Participatory Medicine Part 1

We are constantly interacting and participating in our own health and healing. We are also participating in the health and healing of others.

Our existence, our sustenance, our growth and self-regulation, as well as our healing can only take place through partnerships and relationships with our selves, with the world and with other human beings.

Consider the air we breathe.

From the moment I am born, I breathe in air and thereby maintain my existence and my wellbeing. My body is designed to take in air to stay alive. I do it unconsciously, participating with my lungs, nervous system, blood circulation, in fact my whole body is engaged in every breathe I take. The air together with my body is also my partner for life. I learn that when I breathe in clean air, my system functions more efficiently, I therefore seek to live in places where the air is clean and avoid polluted environments. I seek a partnership with a clean environment. I discover that when I learn to expand my lungs more fully by using my diaphragm to breathe, my body feels more alive and I feel happier in myself. I engage more consciously and more caringly with this body that feels increased vitality and with this I feel a happier person. I wish to maintain my enhanced well being and therefore commit myself to practicing expansive breathing. This committed person then participates actively in conscious breathing several times a day.

In these ways, I form partnerships with different parts of myself, one who understands what makes me healthy, someone who senses what a healthy body is, one who feels happy to feel so well and then a part that carries out the change. I can say I participate in my own well being through a thinking, a sensing, a feeling and a doing person.

Then a few days ago I picked up a book, The Healing Power of Sound by Dr Mitchell L Gaynor and read about different types of breathing that enhances health further. I form a relationship with the author, also an integrative doctor, who opens up his life story to me in such a way that his teaching becomes meaningful and authentic. His words touch a chord and I begin to include in my daily health practices the exercises he suggests. He further speaks about the power of sound and its effect on the breathe. This touches another chord of truth and I am thrilled by the possibility of including this modality in my healing programmes. I study the nature of sound and recognize its profound connection and relationship to planetary and human existence since the very beginning of time. I research the physical, physiological, psychological effects of sound, then experience its effects on myself. As I gain more awareness, I discover the health sustaining effects this has on my well-being and discover a deeper connection and participation in sound as a healer.

The breathing exercises, the sounds, the voice all become participatory agencies for growth, for health, for change, for healing. This doctor, together with many different care takers, tutors and partners throughout my life, have participated in my health and wellbeing.

Then a patient comes to see me seeking for someone who will understand her illness, a willing partner in health. All my life experience goes towards understanding, helping and supporting this person. I participate in her health and well-being. In the process, I also find myself participating in my own well-being.

The more I get to know myself in my fullness, – my body in its wise workings, the infinite complexity of my mind-soul nature, and the clarity of my objective higher self – the more interest, respect, trust, empathy, gratitude and compassion I have for myself. I discover a code of self-ethics that become the true path and the preconditions for getting to know myself.

It is this code of ethics that also allows me to enter into and forge a partnership with the patient seeking my help. I bring interest and unconditional respect for every aspect of her journey, maintain strict confidentiality and initially refrain from telling her what I think she should do. I must invite and listen to her story, accompany, support and mirror what she tells me, encourage her to use the power of her words, her memory, her imagination, her feelings and emotions, and even her body awareness so that I hear what lies behind her words and find for her the essence, the diagnosis, of what she is experiencing deep within her. She will affirm this if it is true for her. I have to trust that the patient has everything she needs for her life journey: the will to be well, the right timing, the right constitutional equipment, the inner guidance and intuition, the knowledge and life experience, the inner protection and someone within, her own higher presence who can make the right choices and take charge of her process.

I have become a team player in her unique life story.

As her physician, I can offer her a range of therapeutic options, the fruits of my life and medical experience, providing her with the best information and then encouraging her to make the best choices. These may be Western bio-medical interventions, natural or traditional medicines, nutritional advice, environmental and lifestyle changes, acupuncture, body based therapies, and many other options.

As her counsellor I leave her completely free and encourage her wishes and intentions to lighten up and become her guiding star to new health. I enable her to find her objective observer and witness who is best equipped to make the right choices. I accompany her on the journey to realizing her intention and thereby enhancing her health.

At all times I hold sacred her freedom to find her truth and to make the choices that are right for her.

When I find the deep care for myself as practitioner and for the patient or client who seeks my help, the new partnership emerges, one filled with truth, empathy, compassion, love, new insights and understanding, that leads to new intentions, resolutions and actions for both practitioner and patient.

Participatory Awareness for Transformational Healing (PATH) is an emerging form of integrative health practice that enhances health and well being through conscious and dynamically active partnerships. It has evolved through the integration of several rich sources that include Anthroposophical Integrative Medicine, Homeopathy, Functional Medicine, Mindfulness Medicine, therapeutic arts and crafts, dance and Movement Medicine, and Psychophonetics Counseling.