The importance of building a chronological timeline of health events.
Illness and disease do not appear overnight. They develop over time. Yet our health care system is not set up to accommodate this obvious fact. We pool together a pattern of symptoms, put a name on it, and call it a disease. Then, a one-size fits-all protocol is applied. When you come in with breathing problems and get a diagnosis of asthma, you get a prescription for an inhaler to help you breathe better. But what about the answers to questions “Why did I develop asthma?” or “What do I do to reduce my need for the medication?” It is the equivalent of focusing on and treating the exhaust pipe when your car begins spewing black smoke. Of course we want to feel better and need our symptoms addressed. But the bigger picture – the accumulation of all the small events that have occurred – facilitates the understanding of where the disease has come from.
Our symptoms and our current state of health are an accumulation of actions, events, and environmental influences that have taken place over the course of our entire lives. Events in our distant past, even our childhood years, may provide clues to solving the puzzle and identifying the root cause. Even events that occurred at or before birth, influenced by your mother’s health years before you were born, may play a role. Scientists are discovering that our genes and the way they are expressed are influenced by what our ancestors may have experienced several generations ago. In fact, this discovery has spawned a whole new scientific discipline – epigenetics – to understand how our nutrition, lifestyle, environment, and events in our daily life influence gene expression. Imagine that somehow last winter your small backyard garden had a spill of 10 gallons of gasoline, and you didn’t know about it. In the spring your seedlings do not take root and grow, leaving you wondering “What’s wrong with these seedlings?” That’s why a “Big Picture” history is so important.
Documenting the actions, events, and environmental influences that have occurred in your life allows for the construction of meaning and a “Big Picture” view of how your body got to where it is today. This opens up a conversation between you and your practitioner.MyTimelineTM helps you and your practitioner work together, evaluate holistically, look for patterns, and find correlations/triggers/mediators. Each of us has a unique history that accumulates over time and holds the clues that can contribute significantly to creating a personalized plan to get you back to the health you want.