Relationships Matter: Lessons From Peru

Relationships Matter: Lessons From Peru

In a short blog posted back in February of this year, I said I would tell you all about my experiences in Peru. I’m going to do just that in this blog.

But beyond that, I’m going to explain how it influenced my entire perspective on healthcare and healing, because it has. I went on this trip with the intention of learning, and now I want to share what I learned in Peru.

Image Credit: John Woolf

Where I Went

I have always been fascinated by other cultures, and I jumped at the chance to see Peru and the Andes Mountains.

We first traveled to Cusco, a wonderful city at 11,000 feet in elevation that was actually developed under the Inca ruler Pachacutec.

From there, we traveled to the Urabumba (or Sacred) Valley. While in the area, we visited ancient sites along the Sacred Valley, where we did specific studying on healing. Other sites we visited included:

Pisaq Archaeological Park  


Machu Picchu

Each site held a specific teaching with themes about Shamanic Healing. It was a 10 day trip in total, and we spent most of our time there in Cusco and the Sacred Valley. I enjoyed it from the perspective of a traveler, a tourist, and a healer. Interestingly, I have been trained in the most rigorous thinking of western medicine: such as the importance an accurate diagnosis, the inflammatory process and medical management. So this experience was far outside my comfort zone.

Why I Went

I chose to visit Peru because I wanted to learn more about how another culture approaches the art of healing. In the United States and Western culture, medicine, in general, has evolved into a very precise, technical process. I know this from my own training.

However, it was my frustration with some aspects of Western medicine that triggered my desire to learn what other cultures do. We enjoy a number of amazing modern medical innovations in the United States, in terms of both medications and technologies--but where we have fallen short at times is in relationship building between healthcare providers and patients.

Healing is a universal pursuit, but it was fascinating to see how the approach was different in the Peruvian mountains. You can break down the process of healing into 3 components:

  • Intention to heal to by the patient

  • A relationship between the patient and the healer

  • A ritual conducted by the healer

If you go to a doctor with the intention to heal, you might, if time allows, establish a relationship with that provider. Depending on the condition, the “ritual” that follows can be anything from a surgical procedure to a pill. It’s true that much of Western medicine is remarkably effective, but at the same time, it lacks that crucial middle component: the relationship.

There’s a saying that goes: “The best surgeon cannot heal a cut.” If you think about it, you’ll realize how true it is. In reality, at the most basic level, a provider’s main job is to encourage and empower the body to heal itself.

Image Credit: John Woolf

A good doctor-patient relationship is important for this. You’re only with the doctor for a short time compared to the time you spend in your own body, so you need to create the best possible environment for your body to heal.

At ProActive, we want to really understand your needs as a patient, and then take the time to explain what the problem is and how to create the every important "environment for healing". Fostering that understanding and connection will help you as a patient along the path to a better outcome.

Ultimately, our experts understand pain and how to heal it. Thanks to what I learned in Peru, I know that relationships matter. We’re here to collaborate with you on your health care. We call it a "Transformative Healthcare Relationship"

It's a bold, new kind of Health Care!  The Health You Want!  

~ John Woolf