My son has had a chronic cough for almost a year now. Before you think I’m a bad mom for letting it go on so long, let me tell you about all the hours I’ve spent scheduling doctors appointments, sitting in waiting rooms, Urgent Care and clinics. Only to be told: there’s nothing wrong with him, he’s perfectly healthy.
If I’ve learned anything as a mom, wife, sister, daughter, and adult, it’s this: we have to advocate for ourselves and for our loved ones. We know when something isn’t right. As yogi’s and healers, we know when our bodies (or others) are trying to get our attention and desperately need some TLC.
Our healthcare model is set up for practitioners to hear about our symptoms and then devise a plan to treat them. They aren’t taught (and I know this is a HUGE generalization - not all healthcare professionals fit into this category) to take the time to uncover the root cause of the symptom so that they can help bring the body back into a balanced and healthful state.
I get it. Doctors and nurses appointments are schedule back to back with hardly any time to breath, let alone time to breath WITH their clients. Their hands are tied by insurance companies and unless they can provide an immediate diagnosis they risk not getting paid.
Enter Holistic Health. Mind-Body Medicine. Integrative and Complementary Therapies. Acupuncturists. Massage Therapists. Functional Medicine. Chiropractors. Naturopaths. Chinese Medicine. Energy Medicine. and more (I’m sure I’m missing some, don’t be offended if I left you and your profession out).
This newer wave of medical practioner’s focus on what our elders and indigenous populations have known for years. The mind and body are connected. When there is disharmony in either we must treat them as one and bring balance into the whole self (mind, body and spirit) in order to heal.
So what does a momma do when she can’t get answers? She pulls up her boot straps and prepares to find another way to get the answers and support that she needs. It’s what we do. If we truly listen to our hearts calling and then leave the time and space to hear the answer, we often receive the messages we need.
My message lead me to a functional medicine doctor who was able to uncover several imbalances in both my sons body and mind. He used neuroscience, nutrition, and good ole fashioned biology to get to the root cause of his suffering. It hasn’t been an easy road and popping a pill or pharmaceuticals isn’t an option. Together we have to do the hard work to uncover the messages his body and mind are trying to tell us.
I have great respect for patient-centered treatments and believe in the power of education and personal empowerment for healing.
As I work with my own clients during Reiki, Life Coaching, or Mindfulness sessions, I have witnessed transformation as they embraced the messages their bodies are trying to share. As I recently worked with a client who is a successful business woman, I listened to her rapid speech and watched her anxious body, knowing her message was loud and clear, just waiting to be heard.
As I coached her through some mindful breathing exercises I saw the tension and stress begin to melt away. She became more present and aware of her body-mind state and realized she was in the stress response we call fight, flight, or freeze. With education and empowerment, she learned a new kind of medicine. She learned how to invoke the relaxation response so that her body could come back into balance.
I don’t think Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) such as Mind-Body techniques are going to cure all that ails you. However, studies do indicate that these healing modalities can be incredibly helpful when determining the cause of your symptoms. In addition, practices such as self-care, yoga, mindfulness, massage, reiki, and more can proactively support your overall health and well-being.
In an ideal world, our traditional healthcare practitioners would work together with this new kind of medicine. They would discuss proactive measures to health as readily as they would reactive measures to pain and illness.
In a world full of cancer, chronic fatigue, allergies, and many other debilitating illnesses, my hope is that we can all come together, in a patient-centric way so that full mind-body-spirit healing is not only encouraged but available to all.
A girl can dream, right?