There is a role and an importance for all health practitioners. Having said this, there is one thing we need to be clear on! Each of our tool boxes are VERY different. So, before you go to an italian restaurant asking for chinese, let's make a few things clear. The medical system is a world of diagnosis and the treatment of symptoms. It took me a long time to get my panties out of a knot to appreciate the importance of this particular tool box. As I began to see it's role and the importance of it, I still however saw many things that were missing from that tool box in which other health practitioners would fill. One is not complete without the other and it is when we can find a union between both worlds of healing methods that we will reach optimum health.
You may have experience asking for guidance from the wrong tool box. For example asking about herbs, botanicals, extracts and nutrition from your family doctor or asking your nutritionist to tell you about prescriptions, injections and even for an operation for your ailments. Wrong tool box! Just as your family doctor was not educated on nutrition, herbs and supplements, your nutritionist was not taught about pharmaceuticals, how to diagnose and especially how to operate.
You wouldn't ask a chiropractor to clean your teeth, you wouldn't ask your roofer to fix your furnace, and you wouldn't ask your young kids to cook you a 3 course meal... or maybe you would, but you get my point. It is out of their tool box, unless these individuals have sought out extra training, which in most cases they have not, it is important to seek out specialized advice. Unfortunately, in Canada our health care system only covers some tools boxes and for this reason in order to get specialized advice in all areas of your health, you are going to have to invest, but you and your health are worth it and it will cost you more in the long run tapping into only one of these tool boxes. Since your doctors tool box only goes so far, here are 10 things your doctor won't tell you about your health, but I will.
1. You can prevent disease
Everything has a cause and effect, which means every decision you make is either working in your favour or not in your favour. Prevention lies in the small decisions we make every single day and the more choices we make that are in favour of our health, the more our bodies will have the ability to maintain homeostasis (balance).
Foods, supplements and lifestyle are the 3 major categories in which you can seek out preventitive resources to support your body.
2. You can control your genes
One of the most empowering things is the study of epigenetics. So often we are told we have no control over our genes and that our gene expression is out of our hands, but quite the contrary. Research has demostrated that we have the ability to control whether a gene switches on or off. In other words your gene expression can be altered without changing your actual DNA. Epidemiologists have found that these changes are induced by diet, in other words your food choices matter!
3. Laxatives are dependency forming
Constipation is a huge concern. Without frequent bowel movements toxins and food waste are unable to leave the body creating a toxic environment. This is recognized by all health practitioners as a health concern and by any one experiencing it, uncomfortable and even painful at times. There is no question that getting the bowels moving is extremely important, but it is imperative that we get to the root of the cause (usually digestive imbalance, lack of fiber and food sensitivities).
Laxatives, whether from the drug store or health food store can create bowel dependency allowing the peristalsis (muscle contraction) to weaken, preventing the body from eliminating without assistance. Herbal laxatives for a short duration are a great start, but again addressing the underlying cause is the best long term solution.
4. Your physical health can be affected by your emotional health
There is no question that emotions manifest themselves through the physical body. Traditional Chinese Medicine bring these teachings to light showing a correlation between certain emotions and their corresponding organs. For example the liver is the site of suppressed anger. The best way to demonstrate such a concept is through this study conducted by the National Academies of Sciences where emotions can be tracked through the body.
“The mapping exercise produced what you might expect: an angry hot-head... a depressed figurine that was literally blue (meaning they felt little sensation in their limbs).
Almost all of the emotions generated changes in the head area, suggesting smiling, frowning, or skin temperature changes, while feelings like joy and anger saw upticks in the limbs—perhaps because you’re ready to hug, or punch, your interlocutor. Meanwhile, ‘sensations in the digestive system and around the throat region were mainly found in disgust,’ the authors wrote.
It's worth noting that the bodily sensations weren't blood flow, heat, or anything else that could be measured objectively—they were based solely on physical twinges subjects said they experienced...
