Have you been feeling under the weather, wired but tired, achy and exhausted, or you just lost your zest for life? Maybe you already asked your primary care physician for advice, but they ran general blood labs that didn’t show anything they were concerned about. So, you got no answers and don’t know what to do. This is a frustrating place to find yourself in, but I have some good news for you.
As an integrative health practitioner grounded in Chinese medicine, naturopathic and functional medicine, I can tell you that your health concerns are not something you’re just making up. They are warning signs that your health is impaired and needs attention. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get back on track, improve your health, and start feeling like yourself again.
How things can creep up on you
We look at three important areas to assess where you are not functioning optimally and how we can support you. Number one is a close look at your stress response. There are so many things in life that can trigger your stress response that it may be hard to even pinpoint them. They include stressful events and circumstances in your life, poor nutrition, toxins, infections, inflammation, and more. These triggers, over time, will impair your body’s natural ability to respond to stressors and then return to a calm state. Physiologically, we are talking about the regulation of your hormone production, in particular your primary stress hormone cortisol made by the adrenal glands. Hormones don’t act in isolation but communicate with one another, so other important hormones made by your brain, thyroid, and ovaries or testes can also be affected. Maybe you heard of the HPA axis and how it can become dysregulated, creating all kinds of health problems.
But there’s more
In connection with your stress hormone regulation, your gut can also lose its stride. These body functions go hand in hand, and problems with your gut can cause or be caused by your stress response. Food choices, available nutrients, and the health of your friendly gut bacteria can contribute to a deteriorating environment we call dysbiosis, meaning your whole digestion is off kilter, you get uncomfortable symptoms, and may lose the ability to absorb nutrients while keeping the bad guys out of your body, a result of what’s called a leaky gut (or intestinal hyperpermeability, if you prefer). This can lead to allergies, autoimmunity, brain problems, inflammation causing joint pain, etc.
Along with these issues, your detox systems will be overburdened and no longer expel metabolic waste and toxins from your body efficiently, so they start accumulating in your tissues. If that sounds worrisome to you, you’re right. We don’t want to let these things go on so long that you start developing serious illnesses.
Let’s restore your health
The goal of a holistic approach to health is to identify root causes, not just alleviate symptoms. So, once we’ve done our detective work together, we won’t recommend you take pain killers, PPI’s, antidepressants, and other pharmaceutical drugs (unless absolutely necessary) but will teach you steps you can take to reverse these imbalances and gradually get your health back naturally. This is the exact opposite of a pill-to-the-ill approach. We want to use gentle, health-supporting strategies, like whole foods nutrition, cleansing, stress management strategies, etc., complemented by appropriate nutritional supplements and botanical protocols. You may want to add acupuncture and bodywork to your care, practice yoga or tai chi, and learn how to meditate. You won’t walk away with a drug prescription in you pocket but a plan to start making lifestyle changes that bring health and happiness back into your life. And you won’t be doing it alone.
This is an approach that takes commitment and effort, I won’t sugarcoat it. You should start noticing some improvements soon. However, to really reap maximum benefits, you will have to dedicate yourself to this new way of living for at least three to six months, maybe even longer. But I promise you that the gains you’ll make in terms of your health and wellbeing will be so compelling that you may end up deciding to continue practicing many things you’ve learned from our work together for a long time or forever. This is because your body has an enormous potential to heal itself if you give it the right kind of support.
© 2021 Christiane Siebert