface.

And how are you going to deal with them?

You can load up your shelves with new products to try… and love them! But it probably won’t fix the bigger problem. It probably won’t bring true healing. And it might even make things worse in the long-run.

Don’t let your symptom relievers keep you from realizing the warning signs of a bigger problem. Don’t ignore the truth that something needs to be addressed, that if overlooked may cause bigger problems. And don’t live your life simply ‘treating the pain’. Get rid of your ‘Relieve-the-Symptom’ mindset… learn to think bigger – beneath the surface.



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