Her husband for the past six months had become a mental and physical wreck. He experienced chronic insomnia, fatigue, anxiety and panic attacks. No longer exercising, he mostly complained. Their sex life had become a distant memory. His food choices were standard American diet of carbohydrates, fast food, pizza and ice cream.
Like a lemming falling off the cliff, the prognostication was dismal.
After his examination, the wife met with his doctor she had known for 10 years and admired for his alternative and Integrative approaches for health prevention and focus on lifestyle choices.
“So,” the wife said as she sat on the couch across from the physician, “what is wrong with my husband?”
The doctor, reputed for his knowledge of holistic living, replied: “His condition is chronic stress. The bad news is he won’t last much longer doing the same things the same way expecting different results.
“The good news is everything is reversible with lifestyle change.”
The wife paused, considering what he had told her, then asked: “So what can I do to help?”
The doctor smiled knowingly. Now 72-years-young, he practiced what he preached. Youthful and vital, he practiced martial arts, walked rigorously daily, and body surfed.
“Here’s what you can do,” he said. “If you follow this very specific and demanding regimen, your husband should be good as new in six months to a year.”
“First, since he has difficultly sleeping, give him a massage at bedtime. This will produce ‘feely good’ endorphins that is essentially the body’s morphine. Soon he’ll be sleeping like a baby.
“Next,” the doctor coached, “since he is in chronic stress syndrome, relieve him of all household duties like book keeping and anything relating to finances.”
The wife blanched. “Anything else, like an anti-depressant medication?” she asked.
No, the doctor responded. “That would be counter-productive. We need to get him on his proper MEDS; that being the acronym for ‘meditation, exercise, diet and sleep.”
Aware the wife had practiced formal meditation and mindfulness for many years, he then urged that on awakening, she should first “cuddle and snuggle” to transition from sleep to alertness in a loving manner. Then include her husband in the daily meditation and tai chi/qigong practice.
Tai chi and qigong, he reiterated, is a 5,000 year old healthcare system to remove blocks, congestion, obstruction and pain from both the mental and physical body.
The wife knew he was preaching to the choir. She credited her daily practices with her longevity and excellent health. But she knew he was special and his advice priceless.
“Is there anything else,?” starting to feel overwhelmed with this largesse of responsibility, especially dealing with a stubborn and reluctant to change husband.
Still smiling, the doctor then stressed the importance of a vegan diet with enzyme supplementation. And a diet primarily sugar and dairy free. Then he leaned back in his recliner waiting for the wife’s response.
In summary, the wife said, “I need to be a co-enabler in optimal health. This means relieving him of all stressful responsibilities, catering constantly to restore his self-confidence, massage, exercise and entertain him for the next six months to a year and then he will be fully recovered.”
The doctor stood. “I have a patient waiting,” he said politely. “Good luck and be well!”
On the way driving home the husband finally asked the question lingering on his mind since his wife had gone into the doctor’s conference room for an hour.
“And,” he said, “what did the doctor say?”
“Honey,” the wife responded sadly shaking her head, “you don’t have much longer.”
This story is all too very familiar and recounted many times over day after day throughout the world. And that is why my one-week emphasis on stress reduction along with the Hippocrates protocols for vital and restorative living is being offered twice annually.
Everything the doctor in the above story discussed is part and parcel of this 20-hour intensive training in stress reduction and mindfulness.
See you in October at Hippocrates!
– Edwin Riley