Nigel Summerley and Rowena J Ronson Talking About…
Taking Responsibility For Our Own Health And How Good It Feels!
Image: Self Empowerment by Rowena J Ronson
NS: When we face chronic conditions or serious health issues, we tend to seek out the right person to help us deal with them. But, in the end, isn’t the only one that can effectively take charge of your health you?
RJR: Absolutely. It is always good to get opinions from different practitioners and become educated and informed. It is really helpful to have people to discuss our health with too, with whom we can trust and who can offer us guidance, support, natural solutions if we are struggling and objective observance. When we are really aware of our mind and body, and their connection – through that level of self awareness, we can then really take care of ourselves.
NS: Aren’t many of us still conditioned to expect health experts to come up with solutions, instructions and prescriptions for us? I think that homeopathy and a number of other “alternative” therapies have done much to encourage patients to take responsibility and be involved in their own healing process; but some conventional doctors and consultants still seem averse to this approach.
RJR: It is an old paternalistic paradigm that is at play here – and it is a two-way dynamic. People not taking responsibility for their health – and not understanding how to – and doctors thinking it is their role to take responsibility for them, and prescribe. We are not taught about health and how we can look after ours. Instead we are encouraged to ingest addictive substances, abuse our bodies with convenience meals – eaten unconsciously, give ourselves ‘treats’ in order to seek comfort and then take prescription drugs when our bodies cannot cope anymore, which often numb us into oblivion. And we do all of this while sitting hunched and immobile over our mobile telephones and laptops. At least some people are becoming more aware and self empowered, thanks to the internet and social media.
NS: You paint a depressing (but accurate) picture of how many of us live. And even many doctors seem uninterested in the lifestyles of their patients, and worryingly ignorant sometimes of what effects the drugs they dispense may be having. I think you have also identified the key point: education. And because there is no real health education, the alternative is: self-education. A heartening number of young people ARE educating themselves about their health and realising the importance of diet, exercise and avoiding reliance on medication. This must be the first step of taking charge of one’s health, surely?
RJR: Wouldn’t it be great though if it was part of our education? I am all for change on a very big scale! My patients tell me that at work they are being taught mindfulness now. So change is happening, slowly but surely, at least in terms of mental health awareness. And yes, each and everyone of us taking charge of our own lives on every level would be amazing.
NS: Absolutely. Health education should be a priority – and not health propaganda in which kids are told do this, do that, vaccination is the answer to everything, take a pill when you are ill etc… But real education about how our bodies work and don’t work, and the encouragement of discussion of all the ways we might prevent illness – and might deal with being ill. With proper education, we can be empowered to make choices, rather than be passive “health industry consumers”.
RJR: I completely agree with you. Readers, what do you think?