Sunday, October 19, 2008

Healing Images?

As I was waiting for the eye doctor today, I entertained myself by looking at the walls. Typical of doctor’s offices (including chiropractors and acupuncturists) there were a few large, nicely framed and colorful posters on the walls of the usual specific body parts of that particular doctor's speciality. In this case, eyes. These posters, charts and images of the body -- or its parts -- are seen in offices everywhere. I realized for the first time however how strange they are.

Large images of diseased, broken, sick, damaged organs. Detailed time lines of the progression of diseases. Close-ups of infected appendages, or internal disasters. To the chronically curious, like myself, these images might be mildly interesting, but what purpose do they serve? I wondered why would any patient want to see these images, while they’re in a place where they’re either ill in some way, or else they wouldn't’ be there (unlike Eastern medicine, where it’s preventative, not after the fact) or, where you’re in for a check up, hoping all is well. Most of us are anxious to some degree when we go into a doctor’s office, whether it’s routine or something more involved. Being surrounded by images of illness, and being used to it as normal, sends messages to our psyches that all is not well, and all will not be well.

What we surround ourselves with says a lot about what happens to us on different levels. What we say to ourselves goes much deeper than the surface; we're sending messages to ourselves all the time, and our subconscious takes it all in. Like attracts like. It’s like telling someone not to think of a white elephant. As soon as you say that, you’re thinking of a white elephant.

Why not have images that show preventative things one can do for themselves, encouraging images, healing images?

True, there were nice, pretty, Impressionist type images here and there; it wasn’t all gory red and sick-yellow oozing eyeball close-ups surrounded in gray lettering that announced “Macular Degeneration” and “Diseases of the Eye.”

The point is, why have these things at all in places of care and healing? How different would our health, and our health care system be, if we realized the impact of our surroundings on our health?

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