While working on the 12 Root Cause Medicine Principles, I realized that just learning these principles is not enough.
Why? Because improving one’s health is an ongoing process that requires applying a particular set of personal attitudes along the way.
I summarized these attitudes as the 12 Root Cause Medicine Attitudes that you’ll find below. They form a natural complement to the 12 RCM Principles.
Ready to dive in? Here they are:
1. Make Health Your No. 1 Priority
Everything in your life ultimately depends on it.
Health, and your long-term health in particular, is the most important asset you have. It’s more important than your job, your career, your money, your achievements, your ability to travel or visit restaurants, or anything else.
If you disagree, ask yourself if you could do or enjoy any of the above if you were severely ill.
Also, if you think your family is more important than your health, imagine how your family would feel if you were suffering from a serious disease. Wouldn’t they be far better off if you were healthy?
Everything in your life, including your life itself, ultimately depends on your health, so make it your No. 1 priority. In practice, it means mainly two things.
First, start gradually removing root causes of illness from your life and, equally gradually, start introducing root causes of health into your daily routine. Don’t obsess about it, but be consistent.
Second, never put your health at risk in exchange for other benefits, particularly when you’re pushed into it by someone else. If you made that mistake, don’t repeat it.
2. Trust Your Body
It’s the most sophisticated system you’ll ever have.
Your body is the result of billions of years of evolution, from single-cell organisms up to the ultimate sophistication that the human species represents. All lessons learned during those billions of years of evolution are coded into your body.
All that wisdom is available to you for free – you just need to take care of your body and trust it, and your body will take care of you.
Trusting your body means
- Believing and respecting its signals, as well as
- Having confidence in its self-protecting and self-healing ability.
What doctors see as signs and symptoms of a disease is your body’s way of telling you that you need to address some root causes of illness and health.
By ignoring those signals or by muting them long-term with pharmaceuticals, you’re not showing any trust to your body.
Even more importantly, by not addressing the underlying issues, you’re letting them silently harm your body further, which will only worsen your condition in the long run.
3. Have an Open Mind
Be willing to consider new ideas, perspectives and concepts, even if they challenge your current understanding.
We all have certain beliefs and ideas about the world around us, and that’s perfectly fine. What’s not so fine is viewing those beliefs and ideas as a fundamental part of our identity, and perceiving anything that challenges them as a threat to ourselves.
Instead, we should always be open or at least not opposed to new ideas, perspectives and concepts.
This is especially the case in healthcare, where current approaches are clearly not working, as evidenced by the continually growing number of chronic diseases.
Having an open mind also includes an open attitude toward minority opinions. Many great ideas that we now revere were initially ridiculed by the majority. Keep that in mind.
In addition, we live in an era when the truth is no longer discovered, but instead manufactured by those in power, whether financial or political, and dissenting opinions are silenced.
Sadly, this is also the case in medicine, where “scientific consensus” is managed mainly by pharmaceutical companies and therefore has a very strong tendency to support their interests.
4. Don’t Make Decisions Based on Fear
Common sense works much better.
Fear is helpful in situations when we’re facing an imminent threat or when the threat is already happening, such as being attacked by an animal.
Time is of the essence in these situations, so under fear, the brain stops thinking (because that’s too time-consuming!) and switches to automatic reactions that proved their life-saving potential during evolution, such as fight, flight, or freeze.
In all other situations, when the threat is not imminent or not even real, fear is a very counterproductive emotion that usually leads to very bad decisions one cannot take back.
Creating or exaggerating a threat and offering a “solution” is a very common manipulation and sales technique. Because fear switches off rational thinking, people in fear are willing to accept even the most illogical and harmful solutions – so long as they believe it’ll prevent the threat they fear. Don’t fall for this trap.
Unless you’re at risk of being harmed “right here and right now”, try using common sense as much as feasible. It can help you keep clear of the vicious cycle of side effects and avoid unnecessary surgical procedures.
No chronic disease, no potential infection, not even cancer is an emergency. Take your time, seek differing expert opinions and make a rational and fully informed decision.
5. Think Critically
Actively explore differing views and make your own conclusions as objectively as possible.
To arrive at a rational decision, you need to apply critical thinking.
That means not automatically accepting a recommendation just because:
- It comes from a “recognized expert”;
- The majority accept such a recommendation;
- You’re told that “the science is settled” and that differing opinions were “debunked.”
