Alternative Approaches to Health and Wellness

Discussion in 'Your Living Room' started by tamarak, Nov 9, 2006.

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  1. pardonme

    pardonme Guest

  2. oaktree8

    oaktree8 New Member

    Hi everyone--
    I've been enjoying reading this thread the last few days but haven't felt well enough to post until tonight. I want to go back to the general, philosophical part of the thread, (hope okay!) to tell you about the ironic position I find myself in these days, and to ask if you have any advice.

    I've struggled with minor health issues--digestion problems, neck and back problems, headaches, sinus infections--all my adult life, and I literally spent all my disposable income on alternative health practitioners. I was very opposed to western medicine, because I blamed the antibiotics I took in my early 20s for acne for causing the digestion problems. I saw acupuncturists, therapists, and homeopathists, did yoga and tai chi, made changes in my diet, etc., but my digestion issues (IBS) got worse, and then they diagnosed me with ulcerative colitis.

    Things got so bad I started taking the prescription medicine for the UC and it worked, miraculously. I was free of symptoms for the first time, but I felt very conflicted about taking an (evil) prescription medicine--I felt I'd failed at healing myself with alternative healthcare. I was afraid of what bad thing might happen next, and then, what do you know, two years later I started having MM symptoms. So I felt perhaps I'd made myself sick (again) by taking the prescription medicine.

    Since MM I've continued with alternative healthcare, but things kept getting worse. I tried a high dose of acyclovir. Then recently, out of desperation I started the diuretic, and then again out of desperation I tried prednisone. And the prednisone made an overnight change, huge--my hearing is restored, the fluid and pressure and tinnitus that was driving me crazy is much reduced. It's intense, I don't like taking it, but what a difference. So again, the prescription medicine worked. And I don't want it to be this way! I'm a firm believer in Chinese medicine, I believe in alternative, holistic medicine, and can't believe that I'm taking these prescriptions.

    So, I feel in conflict, my values and my actions are in conflict, and it's not helping me I'm sure. I also can't seem to let go of this feeling like it's all my fault that I got sick. I know that it's not helpful, but I can't seem to let it go.

    I guess I just wanted to ask if you had any words of wisdom.... Thanks so much for this thread, and for all the useful general and specific information.
  3. waxwing

    waxwing New Member

    Hi Nina,
    I have some thoughts on this I'd like to share.
    Healing happens. Where you find it is up to you. I'm so mad with western doctors and the way they do business, but I can't discount the work they do all together. Same with TCM. Some times its right on, sometimes its way off and what a waste of money.
    Beating yourself up for being helped by something you don't want to like isn't going to make you feel better! If prednisone worked, it did what it was designed to do! That's a good thing. Now, maybe go to a TCM practitioner and tell them that you are taking a very strong drug and wonder if there is an herb or treatment that can help your strengthen your system so it doesn't make you sicker. You know, like taking acidophilus when you're on antibiotics (which took for acne in my youth as well!!,and ACCUTANE) I say: go with what works. Look everywhere, and when you find it, be glad. Besides western medicine is mostly chemical compounds based on medicinals found in natural compounds--just more concentrated. I'm not saying you shouldn't be wary of them, just don't overdo it. Moderation and all that. Try both. Use the western medicine when it works, and use TCM and acupuncture in conjunction to form a balanced approach to healing. And maybe try shiatsu.
    I'm sorry you're not feeling good. Stay in touch and let us know how you are.
  4. SpinininOhio

    SpinininOhio New Member

    cdedie - I have done what others here have done - nucca, deep tissue, NON-GLUTEN and lifestyle changes, particularly REDUCING STRESS AT EVERY LEVEL IN EVERY INSTANCE POSSIBLE. It has been a very slow and long process, with a relapse or two, but never to the extent I was suffering before. Ask Pardonme, I have gotten frustrated, wailed, whined, cried, and almost, but never, given up. That's the one thing you can't do. This weekend was unusual - I pushed. But I want to push a little - keep moving that envelope. Moderation. All things in moderation. Rest (I always try to counterbalance fits of activity with time in a dark room with little stimulus and rest). Lots of time outs. Best of luck to you.

