The prerequisite for any therapy is a model which explains and justifies it. Medicine applies a simple model. The organism
is a complex linear machine. Disease causes a malfunction of one or more of
its components. Therapy is designed
to repair the malfunction or eventually replace it.
Complex linear machine
This model ignores two important attributes of the organism: It operates optimally and repairs many malfunctions (diseases) by itself. Medicine is well aware of these qualities yet belittles their role in therapy. Which is highlighted in cancer. The tumor is caused by a genetic malfunction, and has to be therefore eradicated at all cost. In the future medicine hopes to replace the faulty cancer genes and so cure cancer. Here optimality, and self healing are not even considered. All along cancer progression, the organism is indolent, and the outcome depends only on the treatment. Cancer is perceived as an ongoing decay accompanied by the loss of optimality.
A new kind
The model underlying the "New kind of Medicine", is based on two premises:
1. The organism is non linear, extremely complex and its workings cannot be fully understood. The set of processes in the organism is called Wisdom of the Body (WOB)
2. The organism operates optimally in health and disease. Its optimality is controlled by WOB.
For all practical purposes WOB is a non linear black box, and therapy responds to its outgoing signals. The following image illustrates what is meant.
WOB has two meanings. It
is the set of all processes
in the body, and also their controller, hence its name: Wisdom of the Body. We shall be less concerned with how WOB controls
processes, since WOB is optimal and
we hardly comprehend its wisdom. Rather we intend to listen to WOB messages,
like dis-ease, which indicate when it needs assistance. We shall
distinguish between outgoing , and ingoing messages.
There are two outgoing signals:
1. Informing the mind when WOB requires assistance (Green arrow, dis-ease).
2. Messages to other WOB (Black arrow , shamanism)
There are four kinds of ingoing signals:
1. Direct messages from
the mind, which transmit its will to WOB.
2. The effect of the environment.
3. Messages from other minds reaching WOB indirectly (culture).
4. Direct messages from one WOB to another (shamanism).
Each message represented by a black arrow, modifies biophysical processes in WOB. For instance:
1. In order to raise my hand, my
mind transmits my will to WOB which executes
2. When it gets cold, environment induces WOB to shiver.
3. When one mind hears the other mind saying "I love you!" it translates this message and transmits it to WOB, which modifies some of its biophysical processes. Generally culture is a set of messages transmitted from mind to mind, forwarded to WOB for process modification.
4. Shamanism are messages from one WOB to another, and affect its processes.
WOB messages to the mind (green arrow)
As long as WOB succeeds controlling processes in the body it remains silent and does not send signals to the mind. When it lacks resources, like water, it sends to the mind a signal of thirst, and mind gets water. Mind serves as interface between WOB and the outer world, and supplies WOB needs. When WOB sends unpleasant messages, like pain, malaise and dis-ease mind calls the doctor. When WOB is silent it is healthy.
We may thus distinguish between two kinds of messages:
1. WOB demands fulfilled by the mind, like thirst or hunger.
2. WOB demands which require medical treatment.
There is no essential difference between the green and black arrows, since WOB messages to the mind actually modify its processes.
Mind is an interface between WOB and the outer world. Like the Greek God Janus, mind faces two directions. Inward it listens to WOB signals and satisfies its demands. Outward, it interprets the outer world and guides WOB to resources. Mind is the site of our will. Whatever we undertake starts as a will. At first our will is imagined, and we see it in our minds eye. The image is then transmitted to WOB, and executed.
When deciding to touch my nose, in a split second the image of touching my nose crosses my mind, and is transmitted to WOB for execution. This sequence of events is more obvious when undertaking new tasks, like when learning to play a piano. When I decide to hit the C key, I first imagine this action,, then look for it, transmit its image to WOB which drives my finger to it. Generally, imagination is the only channel by which mind communicates with WOB.
Occasionally WOB may disagree with my will. Suppose I decide to lift weights. Mind transmits my will to WOB, and after executing it WOB will respond with muscle ache, as if saying : "Stop it! I lack resources to support your will." The ache is a message that WOB needs assistance. It is a dis-ease initiated by the mind, or mind disease. You may fulfill WOB demand either by stopping weight lifting, which will cure the mind disease, or ignore its objection, and continue weight lifting. WOB will than grow new muscle fibers, and stop aching, whereupon your mind disease is cured.
Mind disease results from a conflict
between mind and WOB. We may distinguish
between two kinds of mind disease:
1. WOB demands are ignored for a while, until the conflict is settled and mind disease cured.
2. The conflict cannot be settled and WOB demands require medical treatment.
Many mind diseases are initiated by our society, and are transmitted from mind to WOB. Like homosexuality when WOB sends to the mind a signal to search for a male lover: In the (not so distant) past homosexuality was forbidden, initiating a conflict between mind and WOB, which was settled in two ways. Either WOB desire was channeled by the mind to a creative activity (sublimation), or the conflict turned into a mind disease called paranoia, which according to Freud, originated in an individual's repression of homosexual desire.
Today when homosexuality is regarded as normal love, it does not initiate a mind disease anymore, which illustrates the fact that many modern mind diseases can be cured by emancipating the society.
WOB and Gender.
Cancer of the mind
Cancer of the mind appears when cancer is diagnosed. A small and silent lump in the breast drives the woman to the doctor. Upon hearing the diagnosis she sinks into a profound misery. Biologically she is healthy since WOB is silent. Yet her mind transmits to WOB the prejudice of our society, which regards cancer as evil and deadly. Diagnosis initiates her cancer of the mind, which might be cured by emancipating our society.
An eye-catching hemangioma covers part of the face of a person. Since WOB is silent the patient might be healthy, yet he is not. He is bothered by a manifestation which the society regards as abnormal. He suffers from a mind disease, which requires medical treatment.
Following an accident a person broke her leg. The excruciating pain indicates that WOB is sick (WOB disease).
However WOB can handle this situation by itself. The pain message is directed
to the mind as if saying: "Go and lie down, and don't move your leg!". The mind yields
and the pain disappears. In the following weeks WOB will heal the fracture (without
medical assistance). Yet the bone may remain deformed leaving the patient in
a wheel chair. The person is miserable and suffers from a mind disease which
drives the mind to seek the help of a doctor. He breaks the bone (under anesthesia),
straightens its deformity, and places the broken extremity in a plaster cast. When the patient
starts walking her mind disease is cured.
Interim summary and the role of the doctor.
What medicine conceives as organic disease, is called here WOB disease. Mind disease includes among other psychosomatic and psychiatric diseases. Yet it is broader than that. Any WOB mind conflict is labeled as mind disease. A person with a WOB or mind disease, may handle it (cure it, resolve it) by himself. If not it is treated by a doctor. When confronting a WOB or mind disease, the doctor has to decide whether it requires treatment or might be handled by the patient. Whenever WOB and mind are silent the patient is healthy and may not require treatment.
Hitherto we have ignored an important dimension of health. We have not asked how healthy the person is. Which will be dealt with in the following chapter.
The next image illustrates the role of the doctor.
1. Modification of WOB processes by manipulating cultural messages.
2. Modification of WOB processes by manipulating shamanistic messages.
3. The supply of resources and raising tolerance
Actually, the supply of resources modifies processes, and may be regarded as a signal to WOB. Now the doctor’s task is to manipulate signals and raise tolerance..