Most of the things that afflict us, we get over, without doing anything at all. And, whatever we’re doing at the time, is going to get the credit. This statement was spoken by Dr. Robert Park, author of Voodoo Science. He was talking about alternative medicine, but the statement can be applied eating to feel better or cure ailments with equal validity. If you think changing your diet made you feel better, you may be quite mistaken.
I recently have been having something I call ‘restless chest’ at night. It’s like restless legs except this feeling is in my torso and chest. It absolutely disrupts my rest and makes me miserable at night. Now, some people say restless legs or restless anything does not exist. Well, all I know is that some weird and hard to explain sensation is occurring and it is similar to a weird sensation that has occurred in my legs, and this sensation is similar to the sensation that people call restless legs.
I’ve tried many things to stop this feeling. Is it magnesium? Is it alcohol? I do like a whiskey before bed. Or is it iron? Recently I tried a daily iron supplement. It seems to have helped! I haven’t been experiencing the problem lately. Am I cured?
Well, remember the statement I quoted above. Most of our minor ailments and complaints will get better. And, even if they are not completely gone, they will follow a pattern. They get a little better or reside, only to come back. Like allergies, things ‘act up’ at times only to go into a sort of remission for a while.
So, the truth is, I have no idea if the iron supplement helped my ‘restless chest.’ It may well be that it just went away on its own. Now, if I stop taking iron, which I have, and it resumes, I may have a little more data, but even then I can’t be one-hundred percent sure.
If you have some minor gastrointestinal complaints and you eliminate gluten from your diet, how will you react if your stomach aches stop occurring? That gluten is the enemy (even though you don’t have celiac disease) and that you need to lead a gluten-free lifestyle? Who would blame you?
But not only do these problems go away on their own, or follow a pattern, the way we react to them follows a pattern. We often say we are in ‘chronic pain.’ In reality, even those with chronic pain conditions are not in constant pain. Their pain tends to come to a peak at certain times only to ebb or even completely vanish for some period of time before resuming.
Now, if you are having stomach issues, when are you most likely to make a major dietary change to try to fix your stomach? When the symptoms are at their worst and the pain is at its peak. Now, when will these issues likely ebb or even vanish? Right after the peak. This is a typical pattern. Things get worse before they get better, at least for a while.
So, was it the gluten? Or, did you simply choose to eliminate gluten just when you were about to experience a diminishment of symptoms for whatever reason?
I’m going to make a bold statement. Most of the people who claim that all their ailment went away right after eliminating gluten will, at some point, experience a resumption of those symptoms. OR, they will slowly resume consuming gluten again without even realizing it (because they have no symptoms) and the symptoms will never resume.
They will never subsequently announce that they were wrong about gluten. They will have forgotten all about it and moved on to another dietary craze or, perhaps, taken up painting.
You can apply these statements to any self-chosen intervention meant to help with minor ailments or health complaints. We tend to assume that when one thing happens after another thing that the first thing caused the second thing. These mistaken causal inferences are often incorrect. They are especially fallacious in regards to our self-care.
Millions of people go to their chiropractor every time their back acts up. When do they go? When their back pain is at its worse. Perhaps the chiropractor helps, but then again, your back pain comes back. If your back pain goes away and comes back anyway, perhaps you would be justified in skipping the chiropractor to see if that same pattern holds! This is not to say that you should have to suffer back problems the rest of your life, only that you may be spending a lot of money on something that works no better than doing nothing.
I’ve written a number of other articles to help further explain the concepts I’ve presented here: