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It Takes a Community…

Moving towards a community based model of health care

Three years into my journey as a Naturopath I keep questioning what models for health care are most healing, and how healing is defined.

My personal experience with healing outside of Medicare is marked by a pivotal moment at age 12. Post knee surgery and facing a slow recovery, my initial team consisted of a surgeon, physiotherapist and my mother. Two weeks out and many hours of physiotherapy later, things looked worse —I was unable to move my leg unassisted.

My surgeon and physiotherapist believed it was unlikely I would walk. In fear, my mother switched from cajoling to argumentative. All the while I was terrified and in pain.

At the time, my aunt Joyce was visiting and also on crutches for a sprained ankle. She sat with me most evenings and listened to my fears. One night she held my hand and gently said that together we would get me walking again. Using encouragement, breath and visualization techniques, her promise held true.

It’s 2013 and medicare is drastically being cut, fewer jobs offer benefits, and time with family and friends is often spent over social media. Many live in isolation, without supportive or extended family and community to hold us deeply in times of physical, mental, and emotional vulnerability.Looking back I was fortunate. I had someone who could find a key to help me tap into my own belief in my ability to heal. More and more I hear the call for something other than band-aids that mask symptoms, or self-care models which do not sustain the most depleted bodies and spirits. There is a deep longing for healing that helps us tap into our individual, communal and societal belief in our ability to heal.

What is exciting to see is this call for healing change is a growing movement. Health practitioners, elders, young people, communities and individuals are joining together to pave a way for societal shift. In Canada and the U.S., groups such as the Healing Together, Health for AllCanadian Doctors for Refugee Care, are gathering to discuss ways to create transformative change. Locally, networks of community acupuncture, community health clinics, food co-ops, community gardens, and PWYC yoga are on the rise and need support to remain viable. Coupled with this recognition for sustainability is the awareness that each healing experience is unique with its own set of needs. As such, changeable and flexible models that allow each of us to connect with care that brings us health, is now at the forefront of this discussion.

As I grow into healing practices it’s heartening to see the questioning and mobilization of individuals to create and adopt new healing models. Here’s to continued dialogue, change and action.

Photo: Jiselle Griffith

 

Dr.Jiselle Griffith N.D.,
Naturopathic Doctor

 

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