Sitting down to write this morning, with a hot mug of dandelion tea in hand and NPR in the background, I heard the announcement for the morning program, Functional Medicine. First I laughed, shouldn’t all medicine be functional? Yes it should, but it is not. As I listened, the program talked of healing chronic disease through food, spirituality, community and love. That’s what I’m talking about.
I have been on a path of healing and learning about good, functional, sustainable medicine since high school. Most of the learning has just presented itself to me -I do believe the adage when the learner is ready the teacher will appear, and if you don’t learn the lesson the universe intended for you the first time it will come around again.
What I know to be true in my life is this:
As I child I was put on antibiotics and steroids every October for about 18 years for seasonal bronchitis. I don’t think bronchitis should be seasonal.
When I started to see a chiropractor in high school my stress attacks subsided
I have been diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases by western medicine, and have chosen to stay clear of the recommended medications. Instead I chose better food, prayer, walking, time with family and friend, tea, herbs and education.
When I was diagnosed with Hoshimoto’s Hypothyroid I asked to see my ultrasound. My thyroid looked like swiss cheese. Several months later after many hours of prayer, meditation, better food, acupuncture, applied kinesiology, walking, and getting a handle on my stress, I returned for a follow up visit. My thyroid was healthy and happy. No synthroid, no radiation, no anthryoid.
I have been practicing herbal medicine for 15 years, building my knowledge base slowly because my primary focus for the past 12 years has been teaching 7th grade students in nine subject areas. When I learn about an herb, I help myself, my family and my friends. I have witnessed the gentle healing power. Burns and deep wounds healed without scarring, chronic sinus infections relieved, energy restored, coughs diminished, lives changed.
The people I have met in the herbalist community are some of the most wise and inspiring I know. The values that they embrace and teach are from a core belief in loving self, others and the environment. It is dis-ease in emotion that causes an imbalance within each of us. The imbalance leaves us vulnerable to disease and injury.
I believe that their is a deep knowledge base of healing that lies inherently in each of us that when awakened can transform. When people are allowed the time and given the framework to plot their life story on a timeline, healing occurs and behaviors change.
When I my back hurt so badly that I walked with a limp, I was certain I had done some serious structural damage. When I sought help from applied kinesiology and learned it was my adrenal glands yelling at me to stop the madness of my life I was curious and went with it. Sure enough. I had depleted myself of good nutrition, sleep, family time, prayer -I “didn’t have time.” I laugh now looking back. My body knew that the only way it was going to get me to pay attention was to prevent me from walking. It worked. I changed my habits -which I felt were so important to me at the time -no just excuses. No more back problems!
For years people have come to me for their acute medical needs, yet I have no medical degree. I do have skills that I have honed over the years and methods that work that are gentle yet powerful.
When we removed corn syrup from our diet when our son’s cheeks were covered in a rash and he had a stuffy nose. His skin and congestion cleared.
When I eat a wheat free diet my joint and muscle pain disappear.
When I drink a quart of Nettle infusion during the day, I have more energy and my hot flashes disappear.
When I eat raw leafy greens I get congested and have a terrible cough.
When I eat super dark chocolate I feel happier
When I the “comfort foods” of my childhood -oreos, jello, white bread and pasta, soda, milk chocolate, anything containing corn syrup I immediately swell up and feel tired.
When I drink alcohol I have hot flashes
When I walk 4 miles a day, my whole outlook is better and my energy soars
The list continues, but the connection is there food and exercise change the way that I feel and behave, and when I use food, herbs, prayer and exercise to counter my autoimmune and acute illnesses I am at my best for my family and friends.