Instead, ask questions, do your research, actively seek differing expert opinions, independently evaluate all possible solutions, and choose what will work best for you.
One of the most important aspects of critical thinking in healthcare is filtering out the inherent bias caused by the Root Conflict of Interest.
Always ask: Is the proposed solution dealing with the root causes of my health issue, or is it only managing its symptoms?
Do I have an active role in the treatment process, or am I just a passive recipient of pharmaceutical products or surgical procedures?
Is my doctor empowering me, or is he trying to belittle my opinions and principles?
Also ask: Will I regain my health based on the recommended treatment, or will I have to take medicaments for the rest of my life? What are the side effects, and what’s the risk/benefit ratio?
6. Question Authorities
They may well be serving other interests than yours.
Pharmaceutical companies usually don’t promote their most profitable products directly to patients. In many countries, it’s not even legally allowed.
Instead, they sponsor opinion leaders and other noted authorities in medicine – top doctors, professors, researchers, universities, medical journals, etc., usually in the context of clinical research and education.
Sadly, it’s almost impossible to find any leading figure or institution in healthcare who doesn’t have financial ties with pharmaceutical companies.
In return, these authority figures tend to support the interests of their pharmaceutical sponsors, which mainly includes:
- promoting new and expensive pharmaceutical drugs
- opposing the use of cheaper (such as repurposed) pharmaceuticals
- questioning the availability or effectiveness of root-cause based forms of treatment.
Due to regulatory capture, the same can unfortunately be said about international agencies and governmental authorities, such as WHO, EMA, FDA or CDC.
Keep the above in mind when considering recommendations by any authority, formal or informal.
7. Keep Applying What You’ve Learned
Knowing and not doing often has the same effect as not knowing.
Action builds momentum! If you’ve learned something new that you can benefit from, try applying it in your life as soon as practicable. You can always drop it later if it doesn’t work for you, but if it does, you’re already on the right track.
The more things you try, the more likely you’ll find a combination that’s best for you.
What’s the point of knowing which food could cause your long-term health issues without ever trying to eliminate it from your diet for even a few weeks?
Being clueless would have the same zero effect!
To help you make leaps in the respect, I devised a simple “LEAP” mnemonic. At its basic level, it stands for LEARN – APPLY. What you have learned, apply.
At a higher level, “LEAP” stands for Learn, Explore, Apply, Persevere:
After learning something new, explore this area further, gaining more knowledge and also seeing how this new knowledge can be applied in your life. If you think it could work for you, apply it and persevere in doing so. Every change requires certain willpower until it becomes a habit.
8. Prefer Small Steps over Major Changes
Small steps are easier to implement and give you more flexibility.
Less is often more. Introducing sudden major changes into your lifestyle dramatically decreases your chances of long-term success (think of the fate of many New Year’s resolutions).
It’s good to be ambitious in your goals, but you also have to be realistic and systematic.
Start with a small step, but persevere (that’s the “P” in the LEAP method).
Perseverance means not giving up in weak moments and moving towards your goal in gradual steps. When you reach your goal, you either keep up your practice or move up to even a more ambitious goal.
For example, if you decide to train your immunity by cold training (a very simple yet very effective practice!), have your regular shower and then lower the water temperature slightly for a minute. Next time, you can reduce the temperature a bit more.
Over several weeks, you can gradually reach the lowest possible temperature and perhaps even increase the duration of the cold shower.
Keep it your daily routine, and if you feel like it, you can also add the cold shower phase before the regular shower (again gradually). Your immune system will be very happy with this training!
9. Employ Good Habits Rather than Willpower
The best use of willpower is to create good habits or to eliminate bad ones.
Let’s face it: Your willpower is limited – as is everyone’s. Relying only on your willpower to remove root causes of illness or to introduce root causes of health is a losing battle.
If you have to exert your willpower toward a specific goal every day, with no end in sight, sooner or later you’ll give up.
The winning approach is to create habits, as they require no willpower to continue – actually, it’s often the other way round (think how much willpower it takes to get rid of a bad habit).
So be smart and use your limited willpower to develop habits corresponding to the root causes you want to address, one habit at a time.
It usually takes one to two months to create a habit, and you’ll certainly need a fair share of willpower during that time.
