Some years, I feel like I should be seeing a doctor every two months; constant colds, indigestion, and all kinds of “irregularities” call for certified medical opinions far more than insurance policies encourage. But other years, I wonder why I’m shelling out for doctors to just tell me what I already know: I’m healthy, and I should take my vitamins. I’m relatively young, I’m not having a baby (or loads of irresponsible sex), nothing itches, burns, aches, pinches, or looks weird. So why should I pay to put on a paper gown, get on a scale, and watch a doctor look at my charts to inform me that I’m relatively young, I’m not having a baby, and nothing itches, burns, aches, pinches, or looks weird. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, a visionary doctor and author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, my intuition isn’t totally off track: At an event at Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation last week, Northrup explained that annuals are just “memes” — something we learn that we’re supposed to do from a young age, hear about from newspapers, magazines, and other people, and just assume we have to do. But are they necessary? Not at all. Instead, Dr. Northrup says we should be taking control of our own health care and acting as “CEO of our own bodies.”
Many would accuse Northrup of dispensing careless medical advice; after all, her statement bucks conventional wisdom, and what if someone failed to detect cancer because they decided to skip their annual exam? But Northrup, who was one of three medical experts on stage for the second event in Urban Zen’s series, Conversations on Sustainable Wellness (we’ve written about the first event here and here), was making a much larger point. She’s not saying that we should all drop our insurance plans and spend the premiums on a new Rolls Royce, she’s saying that, instead of assuming that it’s conventional medicine or the highway, we should take our health, bodies, and medical treatment into our own hands.
Frank Lipman, M.D., an outspoken advocate for functional medicine in New York and host of the series, was also on stage at the event, along with expert author and motivational speaker Kris Carr, who’s written about her experience living with cancer in Crazy Sexy Cancer and, most recently, the New York Times bestseller Crazy Sexy Diet. Karr and Lipman both are outspoken advocates of prevention, and alternative medicine that goes beyond annual visits and treatment with prescription drugs. Eating well, learning about your own body, and paying attention to both your mental and physical health are among the ways they say we should all be taking the reins as CEO of our own bodies and health.