    Oaktree - I have been concerned that the ranting and raving on the board about the bad parts of allopathic medicine may make others reluctant. There are times for allopathic and times for natural. I am a type I diabetic - my body does not produce insulin - there is no natural medicine that can approach allopathic development of insulin therapy. I use allopathic where it makes sense... I take blood pressure medicine because high BP can devastate my kidneys and lead to heart disease - the two biggest complications with diabetes. I take a diuretic.

    The medical pendulum swings - it swung too far in the direction of leaving behind thousands of years of healing wisdom in favor of high tech, drugs, cutting out the problems, and concentrating only on the symptoms and the area with the symptoms - I am afraid that it will now swing too far away from the good that allopathic medicine brings in favor of herbs and roots that have their limitations as well. I will be investigating TMJ and sinus therapies (my third nasty sinus infection in six months). The difference to me is that I will be investigating both allopathic and natural and taking a comprehensive approach that will probably include both. One thing that I have learned through this and my other ailments and my friend who died of cancer is that we can no longer go on auto pilot and expect our doctors to know and do everything for us. We have to take responsibility - a LOT of responsibility for our own health, including in depth research and trial and error and searching until we find the right practitioner who will listen and work WITH us.

    As far as causing your problem. I know that I caused mine through genreal things like stress and bad posture, but also very specifically by not taking care of a bad earache/infection. I can't change what has happened - the proverbial milk is on the floor. Now, what can I do about it. Look at it and cry or get the paper towels and go buy some more or get something else to drink. I do have feeling of guilt sometimes, but when I realize I'm doing that I try to start to look more for solutions. Focus energy on healing. YOU WILL PREVENT HEALING BY BEATING YOURSELF UP - that creates stress and stress is the number one, biggest trigger and contributor to this of all. Hope this helps.


    BTW - Oaktree - I finally bit the bullet when I had painful plantar fascititis (sp??) in my heal - every step was like stepping on a nail - and took the evil cortisone injection. Guess what? No more pain. With that initial boost and shoe inserts - no more pain. And the time I got hives (ever have hives - ever have the feeling you will itch to death) - evil cortisone for three days - gone. Oh, my gosh, the big one..... the time I got toxemia - allopathic medicine saved my life and the life of my daughter. Would not be here today jabbering at you without allopathic medicine. Without allopathic medicine my husband would not be here, I would not, my daughter would not, my father would not, my mother would not, my brothers would not. It has saved all of their lives. Allopathic medicine is like anything in life: drinking, working out, candy, your mother-in-law: You just have to know how much and when and for how long. ;)
  5. oaktree8

    oaktree8 New Member

    Thanks Waxwing and SpinnininOhio, your words are very comforting and reassuring--
  6. SpinininOhio

    SpinininOhio New Member

    You've gotten me started now.

    Am I the only one who gets to the point of giving up and then there is a breakthrough.

    For instance, a few weeks ago I had a relapse. Was ready to give up on all of it and viola - the mini spins stopped.

    Within the last few weeks was ready to give up on massage and trigger point etc. because my SCM and scalenes would NOT release - have been tight for the year I've been getting treatment. Called a place to get trigger point injections (giving up on massage) and guess what? Softer muscles.

    What is that phenomenon? What is going on here? Sort of like couples who adopt and then have a child of their own.

  7. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    Maybe when we focus soo hard on one part of our bodies, it becomes frozen? When we divert our attention, we forget that focused part and it relaxes?

    Just a thought :)

  8. waxwing

    waxwing New Member

    Spinnin, I think its just the way the universe works. To bring us to the place where we have lessons to learn, then offer us some relief before putting us back on the road to enlightnment. It happens to me all the time. Also, I like your use of the term, "mini-spins" I get those all the time. They suck. :p
  9. pardonme

    pardonme Guest

  10. ariapace

    ariapace New Member

    the universe provides healing from all directions, including western technological medicine. western drugs are not my first choice by any means--i much prefer ayurveda and other natural systems, including dietary considerations. however, many times this past year i have needed to take drugs in order to function with meniere's. i didn't feel good about it; i felt like i was a failure.

