I would like to include a post from my sister-in-law's blog about their approach to health. It is a part of their family's manifesto! Scott and I wholeheartedly agree and, since it is worded so well, would like to share it as what we believe as well. You can check out more here
Alright, I have to start this one off with a longish quote. I tried to synopsize it but this is written so succinctly that I can't do better.
"The whole idea of man versus nature can be traced back to the origins of western medicine more than 2000 years ago. There are two competing health philosophies. Is each individual governed by a 'vital force' that, through unique reactions to external stimuli, is capable of participating in the healing process, as empiricists, including Hippocrates, have maintained? Or are all human organisms simply a series of complex chemical reactions governed by the laws of physics, chemistry, and mechanics, as rationalists, including Louis Pasteur, have maintained?
Empiricists accept the existence of viruses and bacteria as part of nature and illness as part of the life process. They consider fevers, diarrhea and runny noses good, not bad, and do not suppress them with chemically based drugs that might interfere with the body's natural ability to harness the immune system to participate in the healing process. They stress that each individual is unique and that individualized therapeutic techniques can stimulate the body to restore health....
Rationalists believe that all living organisms are more similar to one another than they are different and that a common, universal approach to public health will attain individual health. Viewing symptoms of illness as a sign that a foreign virus or bacteria has invaded the body, they create therapies such as drugs and vaccines to destroy the foreign invader...." (Barbara Loe Fisher)
We are not just physical beings. We are also mental and spiritual beings. These three things are what make us a whole person. They lean on each other and affect each other. We are made in the image of our Creator, the triune God. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit and all 3 parts are 1 God. So, if we are having a health probelm, we have to consider our whole self - all three parts. All of them are equally important. Health can have as much to do with surroundings and emotional states as it does with nutrition and physical manifestations of symptoms. Our approach to healing involves looking at all of these aspects. Everything is connected.
Not all of life can be measured or completely understood and in trying to do this, modern medicine has come to see the body as fragmented. The medicine that is practiced does not treat the 'whole' body. So here we are faced with two belief systems. We can choose man's path, which includes treating the symptoms and ignoring the rhythms of the natural world or we can believe that God has created us to live in harmony with nature. We feel like we are taking chances in relying of man's chemicals and fragmented view. Our "faith stands not in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." (1 Cor.2:5)
This is how we believe that God has planned for us to live. Our bodies are awesome and sensitive and created to live in this world. We want our children to learn from birth how to take care of themselves - how to eat well, how to live in tune with nature and how to be positive in a negative world. We are not fanatics about health. We want to live simply and in harmony with nature, not bombarding our bodies with unhealthy preservatives and chemicals; but we are not perfect and we will not escape illness. Constantly fighting and avoiding germs, microbes, viruses, etc. would just bring stress and fear. "Life experienced through the fear of illness and death is not life at all but a grand avoidance." (Aviva Jill Romm)
We are empiricists (I guess - if we have to have a label). When the kids get a fever, I make them comfortable and support their immune system with herbs and let the fever work. When they get diarrhea, I encourage them that their body is working right and cleaning something out and I support them with fluids. When they get a runny nose I let them run - the body knows that it needs to get the germs out of the lungs so it makes more mucus and sends it out! We don't vaccinate - but more on that later. We use prayer, acupuncture, chiropractic, herbs, oils and nutrition - all with great results. This is something that I have prayed about and researched enough to know that I know that I can trust God and His plan for me and my family and that His creation is beneficial to me.