My personal experiences and my family have definitely shaped my ideas of health and illness. My dad is a health food nut who constantly watches his sodium intake and cholesterol while my mom lost 40 pounds and has kept it off for over 4 years now. It’s easy for me to say that I think being healthy encompasses a lot of different aspects of life including physical, emotional, and some odd things like your organizational and social skills. Although I have high standards of being healthy I don’t think anyone can lose their health entirely, even if they are fighting an illness. I do however have some personal experiences that have probably made me bias to some of the conditions listed in the illness activity. On that note, I do not consider many things an illness. I definitely follow a more holistic approach to medicine and strongly believe in healing as a whole versus medication sedation.

Migraines are one of those conditions that I am on the fence about. I am not one to take medication for headaches or minor aches and pains or anything really, but I have never experienced a migraine. I have witnessed my mother’s migraines knock her off her feet though, and she is one tough cookie. I understand having to sleep off the pain and taking medications, but I would not classify migraines as an illness. I actually don’t think I would classify chronic migraines as an illness either. I firmly believe headaches can be treated with sleep, water, and darkness so why couldn’t a migraine?

Another condition listed was anxiety. I also think anxiety is a tough one to figure out but from personal experience, I would not call it an illness. Considering my mother is a physician, and a psychiatrist at that, I have been diagnosed/analyzed my whole life! It wasn’t until sophomore year of college that I totally believed her that I had anxiety. Once I “accepted” it, it was like the clouds had moved and the sun was shining again. A lot more things made sense in my life and I understood why certain things were happening. I soon learned how to control aspects of my anxiety through exercise, certain foods, and even learned what set off my anxiety the most and how to prepare for it. Things are manageable without medications in my eyes, including old age, which was also mentioned in the illness activity. Ill save that for a different week since I could definitely go on for days and days about elderly age and dementia treatment plans.

I usually get a lot of negative feedback for my views so I should include that I do believe there are certain conditions such as cancer and HIV that need to be controlled with medications along with other aspects of health such as diet and exercise. I just strongly believe there is much more to health than medication and hope that future physicians will also be willing to explore these areas of medicine as our society and culture also slowly lean towards a healthier lifestyle.



This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Lindsey Green says:

    I actually took a class last semester that talked about traditional Chinese healing on various parts of the body, and headaches and migraines were one of them. They have treatments regarding internal and external influences on headaches and migraines. To treat migraines caused by internal influences a traditional Chinese remedy is Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, which contains two types of herbs. Many treatments used by traditional Chinese healers involve the use of herbs and natural substances. Herbs are used to balance the body with its products and has been used for thousands of years.
    For external influences on headaches and migraines acupuncture is used a lot. This type of treatment can relieve pain within minutes. Different types of needles are used for different types of pain as well. Also, depending on where your pain is located/ what type of pain you are having points are selected especially for the needle to enter the skin in locations such as the back of the head, the temples, or the forehead. After the treatment has taken place it is important to also change your diet or atmosphere. Being in a tense society tends to lead into acquiring continuous migraines and headaches. Traditional Chinese medicine focuses on the well being of the individual in the most natural way.

    “How to Treat Headaches with Traditional Chinese Medicine”. Accessed July 5, 2014.

    “Migraine Headache and Traditional Chinese Medicine”. Accessed July 6, 2014.

  2. Ashley Lathrop says:

    I use to suffer from migraines and my brother still does. When I was younger, I did take medication and so did my brother; however, it never really worked. I do not suffer from migraines anymore unless I am dehydrated and/or have been out in the sun all day. My brother unfortunately does suffer. We now are more holistic in our approach now. My brother uses THC oils behind his ears when he feels a migraine coming on. He also has changed his diet and does not suffer nearly as much as he used to.

    When researching how different cultures deal with and manage migraines I first looked at the Native American culture. Native Americans use natural healing practices for their ailments. According to an article by Liz Serfiek, acupuncture is used to treat ailments like migraines. It is also said in the article that, “acupuncture is considered mainstream in China” (Serfiek). Native Americans believe that you become ill when nature is out of balance. They also believe that nature has all that we need. In order to cure ailments and diseases, one needs to just turn to nature. I believe in holistic healing but I don’t think our modern society does it wholeheartedly. I think we can take bits and pieces of it but maybe don’t believe in it as the Native Americans do. To Native Americans, nature is their healer, and their faith is centered on nature taking care of them.


    Liz Serfiek, “Remedies from Native American Cultures,” Manataka American Indian Council, accessed July 4, 2014, http://www.manataka.org/page1859.html.

  3. startash says:

    Starting a few months ago, I started experiencing migraines as well. I didn’t really think of it as an illness since it was so easily fixed with some Excedrin, lots of water, and rest and after a little research I found out that migraines can be one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency and started taking a magnesium supplement, which seems like it has helped. I haven’t had a migraine since I started taking it. My dad used to suffer from chronic migraines every day after work for about a year but they passed on their own, which makes me think that migraines aren’t necessarily an illness but just a condition that happens from time to time and generally fixes itself.

    The Sakhalin Ainu people of Japan have different categories of migraines, such as “bear headaches” that resemble the footsteps of bears and ” deer headaches” that resemble the running hooves of deer, and so on. These are definitely not the same as the western idea of pain being on a sliding scale, generally from 1-10.

    Moore Free, Mary. “Cross-cultural conceptions of pain and pain control.” . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1276504/ (accessed July 7, 2014).

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