    it took someone telling me in a therapeutic situation that it's ok to use these pills. she said that she accepted healing from all directions. the pills were going to allow me to continue to function in my job and to get the enjoyment and fulfillment i feel from performing music. and in the meantime i can continue to search out and try any other natural methods that i can find. i had a huge emotional release around this issue, lots of tears. and in the middle of that release i realized that i had been burdened with a huge amount of guilt about being sick, and also about being sick to the point where i had to use western drugs. i also realized that i was holding on to an image of how i thought i should be: perfectly healthy. when all of that was released (well, to be honest, some of it's probably still lurking somewhere inside LOL), what came to me is that perfect health has more to do with our inner, true Being than with the body.
  11. waxwing

    waxwing New Member

    Hi Ariapace
    That was lovely. What you said completely and totally mirrors my experience and beliefs and you captured the essence of it all. Thank you.
  12. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    Hi y'all...just a note to let you know that I never meant this to be an "allopathic bashing" area of the net--rather just an area where we feel free to discuss other approaches to healing--the post by oaktree is important because it addresses the spiritual/emotional side of healing as well as the cognitive dissonance she feels when finding success with allopathic methods.

    Oaktree...the others have given you wise advice--I've nothing to add.

    There is not really any dichotomy between the "alternative" methods of healing and the allopathic methods--for me, it's not so much about the value of the medicine itself--but the power relations inherent in the doctor-medical institution/patient relationship and anyone could transfer those same relations to a herbalist or a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.

    For me, the primary thing is that we need to take responsibility for our own health--whether that means taking allopathic medicine or herbs, or whatever!


    ps i think that hygenic methods (ie. toothbrush cleaning) is right on target for this discussion thread. That's the funny thing about these "alternative" ways--like pardonme says--they should be called "common sense" most of the time!
  13. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    I've been thinking about this relationship: body/mind/spirit that is so often talked about. I was wondering if we all have different views on how this relationship works--any thoughts?

  14. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    Hi Tamara ~ I have an underlying condition called clinical depression. Had it since I was a child. It errodes my feelings of self worth and were I am in the world, however, have noticed that when I engage in healthy activities that bring pleasure, make me smile and laugh I notice a difference in how I feel physically. I had heard that smiling effects endorphins (mood hormone) in the brain and laughing affects breathing patterns and together these two work. Some days when I can't get out I put on non-stop Andy Hardy old black and white movies. One other thing about smiling........ I am attracted to shows where the MC or author of the story smiles alot. I have been soo drawn to Dancing with the Stars on TV and then the Croccodile Hunter. Steve Irwin used to get his face soo close to the TV screen it was like he was smiling right down on me. I came away from Steve's shows feeling very comforted, and I slept better on those nights, I noticed.

    Spiritually, I have been turning everything over to the God of my belief lately. I watch Joel Osteen alot on Sunday mornings and he has helped me tremendously, again he smiles all the way thru his program and laughs alot to and cries which surprised me quite a few times. I have purchased alot of his CD's and I listen to them quite alot during the daytime. Also, I am reading my Bible and jotting down healing scriptures.

    Who was the actor that laughed himself thru his cancer experience?

    Sparrow :D :D
  15. Mya46

    Mya46 Knowledge is POWER!

    Sparrow -

    I have to remark on Dancing with the Stars. I too am sooooooo drawn to it, i even just purchased tickets to the tour in February at Mohegan casino! It sold out immediately! It too just makes me FEEL so good. I've always been drawn to dance, shows with dance, and especially HOT men who dance, haaaaaaaa! Couldn't resist that statement. But partner latin dancing is fabulous to me! I loved Max, he's my fav. Mario can kick butt, that boy is a natural. Watching shows like that cheers my blues away too. I've been diagnosed dysthymic for years, which is borderline depression...kinda flat line. So it's pretty hard to get me excited. I'm already anticipating next years show!!! ;D
  16. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    I don't have access to dancing with the stars, but it sounds great! Yes, I think that it's really important to be create a happy world around ourselves, by attracting people who smile and persevere through problems rather than allow problems to get them down. You've really made me think about how imprtant it is to smile at the restaurant, too. Thanks for the reminder!

    The reason why I began that thread on "philosophical approaches to healing" earlier was trying to grapple with the same questions. How do we handle our diagnosis of illness--how do we interpret it? How does that meaning-making affect the way we cope?

