My practice embraces a mind body approach to healing.
I was first introduced to mind body medicine when I started studying acupuncture almost 20 years ago. It’s not an easy concept for our western minds to wrap our heads around. We have been brought up in a society that views the body in parts. If we have stomach issues we go to a gastroenterologist, for anxiety or depression we go to a psychologist or psychiatrist, and are often put on several medications by different doctors.
I’ve seen this time and again in my practice and people are getting fed up with all the meds, the cost and even question how much they’re helping. When I start to explain the connections in our body and mind through Chinese medicine it makes sense to people, for example how liver qi stagnation is related to anger issues.
Physical, mental, emotional connection
I have witnessed the beauty of our mind body connection over the years in my clinical practice as well as personally. Patients would come in with anxiety and depression only to see their symptoms greatly reduced after just a few treatments with acupuncture. Vice versa I’ve also seen people who are eating a great diet but still having stomach issues, only to find out they hate their job and have ongoing high stress from a difficult relationship. You can eat the best diet in the world but still have stomach and health issues from mental and emotional distress.
I had my own similar experience in my health journey.
I went through a period of high distress when i was trying to make a lot of diet changes after being diagnosed with my autoimmune condition. I found these changes really challenging at first, especially in social situations and could feel my stress levels rising and starting to affect my gut. My well intentioned nutritional changes were back firing because it was causing me so much stress. I had to take a step back, reassess my plan and realize i had to take it one step at a time, and that if I didn’t make all the changes right away it was going to be okay.
Just as stress can make us feel sick, the food we put in our body has more of an impact on mental/emotional health than we realize. More and more research is proving that our gut is our second brain and produces over 90% of our serotonin receptors, which people most commonly know are found in our brain and are responsible for mood regulation.
If we feed our gut highly processed foods lacking in nutrient density along with unhealthy fats and sugar then our gut microbiome and neurotransmitters will not work optimally. I’ve seen over and over in my clinic people with digestion issues such as IBS and colitis are also suffering from major anxiety and depression. Once that gut is supported and functioning better, they most often report feeling better, calmer, and happier.
Stress Management and Mindfulness
One of the most important things I’ve learned over the years is good health isn’t attained and then the work is over. Our health just like life has its ebbs and flows, plateaus and valleys. While we may be supporting ourselves through diet and nutrition, life changes and stressors are always coming at us and will in some degree, big or small, affect us physically, mentally, emotionally, and or spiritually.
It is imperative for our health and well-being to find ways to manage stress, whether it be hiking, yoga, meditation, breath work, or drawing a picture. It will be different for each of us. I am here to help guide you to find the tools that work for you to support your health. For me I found my way back to painting after so many years. It’s my meditation and quiets my mind. Other days I’ll find it through yoga, breathing or meditation.
It is a practice.
The more we do it the more we’ll see the the benefit of overall wellbeing and resilient health. Research has shown how mindful meditation can reduce cortisol levels, our stress hormone, which is implicated in so much chronic disease and autoimmune conditions.
Equally important in our ever growing digital age is to find a ways to reconnect with nature. I can’t stress this enough. The chinese medicine map of our body and meridians is derived from our study of nature and its cycles. Nothing has ever made more sense to me. Everything is connected in some way. Our body and mind are no different.
In addition to stress management, practicing mindfulness, meditation and/or breathing techniques can help unravel stuck patterns in our bodymind. Through my work both personally and professional I have witnessed how belief patterns and a traumas from early childhood and throughout life can hold us back, keep us stuck and in pain, and from living our best life.
Quieting the mind through meditation, practicing mindfulness – can help shift these stuck patterns that keep us from moving forward with life.
Renowned mind body medicine doctor and author, Dr. Lissa Rankin discusses at length her extensive research on the placebo affect and how our mind has the ability to heal us from minor and major diseases. I encourage one if not all of these techniques for everyone, even if it’s just stopping to breath for few minutes during the day. In our ever changing complex world it has become more important than ever to raise awareness of our bodymind connection and provide tools to nurture our overall health and heal ourselves.