Integrative Medicine: Caring for the Whole Person
Incredibly through, thoughtful & personal. Holistic approach
and considering the whole range of things that might help other than medication.
Recommendations were not far-out! But rather very personal & thoughtful.
Women's health issues in particular tend to be centered around normal,
but challenging, life transitions, in addition to disease states--and
our perceptions of events like menstruation, childbirth, and menopause
help to shape our experiences of them and impact our health. For this
reason, it's important for women to reflect inward and ask themselves,
"What is the significance of this issue in my life and how can I
best support my overall health and wellness during this time?"
We should consider these five components when taking an integrative approach
to health and wellness:
- Body - We often become disconnected from our bodies because
we are too busy to hear the messages they are sending us. In our culture
women, in particular, are often expected to run the show and take care
of others; this creates drains and blows to our systems that translate
into illness and disease. Our bodies aren't designed to operate in a
constant state of go, and our health suffers when they do. Stopping
during the day to pay attention to how we feel allows us to relax, and
to listen and respond to our bodies' needs.
- Mind - Because today's technology means we receive almost constant
input, an important strategy for strengthening our systems is to make
time to mentally unplug from that input. Don't answer the phone; choose
instead to read a poem, listen to music, or just focus on your breathing.
Even short breaks help us rebalance and can be invaluable to our health.
- Nutrition - Reaping the health benefits of better nutrition
doesn't necessarily require drastic changes to our eating habits. For
example, weekly incorporating 10-12 ounces of fish
that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as wild salmon, can significantly
decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke. There is strong evidence
suggesting that the daily consumption of 2-4 cups of green tea can have
a major impact in decreasing the risk of breast and colon cancer.
- Movement - This does not have to mean step aerobics or Stairmasters,
and can include anything from yard work to playing outside with the
kids. Something as simple as taking a short walk for 20-30 minutes,
four days a week, significantly reduces the risk of heart disease, our
country's ..number-one killer of men and women.
- Spirituality - Pay attention to what makes you feel connected
to the bigger world, whether that's religion, nature, or being with
friends. Figure out what brings you joy and find a place for that in
your life. Evidence suggests that both wellness and longevity are increased
in individuals who develop nourishing relationships and strong support
An integrative approach to medicine is what many people are seeking.
People want their whole selves cared for, not just their sick body parts.
We are now gathering evidence that shows that these approaches have a
very real impact on our health.
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