    I want to conintue to explore these questions in my own reflections on life and I'd appreciate any feedback y'all can give me.

    In the meantime, it's an early day for me--gotta go!

  17. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    When I was practicing smiling, I tried it out in a grocery store once. I went about my shopping humming softly and smiling at anyone that would look at me. Many people actually greeted me with a generous smile back which was surprising. Once in a store and sufficiently stressed, this man was humming a lullaby and I actually stood there next to him pretending I was looking at something to purchase as I felt soo drawn to his tone of song that it sooo soothed me. I think we have gotten away from the basics of life, like story telling and singing. I have soo many times wanted to just sit in some libraries when the kids are being told a story. At night when I can't sleep, I turn on these special book tapes to listen to. They are called gentle reads and are very soothing to listen to. It helps foster a feeling of safety and all is well.

    Last winter I tried to get my apartment manager to agree to do Christmas Caroling and she refused and laughed at me. When I grew up, it was our Christmas tradition to have my neighborhood to gather around a potluck dinner and then go out Christmas Eve to everyone on the street that did not participate, to sing Christmas Carols. I remember how soothed I felt holding a song book with another neighbor and a candle and singing something cheery and fun in the snow. Just remembering this is making me smile and feel good.

    For me, I think part of the art of healing/spirituality is surrounding myself by listening to story telling and people singing/music. I know some may laugh at this but I used to love watching The Waltons, a TV series back in the 80's, as the family would gather around and tell stories or listen to the radio after dinner. Do we do that today? No. Modern society listens to music by plugging in headphones and listening alone. Families scatter after dinner to sit in front of a computer or do something alone. Everything is done alone today it seems. Most people sit in front of the TV while eating their family meals instead of facing each other and having a conversation. Sharing fun and music/games with a group of people/family really fosters a feeling of wellbeing and connectiveness. There is something to be said about disease states and isolation.

    When our community center opened up at my apartment complex, I posted a notice for anyone to join me in checkers or monopoly. Nothing, no replies. Okay, so be it, I then again asked about Christmas Caroling and that was met with smirks by the apartment staff.

    Okay, getting off my high horse for now, LOL :D :D

  18. waxwing

    waxwing New Member

    You know, public singing is supposed to be on the list of "Things Most People are Terrified of Doing". Maybe you're the gutsy one.
  19. tamarak

    tamarak New Member

    Sparrow...I think that you are really onto something here. The isolatiion that creeps in with technology. I'm going to think about this a little more--but we've already made changes--last month we "lost" some of the gameboy portable technology and we've cut off cable and also taken our tv down--except for special occasions. At first, we didn't really notice much difference--but slowly other activities have seeped into the space left by the lack of tv. Now, I am reading every night to the kids.

    Right now, we're reading "Charlotte's Web" and I also got a quote that I want to share with you all. But today is a day when we're taking time for just husband and me and I'd better get off the internet or he'll think that i care less about him than you all (you are all really important to me!).

  20. sparrow

    sparrow Guest

    LOL Meghan, hahahahaha. Yes, I am the one who steps forward to sing and I have the worlds worst singing voice.... I sound like a fog horn :D People scatter, hahahahahah. But I have fun with it :D

    Another thing I wanted to post here that came to mind yesterday was observing. How often do we observe? I mean really observe like take in all the details? One comes to mind, driving by an accident scene, LOL, but how about nature and details of the day?

    One such afternoon last summer I was stuck in traffic and two young boys caught my attention. They were walking along the side of the road, just out from school with books in hand. They were sharing a conversation, laughing and having fun with each other. Observing them gave me a feeling of being connected with another human being and that comforted me. Instead of white knucking the steering wheel for being stuck in traffic, I was able to self soothe. That whole experience has stayed with me and I reflect back on it often. There have been other experiences such as that that I can call attention to with detail that gives me feelings of comfort and well being.

    How many times do we take pause in the present moment to take in the beauty of the moment and the detail it presents to us and the feelings that we conjure up in us?

    Tamara ~ as I was typing this, you posted your comments. It's interesting, isn't it, how much time we spend in isolation? Your kids will cherish these moments you spend with them, reading to them. That was one of my fondest memories of my father, reading to me. Please, when you get a time, share your quote from "Charlottes Web".

    Sparrow :D

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