Whole Health Care
Posted by Arja on September 16 in Holistic Health
Who is on your health care team? Taking care of your “whole” self should involve more than just an annual physical from your doctor, and getting your teeth cleaned every six months. In the past 5 years I’ve come to realize that health and wellness involves supporting all of your body and all of its systems. As I continue to learn and grow as a practitioner, so does my team of healthcare professionals.
So, who is on my health care team? Well, I’ve got a doctor and a dentist for starters, and while I might not go to my doctor all that often, I’m glad that he’s there. I believe that there can be a peaceful coexistence between Western and alternative medicine, it just takes the right mindset on both sides for that to happen. My doc is wonderfully supportive of what I do, and while he might not be the most alternative family doc out there, he’s not quick to pull out the prescription pad. A family doc and a dentist are a great start, but my team doesn’t stop there.
My choices are based on proactive, preventative care. These practitioners can be the missing link when trying to solve a health issue, or they can be a part of regular, ongoing maintenance to keep things from starting in the first place:
Chiropractor. I’ve seen chiropractors in the past, but always because I’ve had an injury that required their help. After doing a little more reading, I’ve made the decision to make regular chiropractic care a part of the routine for my kindergarten aged son and I. Your central nervous system is essentially the master controller of the body, and all of its main paths of communication extend out from the spinal column. It coordinates the function of all the systems of the body, including digestive, respiratory, hormonal, circulatory, and immune. It stands to reason that if your spine is out of alignment, any one of these systems could be affected. Issues with spinal health can begin at birth, and as children become more active, engaging in activities like skating or bike riding, further misalignment can occur. My son loves his chiropractic adjustments – they are gentle and appropriate for his age and size.
Naturopathic Doctor. While there is quite a bit of overlap between what I do with nutrition and supplements, and what my naturopath does, I value her expertise and knowledge of things like homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and acupuncture. She is a complimentary part of my team and as time goes by I can see myself turning to her more, and my family doctor less. If you want to look into allergy testing beyond the in office pin price testing done by doctors, NDs are a great resource!
Acupuncturist/Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture was something that I turned to when I was trying to get pregnant with my son. At the time, I knew, through tracking my fertility, that I had some hormonal imbalances that might affect my ability to conceive quickly and easily. I was referred to an acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health (and who also happens to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine – TCM) for help. Now, I have returned for his help as I struggle with a few menstrual issues. Nutrition and lifestyle changes have helped, but there is still more to be done. I can already feel the difference that some Chinese herbs and a few treatments have made, so I’m hopeful that over the next few cycles I’ll see further improvement.
Registered Massage Therapist. Once upon a time, massage therapy used to be viewed as a luxury – something that one did at the spa. Now, so many people go for regular massage therapy treatments, and there is a more mainstream view that accepts massage as an important part of total health care. Even doctor’s recommend that patients seek out the services of a massage therapist as a part of their treatment plans. When you think about what your body does for you on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, it makes sense that your muscles will tighten, leading to pain, or even worse, overcompensation by other parts of the body in response.
Psychotherapist. Talking about the state of one’s mental health is still a rather taboo topic, but I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with admitting that I struggle. It wasn’t long ago that I was having panic attacks and taking medication to control them, but now, for the most part, I have that under control. Good quality nutrition and regular exercise are what I use in place of medication, and when I feel things slipping, and the old anxiety creeping back up as a response to outside events, I check back in with a therapist. I’m not sure that I will ever be able to say that I don’t struggle with a generalized anxiety disorder, but by having someone to talk to and connect me with helpful tools, I can manage it.
These days, so many benefits packages offered through companies cover most of these services (at least up to a certain amount), making venturing out and trying something new more affordable. There also comes a point where it’s hard to place a dollar value on your overall health. Taking care of yourself now will cost you less money in the future.
So, who is on your team?
Eat to feel good!