Restorative Health: Being More Connected To Our Body and Mind
“While there is evidence to support that the natural environment leads to improvements in health markers, More evidence is needed to show what disease may benefit and why.” Bowler et.al. (2010)1
As a Person living in the 21st century, I am often confused by the significant lack of health I am surrounded by. It seems that people are less connected to the environment and people around them than they are to the devices they have available. We have stopped relying on our true person to person connections and moved to a world where we could go a full day without uttering a word to another human. If you type in a search for the effects of electronic devices on Health, the results are kind of scary. This chapter will focus on Restorative health and how we can get back to the last time our Body Agreed that it could do what we asked of it. Restorative health is very Individualized and takes a commitment from the Person and the Provider. It makes sure that both parties are invested to obtain the best outcomes for all involved.
For the last decade, I have been looking for ways to restore my health back to the way it was pre-kids. The things I am looking for are: Sleep, Workout Recovery, Feeling Comfortable in my Body, Less Seasonal Allergies, Less pain. I sought out the help of a physician in 2012 and was directed through a medical model that wanted to drug away my symptoms and maybe (definitely) cause some other symptoms. It was not the root cause of what was happening, It was a band aid approach. Cover Ups don’t work. They simply push the problem to a higher level while partially masking it. What I discovered was that I had a bunch of food allergies that had come back full force while pregnant that were wreaking havoc on my body. You see, true Health starts from within and from the environment around you.
Inflammation occurs when you take in foods that you have sensitivities and allergies to them. That inflammation starts in the mouth, continues to the esophagus, leads to the stomach and ends in the GUT through to the colon. There is another chapter in this book on the gut and microbiome. I would suggest a careful attention is paid to that chapter as well.
“All disease begins in the Gut” ~Hippocrates
The digestive tract is of utmost importance in our health because it is where 90% of the nutrients we take in each day are absorbed. Think of this area of your body similar to the skin, with a severe bug bite. That bug bite becomes inflamed, itches, swells more, you usually agitate it further and it perpetuates the problem. The same is true of the digestive system. If you have a sunburn, how healthy is your skin at the time when it is tight, dry and peeling? Does it absorb lotion well or just appear dry and irritated a few hours later again? If you are causing inflammation due to food sensitivities and allergies, What does the digestive tract look like and how does it feel? One of the problems we have as a society is if I can’t see it, it must not be real. I can ignore it and it will go away, or I can take something for it. This “Disease Mongering3” is part of the pharmaceutical industry push to sell drugs that should likely not be on the market, but also add to the symptoms you experience because they cover a Health Issue with a Band-Aid.
The Discipline to restore your health has to come from with-in, but I believe must also have support. That support can be a health coach, physician, family member, or trusted friends. The non-coach or physician should be someone willing to truly push you and not damage the relationship. The accountability from them must be true to your desire for health. It works best if they are trying to get back some measure of health as well. The typical start of restoring health happens through doing a series of blood work and allergy testing. The best thing about this is that a lot of allergies now can be tested via hair sample, blood work or mouth scraping and spit collection. The patch testing is still an option, but you can find cheaper, less invasive means through online labs. Once you find the things that are causing you inflammation on a daily basis, we tailor an elimination diet to those sensitivities. The Elimination Diet process is no less than 90 days. If you feel that you have extreme or severe food allergies and sensitivities, it may be recommended for six months. This is so the Digestive tract has a chance to heal. If it is still “sunburned” it can not absorb nutrients. The next step is to look at stool samples and find weaknesses in the microbiome and support them. Hormone testing may also be done to look at imbalances and supplements recommended for support.
With the Elimination diet, we focus a lot on the patterns of sleep. Sleep has been discussed a lot over the last decade as a major player in health. There is research to support the fact that lack of sleep causes your body to become insulin resistant, increasing your chances of diabetes. It can lead to stroke due to increased blood pressure, Adrenal fatigue, Thyroid dysfunction and Weight gain. Sleep is when your body truly restores itself. Most of the repair work done is during the time when you are sleeping. Your body goes through a significant amount of detoxification while sleeping. If you look through the Chinese Medicine Body Clock for organ detoxification, you can see that the detoxification of the liver and then the Gallbladder occur between 11pm and 1 am. Going to bed and sleep at a regular time also decreases the likelihood of insomnia and sleep disorders. There has been evidence to show that stopping device use, television and dimming lights in the areas of the house you will be in 30 minutes prior to bedtime will improve your ability to fall asleep quickly. We typically recommend both food and sleep journals. These journals should include what you ate, whether it was protein, carbohydrate or fruit and veggies; the time that you ate, and how much water you drink. It should also include any activity done in the day and your general feeling at the beginning and ending of each day based on mood and stress level. The sleep journal should include what time you went to bed, if you fell asleep easily; if you woke up what time was it; how you felt in the morning when waking up.
Restoring your health also includes periods of time outside, unconnected from the digital world. A four year longitudinal study in the UK showed that people who had access to green space had lower incidence of disease, particularly cardiovascular and Psychological. We encourage mindfulness during this time in the outside world. We ask for people to focus on how they currently feel, then change to how they want to feel that day or moment. We then ask them to say four positive affirmations on the type of feeling they want to have that day in relationship to work, home, Body Image, and Health overall. For Instance: “I enjoy working with each one of my clients. At home I am working well to encourage positive homework behaviors in my children. I am my perfect self every day and I am gaining control over my back pain each moment.”
Restoring Your health is a process that will likely take 18 months to three years, depending on the amount of damage that has occurred over time. We hope that your journey is fulfilling and guides you to a better place in your life. Schedule a Call with me
1A systematic review of evidence for the added benefits to health of exposure to natural environments D.E. Bowler, LM Buyung-Ali, ™ Knight, AS Pullin. BMC Public Health 10:456 (2010)
2Article by Terry Hartig from the Lancet in 2018 reviewing a four year longitudinal study by R. Mitchell and F. Popham showed that people in England that had better access to Green Space in the day to day lives had less incidence of cardiovascular disease and Psychological disorders.
3Selling sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease mongering.Ray Moynihan, journalist,a Iona Heath, general practitioner,b and David Henry, professor of clinical pharmacologyc BMJ. 2002 Apr 13; 324(7342): 886–891.