[T]he results likely reveal subjective perceptions about the impact of our mental states on the body, a combination of muscle and visceral reactions and nervous system responses that we can’t easily differentiate.”
(Image Credit: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
5. You probably don't need sleeping pills
The truth is we buzz through our days mindlessly and your lack of sleep is not due to a deficiency in sleeping pills. You are either:
a. in pain at night and therefore can't sleep
b. stressed with a busy mind and wheels spinning and thereforce can't sleep
c. you're circadian rhythm has been switched
d. you have adrenal fatigue
All of which are not cured from sleeping pills. Now I'm not suggesting you don't seek out a solution, I'm just suggesting the solution is in the cause and until you address the cause you will be depending on sleep aids forever more. Oh did I mention sleeping pills are dependency forming? This will have you crawling back for more.
One of the most common reasons why people aren't sleeping is because they are stressed, have busy minds and are experiencing anxiety. The BEST solution for this is mindfulness and meditation, not sleeping pills, not even supplements. Sure these might knock you out temporarily, but your body will come back screaming louder. How about we just fix the issue? In pain? Address the pain. Stressed? Address the stress. Circadian rhythm has been switched? Seek out a practitioner. Adrenal fatigue? Seek out a practitioner and address stress.
6. Your heartburn medication could be worsening the situation
Heartburn medications are some of the most frequently prescribed drugs, but do we understand what they might be doing to our body? Proton pump inhibitors have the ability to cause serious side effects such as heart disease, digestive imbalances, bone decay and malabsorption of key nutrients such as B vitamins and magnesium. It is always important to seek out all opportunities for healing and when medications are needed to ask your doctor about potential side effects.
7. You are probably dehydrated
Water makes up from 75% body weight in infants to 55% in elderly and is critical for life and cellular balance. Surveys show that 60 percent to 75 percent of Americans don’t drink enough water daily! This is a problem, given dehydration can affect the following:
physical performance particularily in those actively working out
delirium especially in elderly
digestive function including reduced absorption and constipation
Strong evidence suggests that proper hydration greatly reduces your risk for chronic diseases, so before you do anything, ask yourself, am I drinking enough water?
8. Supplements are necessary in many cases
Soils are being depleted, foods are being genetically modified and the modern diet is far from ideal, containing highly processed foods. The truth is the nutrient content of our foods is not what is used to be, not the mention with all the added chemicals and toxins we are exposed to our bodies are working over time to maintain health.
The fact is that most of us are chronically deficient of nutrients. Our body utilizes all stores of these nutrients before deficiencies begin to reveal themselves. Addressing nutrient depletion requires higher amounts of these nutrients than we are able to consume daily from their food sources. While food is essential in a healing protocol, often relying on food sources to rebalance a deficiency will not cut it.
9. Pain is mental too
"What if's" are one of the most dangerous thoughts you can dwell in. If you want to make a symptom worse, focus on all the terrible things that may, could, or possibly may come to be. The problem with this line of thinking is that we tend to inflate the frequency and level of pain we are actually experiencing by only focusing on the times we are in pain and not acknowledging the times we are not. It is a misperception of reality and will leave you miserable and resentful of the world.
By switching your attention to the good you will be able to improve your mood and drive down your pain. Where attention goes, energy flows and results show.
10. If I specialize in diagnosing, prescribing medications, injections or surgery, that's probably what I will recommend.
Too frequently I have clients tell me they want their doctors to be a sounding board. To listen to their stressors and hear of their pain, but they don't want a prescription. The truth is, this is all they have to offer from their tool box and asking your doctor for a solution but expecting different resources that they don't have available to them is only going to leave you frustrated. Looking for emotional support, seek out a counsellor. Looking for diagnosis, presciptions, injections, and operations go see your doctor. Looking for preventative and curative measures through foods, supplements and lifestyle changes, seek out a holistic practitioner.
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