Thursday, March 25, 2010

Got a cold?

A friend was feeling down about how often her young child has been sick recently. I wrote some thoughts on it to her, and now I'm posting them here.

I hope they get you thinking.
Conventional thinking is "colds are an enemy and must be stopped!" They're the problem. We combat them with antibiotic drugs, hand washing, coughing in to our elbows, etc.

A common progressive view is that it's really good practice for her immune system. The cold challenges you and you get better at fighting off future colds. "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." They're a necessary evil.

Another common progressive view is that you only get sick when you haven't been taking care of yourself. If you just get enough rest, good nutrition, avoid sugar, avoid stress, etc., your body will be strong enough to fight off a cold. If you get sick, it's because you're weak. They're a symptom. (Or a punishment, if you're in to that sort of thinking.)

Consider the possibility that being sick is beneficial right now. That the body invites the sickness in to do something important. Something it can't do itself. Suppose you're tired but don't let yourself sleep. So, you get sick. Then you sleep. See? It worked!

Or you need to be coddled and cared for a little extra. You get sick. People around you give you a little extra care. See, it worked again!

Or you have some toxins in your body that you can't clear for some reason. But chest cold triggers a lot of mucus in your lungs, which your body fills with toxins and then coughs out. Tada, it worked! Thank you cold!

I don't mean that you should try to get sick by eating badly, increasing your stress, or avoiding sleep. Do take good care of yourself; it feels good to do so! But when the sickness does come, give it a chance to work. Maybe it's doing something really good for you. Rest, eat chicken soup, and let people take care of you.

Mainstream: Colds are the problem.
Naturopath: Colds are a symptom.
My radical view: Colds are a cure.

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