To make it easier, keep in mind the specific health benefits you’ll gradually achieve after successfully installing the habit, and reward yourself along the way (even just ticking off a “Completed” box on a notice board every day can work wonders).
10. Keep to the principles, but don’t be dogmatic
Guiding principles will help you navigate through the sea of information, but none of them is a law.
Keeping to time-tested guiding principles is an important rule to follow when you’re faced with conflicting information from various sources.
Experts often disagree, either because they have genuinely different opinions or because they’re on the opposing sides of the Root Conflict of Interest. Results of clinical studies sometimes contradict each other for similar reasons.
If the 12 RCM Principles resonate with you, I’d be pleased if you’d follow those principles. If not, have another decision-making framework that you stick to, otherwise someone else will effectively make decisions regarding your health instead of you.
The 12 RCM Principles are interconnected, so keeping to one of them usually means observing the other principles as well, or at least not going against them. Either way, the decision that aligns with most of your principles is generally the best one for you.
But don’t be dogmatic – in case of emergencies, when time is of essence (we’re talking about minutes, hours, or days here), it doesn’t matter whether you’re dealing with root causes or not, whether you prefer pharmaceuticals or not, so long as your life is being saved.
The 12 RCM Principles are a means to long-term health, not a goal in itself.
11. Perceive Things on a Spectrum
Reality usually presents itself as a continuum, not as polar opposites.
Don’t fall into the trap of the black-and-white vision of the world.
The objective reality is seldom just either-or, pro- versus anti-, right against left, with us or against us, good people vs. bad people, etc. Reality is usually way more nuanced, spread along the full spectrum of possibilities.
If you want to arrive at correct conclusions, get beyond the polarizing (and often dogmatic) labels and explore the full range of reality as it is. You’ll be empowered with knowledge, not manipulated into a opinion camp – these are usually created to push business or political agendas.
Also, your health status is not merely ill/healthy, but always on a continuum between the ideal of the being in full health and vitality and the worst-case scenario of being terminally ill.
By gradually removing root causes of illness and introducing root causes of health, you move from your current position toward full health.
If you just mute your symptoms with pharmaceuticals without addressing the root causes, you will either stagnate on the health continuum or will head towards being more ill, despite the temporary semblance of health improvement.
12. Learn from History
It helps you understand the present and predict the future.
History tends to repeat itself. Not literally, but specific patterns do repeat over and over.
Such patterns result from human greed and hubris, fear, but also courage, determination, and self-sacrifice. Human nature doesn’t change, only the circumstances.
Learning from history means recognizing repeating patterns and asking corresponding questions. Such as, was there a time in history when the people censoring information were the good guys?
History is also something that’s built into our presence. If you think about it, we’re an accumulation of what we did and what happened to us so far. Our current health status is mainly determined by how we dealt with the root causes of illness and health in the past.
History also helps put things into perspective and overcome the recency bias.
Humans have practiced medicine for thousands of years, not just the last 100 or 200 years. The human species has existed for at least 300 thousand years, and for more than 99.9% of that time, in close contact with nature. Life on Earth has been developing for some 4 billion years.
If we want to succeed in the long run, we should build on this huge base of sophistication rather than fight it.
And now, it’s your turn! Which of the 12 RCM Attitudes did you find the most relevant to your situation? Or the most surprising? And which one will you newly start applying first, one small step at a time?
I liked your article, however I don’t subscribe to the evolutionary basis that you base your world view on, but a classic world view where one is ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ created by God, so our body is amazingly designed to function as intended with an intelligence behind it. Whether by design or accident, our bodies have optimal operating parameters that we must discover and heed. Other than that, I really thought you had excellent suggestions that I could learn from. Thanks for sharing what you have learned and passing it on. Blessings!
Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I’m of course aware of and respect the creationist point of view, explained scientifically eg. in Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels (both a book and a documentary film). But as you allude to, both understandings lead to the same conclusion – we should build on the sophistication of nature and human bodies instead of fighting it, thinking that we know “better.”
Very good. Thank you for going thru the efforts to produce this information.
I’ll carry on with my efforts – more articles expanding on the RCM framework will come!
Daniel, I value your industry and your spirit. I think you are correct in your conclusions about the irrelevance of the Western medical model in addressing the chronic needs of the population.
However I will shortly be embarking on a PhD, at 65! which will evidence why our medical model is largely impotent in curing our long-term psychological and psychiatric ills.