Vitalism is the paradigm of healing that recognizes and respects an inner intelligence of the body to know what is needed at any given moment. Vitalistic care focuses on naturally supporting the body’s ability to be well. Vitalistic wellness care is where the practitioner and patient both honor this magnificent principle with trust and confidence.
Vitalistic care is the oldest form of health care dating back centuries. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, had this to say, “Humans are created to be healthy as long as they are whole: body, mind, spirit. People are characterized by self-healing properties that come from within and an innate healing force. Perfect health and harmony is the normal state for all life.”
Trust, confidence, expectation of well-being. This is the core of vitalistic care.
Today, parents are seeking vitalistic practitioners who are able to reconfirm their confidence and trust in the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Since there is a sore lack of vitalistic practitioners, parents are settling for providers that are at least respectful of their choice to approach health from this vitalistic paradigm.
So why is it so hard to find a pediatrician who practices from a true vitalistic model of care? It’s sort of like finding a power weight lifter who tries to coach you on yoga postures. Of course a power weight lifter is not trained to teach yoga nor is his body familiar with the postures of yoga. It is unrealistic and even unfair to consider he can just change his mode of training and practice and be able to teach body movements foreign to his knowledge and basic premise of training.
So too, it is unrealistic for us as parents to expect that a mechanistic practitioner steeped in the pharmaceutical mindset can understand, accept and embrace vitalism. Yes, your demands have initiated an attempt for mechanistic medicine to try and appear vitalistic; however, it is usually in appearance only. For example, the newborn’s check ups within the first year are called “wellness visits.” This would imply an experience with a provider who naturally supports health and well-being. We know, however, that this visit includes numerous mechanistic and invasive procedures including the administration of drugs. To these providers, wellness comes from a completely different premise. When parents are in these offices questioning the use of these procedures and drugs, this visit frequently turns into a confrontational duel interlaced with intimidation and fear tactics. We know these emotions are hardly conducive to true, vitalistic wellness. Neither are the actual procedures. In order to avoid these frustrating encounters marinated with guilt and fear, we need to go elsewhere.
The primary reason my husband and I became doctors of chiropractic was because we resonated with its vitalistic philosophy, its confidence in the body’s ability to naturally heal and its profound respect for our innate wisdom and healing force. We have always offered and pursued care consistent with this philosophy. From this perspective of trust, confidence, expectation of well-being we have been privileged to witness wholeness: body, mind and spirit.
Perhaps this is why the vitalistic practices of doctors of chiropractic, naturopaths, homeopaths, etc. are filled with families seeking the wellness lifestyle. The realization to honor and respect the body’s wisdom in healing has become the way we as parents are approaching health care. Our careful selection will make a tremendous difference in our families’ well-being. Despite the limited availability of vitalistic practitioners and yes, even the meager insurance coverage offered for this kind of care, we are moving outside of the existing, unsupportive model of health care and insisting on true wellness for our families. Our perseverance and commitment is initiating evolution.
Parents, we are living in exciting times. We are creating the shift towards vitalism and until the system catches up (this may be decades) it is up to us to hold true to our convictions and actively seek providers who are also consistent with our principles. The purpose of Pathways is to provide information from this vitalistic perspective so we can make sound choices for our families’ well-being. Welcome to the raising of the consciousness.
Jeanne Ohm, DC
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #13.