We live in a culture where we want to be seen as individuals in how we dress, in our desires and beliefs, and in our self-expression. We want unique families, tv shows, and ice-cream flavors, and we want to be guaranteed a wide variety of choices.

But when it comes to our health, we have a one-size-fits-all approach.

And we’d like our one-size-fits-all model in a pill form that treats our symptoms immediately.

It’s a sexy idea that a simple pill could solve our problems without much effort on our end. Get a headache, take a pain pill, and the headache is gone. Symptom gone, problem solved, right?

Our pill-popping is a true reflection of how our culture values convenience.

This is the medical culture most of us in the Western world were raised in: if you feel bad it means you have a problem, and a pill makes that problem go away.

Most of us grow up managing our health this way–colds, flu, joint pain, headaches, asthma, menstrual cramping, depression–all managed by pills.

Many of us find that one day the pill stops working, so we try increasing the dosage. This only works for a short while, so then we might search for a new kind of pill.  That doesn’t work either, so now we start taking multiple pills (perhaps one to counteract the side effects of the last one). When that doesn’t work, we try taking a “natural” pill. That doesn’t work either, so we continue searching for the “right” pill.

When no “right” pill can be found, we start feeling very frustrated because we’ve run out of solutions.

We start thinking that it’s our lot in life to be tired and to not feel good. Or maybe it’s all genetics. Or maybe our symptoms will just clear up on their own. We don’t know another way because this is the way that has worked for years. Or it’s all we’ve seen, and no one ever initiated a real discussion of why we needed all these pills in the first place.

We have been trained to see symptoms as the problem, but they are actually the result of the real problem, and your body’s way of communicating a need for attention–like the “check engine” light going off on the dashboard.

Although you could just take out the lightbulb, you know the light itself isn’t the problem, and that approach would mean ignoring an underlying issue.

It’s simple with cars, but we have an entirely different philosophy when it comes to our bodies. We make an enemy out of our symptoms and ignore underlying issues. This philosophy assumes that our symptoms are mistakes or blunders in our physiology.

But here’s what no one ever told you: your body is an amazing healing machine. It responds acutely to your environment and all of the inputs you choose.

Symptoms are a reflection of an imbalance, and often your body’s attempt to heal–not the problem itself.

When the systems in your body begin to break down, it’s rarely one single problem that is to blame. Normally there are multiple breakdowns that are happening at once to create a symptom.

For example, if your stress hormone response system has gone haywire, you could be experiencing weight gain, insomnia, depression, constipation, and fatigue. There are a lot of systems you need to support in order to allow your hormones to find their balance again: this includes your gut, nervous system, and liver since they all play a crucial part in the balancing of your hormones and endocrine system.

Just focusing on the hormones and their symptoms alone will not solve the problem. No amount of birth control pills or thyroid medication can force balance into a stressed out hormonal system. You need to nurture all the supporting players that allow hormones to find their balance again. And there is no pill for that.

If you want your symptoms to go away, you are going to have to dive deep and attempt to figure out what the real problem is, and what the body is attempting to balance or repair.

The one-pill-fits-all solution isn’t ever going to be a lasting solution to your health problems. If it were, the United States would be one of the healthiest countries in the world, instead of one of the sickest.

We are obsessed with quick fixes, and it shows.

We want convenient solutions to inconvenient problems that are the result of a lifestyle of convenience.

We have been conditioned to go to the doctor who does 90% of the work, and we do maybe 10% of the work in the follow through. But the reverse is a better description: as clients, we have to do the bulk of the work in nourishing and healing our bodies, while the doctor guides us in that work.

If we want real, lasting health, we have to give up the popular convenience paradigms that so many of us were taught and start investing in our health and wellness with time, effort, and a new approach.

We have to start listening to, understanding, respecting, and supporting our physiology rather than fighting it.

We have to recognize that we are all put together a little differently.

Although we’re all human beings and have roughly the same bodily features and functions, we actually have more physiological uniqueness than we are led to believe.

There’s no pill out there that promotes health. The power to nurture health actually lies in your hands, if you’re willing to do the work.