Do you use alternative medical care for some or most of your healthcare?

Do you regularly see a naturopath? Do you use acupuncture? Please share who is your primary healthcare provider!

5 thoughts on “Do you use alternative medical care for some or most of your healthcare?”

  1. I’ve been wanting to contribute something here for a few months now in support of my friend and colleague Dr. Z. and her current work. I’m a retired naturopathic doctor, blessed to have practiced with her and her colleagues in the women’s health care clinic she established in Evergreen Medical Center. That was many years ago! Since then I have relocated to NH with my partner and our young daughter.

    In Spring 2016 our daughter, at age seven, was diagnosed with insulin dependent type 1 diabetes. Perhaps it is helpful to others to share some of what I have learned (so far) as an older parent of a young vibrant child living with diabetes. Perhaps others who care for a child or family member with a chronic health disorder will also have something to share here!

    Even with a background in medicine helping our daughter control and manage diabetes is daunting. We learned quickly that we are no match for the intelligence and complexities of the body and how it secretes insulin and regulates, stores and releases glucose in response to and in concert with everything else going on in the body and influenced by everything in the internal and external environments.

    Humility. We do our best to take care of our daughter and teach her to take care of herself knowing that we can’t “control” this. We learn together to do our best for safe normal/acceptable ranges and to respond, as calmly as possible, when thing are out of range, with care, compassion and curiosity. She often copes better than we do and we all respond best when there is love instead of fear.

    Trust. We’ve learned to trust our instincts, intuition, our daughter, diabetes technology and the guidance and care of her doctor. Our daughter listens to her body and we listen to her. The technology is amazing and has given her the freedom to mostly just be a kid who enthusiastically enjoys life. Her glucometer communicates with her insulin pump which calcutes her insulin dose to the 10th of a decimal point. How cool is that! Our daughter caught on to managing and understanding this digital magic before we did. So much for having medical degrees!

    Nutrition matters. It would be great if more diabetes educators and specialists understood nutrition. They don’t always, but we do. A natural whole foods diet that balances proteins, fats, complex and simple carbohydrates is important for everyone and especially with a chronic disorder like diabetes. Our family has been vegetarian since before our daughter was born. We are so grateful for the abundance of local farmer’s markets and food co-ops to supply us with organic sources of foods. Feeding our daughter in this way keeps her healthy. We really see a difference in her patterns of glucose levels if we stray. Of course there is flexibility for treats. It’s all about moderation and balance.

    Supplements. We’re moderate with supplements and give our daughter a natural kids multivitamin/mineral supplement daily along with a high quality Omega-3 fatty acid/fish oil supplement which helps protect against vascular damage that can be caused by high circulating glucose levels. For upper respiratory and viral infections we all use homeopathic remedies and specific herbal tinctures for early intervention and support.

    Self care. Being an older parent of a young child takes a lot of energy and inner resources. Diabetes care and support requires a lot of vigilance, attention and planning. Staying present in the present, one day at a time is important. For me walking, meditation, being quiet, reading and connecting with my partner and friends is nourishing and restorative. Getting enough good sleep is crucial. It’s been remarkable to observe my daughter’s rhythms and how she seems to know what she needs. How she innately seems to balance her need for playing and activities with others and quiet play or reading time alone or with us.

    Our daughter, like most kids, is resilient. Like most parents, I am devoted to her health and well being. Mostly I am devoted to her in her wholeness and enthusiasm for life and living. We learn from each other, and, from this metabolic glitch called diabetes. It isn’t always easy. We do our best to care for each other, relax, play, rest and live with gratitude. I used to always tell my patients, and I think Dr. Z. agrees, that self care is an act of self love. All parents and all kids need healthy doses of care and love from self and others daily. Love really is the best medicine!
    Wishing everyone love and well being,
    Michelle

    1. Thank you, Michelle, for your thoughtful and beautiful comments on the care of your daughter and what it takes to help a child with diabetes. I love your observations on how your daughter really is quite tuned in to her own body and how she often knows best when to play and when to rest. And love of self, as a parent, clearly is needed for you and your partner to fully be able to engage in helping your daughter. I am sure she feels your love! Having a team help with her care is critical, even while allowing your naturopathic background to help best monitor her dietary intake. Kudos for your great example of integrated healthcare!

  2. It took a very long time for me to accept that self-care was and is essential. My whole career was dedicated to the care of other people and in the earlier years I often neglected my own care, and learned a valuable lesson in all of that. Some chronic illnesses now began a very long time ago from unabated stress and its physiologic consequences.

    I am appreciative that over 30 years ago I began to embrace a meditation and yoga practice. It helped me then to assess new priorities, and has been foundational in my personal and professional life. It helped me to slow down and focus, to experience life as a human being, rather than a human being. It allowed me to be more present for my own patients and family. And it allowed me to make space for my own self-care.

    Almost 6 years ago there were some catastrophic changes in our family and extended family resulting in the need to be present for 2 severely mentally ill people as an advocate and caretaker, be present for an aging parent after a life-changing fall, and deal with the wake of another extended family member’s death by suicide. These events were nearly concurrent. Meditation, and the support of family and friends, and my practice of the additional limbs of yoga beyond asana, also were my bedrock. I also realized I needed to retire from my practice of medicine to be the family advocate and caretaker that was required by the events that had transpired. It was difficult to give up being a physician in the traditional sense. But another door opened. 6 months after the life-changing family events, I became actively involved with intensively studying yoga as therapy and became a certified yoga therapist and very actively involved in learning about trauma and its effects on our growth and development as human beings and how we can heal in ways that encompass various modalities including traditional medicine and mental health, yoga practices of asana, breath work, meditation, mudra, affirmation, somatics, acupuncture, Ayurveda, EFT, Brain Gym, exercise to assist us on that journey of healing. For the past 5 years I have been involved in the teaching of yoga teachers and mental health therapists in trauma-informed healing modalities. This was teaching what I myself most needed to learn and embody in my daily life for healing into the wholeness that is already there. While alternative options have not eliminated the necessity for more ‘traditional’ care for myself and others, it is a very important part of my life.
    I am very appreciative for the varied modalities and perspectives available to those in their journey and hope there are increasing opportunities for access and affordability of those options to everyone.

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica, for sharing so deeply and beautifully! What a journey you have been through! To take care of two mentally ill people and deal with an aging parent! I appreciate the additional training you got for yourself in yoga and then the other modalities. And now you are teaching yoga and assisting mental health therapists. We are on similar paths, as I also have become involved in several other alternative healing methods. i have found each method allows me to see my body and its energetics in a whole new way. I totally agree with you that trauma has a major impact on how we are now and how it can affect us all our lives. Let’s keep talking!
      Vinette

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