Therapeutic Bodywork, be it deep massage, shiatsu, reiki, or others, is all part of a system that sees health as a product of balance, taking care of yourself, listening to your body, and building your immune system. A natural or integrative approach to health which more readily embraces bodywork is based on supplying the body with what it needs to stay healthy, to ward off disease, and to be strong in the face of environmental assaults like viruses and toxins. The body, even if it does get sick, even with maladies as serious as cancer, has the ability to fight off disease if it has what it needs.
Right now, we are culturally immersed in questions about viruses and the coronavirus in particular. We are no longer daily hearing about how to avoid getting cancer, heart disease, or overcoming obesity, even though these, and other diseases like lung disease, Alzheimer’s, pneumonia, and suicide are each causing far more deaths than the coronavirus. It appears that coronavirus is the new, and shiny disease de jour.
So, let’s look at the coronavirus through the lens of both traditional medicine and integrative medicine. To start, both schools of thought generally agree that a virus is a microscopic organism that can infect a host and cause unpleasant symptoms and even death. Where these two schools of thought diverge is in their approach to dealing with it. Neither is right or wrong and both have efficacy. Here is how they stack up.
Traditional or Allopathic medicine thinks like this: We are waging a war against a foreign enemy. We must not let it
invade our bodies. We must stay inside and keep away from it, kill it on every
surface, and filter our breathing through a mask. We need to keep at a distance
from other people in case they are carriers and get vaccinated to lower our
chances of it being deadly. Here, we only get bodywork when we are in pain as a stop-gap measure to "getting back to work."
Alternative, Integrative, or Natural Medicine thinks like this: Viruses are naturally occurring in the environment. People get them, people get over them, and we will constantly be exposed to them throughout our lives. We need to build strong immune systems to guard against sickness. We need good food, clean water, exercise, social contact, low amounts of toxins, sunlight, and fresh air. Take vitamin C and get in the sun. De-stress, get bodywork, spend time in nature and your body will naturally reject the virus if exposed. Here, we get regular bodywork as a "preventive" measure to boost our immune systems along with our other health-promoting good habits.
The reason that these two systems are so at odds is because
one is based on improving the immune system and the other on fighting it by
unnatural and artificial means that in essence reduce the effectiveness of the
Allopathic Approach: We stay inside where the air quality is 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside which lowers our immune system. We sanitize every surface with harsh chemicals that also lower our immune systems. We breathe through a mask and re-breathe our own CO2 which lowers our immune system. We keep at a distance from other people, creating a lack of social and physical contact that further lowers our immune system. We get vaccinated to lower our chances of dying from a virus, but of course the chemicals in the vaccine can injure or kill us first.
Integrative Approach - Time spent in the pleasurable pursuit of good health: The "terrain" approach promoted by integrative, natural and functional medical professionals promotes the idea that the body as a healthy organism can defend itself, heal itself and recover fully from any hostile attack. The reason people choose an integrative approach is because they do not want to spend their life being afraid and fighting for their health. They want to spend their time in pleasurable pursuit of good health. Many find fighting to avoid a virus stressful and stress further lowers the immune system.Whatever system fits best for you, getting bodywork can be a great support for stress reduction and better health. Both allopathic and natural medicine approaches can support improving your immune system if you are healthy... and bodywork is exactly the partner you are looking for to keep you on track!