Do you get heebie-jeebies from 100% dark cocoa? Grossed out by sewage-lips from Buckley’s cough syrup? Cross-eyed from steaming showers? These things might not feel good. But are they healthy?
I believe the best gauge of health is sickness. History’s healers surely studied health while sick. Why? Sore tummies make us sensitive to foods, heat, ointments, emotions, anything. For instance, gossip and cusses rumble guts while humor and kindness settle bellies.
I would know. I get sick a lot.
So, let’s probe whether stuff that feels bad truly heals—stinky medicines, icy baths, and chemo.
First, do stinky medicines make you well? I say no. When I shopped Chinese medicines, staff members didn’t speak English. And I couldn’t read the Chinese labels. So, I’d sniff bottles for sweet smells. Sweetness signals cravings, right? So, I’d stock up on nose-bonbons: PMS tea, kidney meds, and eyeball pills. Now I take cod liver oil only when it smells like fillet-of-cotton-candy. Why swallow what you can’t stomach?
Second, do icy baths make you well? I say yes. Soap commercials surely use cold showers. After all, nothing refreshes like blasts of ice. Ice lowers inflammation, too. And cryogenics keep corpses from decay. On the flipside, hot water kills bacteria. Might hot water harm you?
But a barista likens cold showers to dead babies. Babies left outdoors during the winter died, she says. So, she won’t hop in cold showers. But she will tug her tuque when spotted puffing Player’s Light.
Lastly, does chemo heal? Chemo would kill me. The Dumbo the Elephant Stampede ride makes me hurl. Plus, I barely survive days deprived bananas. Instead of chemo, I’d opt to nip cancer with green tea, berries, and greens. But green tea makes me groggy.
Unlike me, author David Asprey shares research, not opinion, on healing tricks in his book Head Strong.
- First, fast for health: “Fasting … helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. Fasting eliminates cellular waste” (p. 102).
- Specifically, try intermittent fasting: “You eat all of your food within a specific window of time (six or eight hours) and fast the rest of the day (sixteen to eighteen hours). … Most intermittent fasting protocols require you to skip breakfast and not eat lunch until after two p.m.” (p. 103).
- Second, use red lighting for health: “Exposure to natural light is essential for proper brain function” (p. 164).
- Red light glows often in natural light: “At sunrise, [the sun] has a reddish pink glow. … As the afternoon bleeds into the evening, it transitions back to beautiful shades or orange and red” (p. 163).
- So, let red light nourish your body’s rhythm: “We have evolved to live in accordance with this rhythm [of natural light]– [through] our circadian rhythm” (p. 163).
- How can you soak yourself in red light? “Invest in some simple LED red lights … switch to halogen lights if possible, and get some quality outdoor light exposure throughout the day” (p. 164).
- Lastly, you’ll love cold showers – once the shock settles: “gradually increase your exposure to cold over time. Start off by simply placing your face in cold water for a few minutes” (p. 174).
- How should you use cold therapy? “Applying ice to sore muscles is a form of cold therapy. So is finishing your shower with thirty seconds of cold water.” (p. 172).
- And what are the benefits of cold therapy? “It reduces inflammation … and … [kills] weak and damaged cells … and makes room for new, healthy ones” (p. 172).
- Other benefits of cold showers? Cold therapy “helps to relieve pain and signals your body to produce more antioxidants” (p. 173). And antioxidants prevent cancer.
- Cold therapy also helps you “relax more quickly after experiencing a moment of stress … and have more energy” (p. 173).
I splash, smiling, in cold showers and eyeball red lamps lighting store displays. But I fight the fast.
So, do only feel-goods heal? Maybe not. But after any fast, both cod liver oil and Buckley’s smell like fillet-of-cotton-candy.