MY PHILOSOPHY OF HEALTH AND HEALING

Health and illness are the results of a complex interplay between mind, body and spirit. From another perspective, it is the result of the interplay between our genetics and environment. We cannot change our genetics, but knowledge of our genetic strengths and weaknesses can be invaluable.

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We receive two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Often, one of these genes is more functional (gives more beneficial information) than the other. Our diet and lifestyle can help determine which of these copies our body utilizes the most.

As another example, due to genetics, one individual may require 100 times more of an essential nutrient than the average person. Providing that nutrient in adequate quantities is essential for good health. A wide variety of physical, psychosocial, and energetic stressors contribute to disease. Identifying and minimizing these stressors (which can be thought of as "obstacles to healing") is essential to achieving and maintaining optimal health.

One of the main stressors are environmental toxins. As humankind has flooded our environment with toxic chemicals, every person on the planet has heavy metals such as mercury and lead, pesticides such as DDT and DDE, and industrial chemicals such as PCB's, dioxins and flame-retardants in our bodies- even newborn babies, who are exposed to these toxins in utero. Detoxification and minimizing toxic exposure is crucial to good health.

Another omnipresent stressor is pathogens, in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. We are all exposed to these and have these within our bodies. However, some people peacefully coexist with pathogens while others are devastated by them, depending on the number and type of pathogens and the strength of our immune system, which is determined by genetics and other environmental factors such as toxic exposures and psychosocial stress.

A commonly overlooked yet omnipresent stressor is the electromagnetic fields we are all bathed in, from the electromagnetic fields of the computers we sit at to those given off by TV's, stereos, refrigerators and microwave ovens. Cell phones and cordless phones emit powerful electromagnetic fields, and many of us live and work near cell-phone and pager antennas and high-tension power lines, which can result in profound adverse health effects.

Nutrient deficiencies are becoming increasingly common, due to our exposure to growing levels of environmental toxins (and over-the-counter and prescription medications) which can interfere with the absorption and utilization of nutrients, as well as the decreasing nutrients found in so much of our modern food supply. Just as important are excesses of foods that provide little or no nutritional benefit, such as sugars and hydrogenated fats.

Many people also have hidden food allergies that contribute to illness. Another major stressor is trauma and injuries. This often begins with compression of the skull as it passes thru the birth canal, and continues with sprains, strains, contusions, fractures, concussions and herniated discs. Surgery, lacerations and dental work leave scars, which can imbalance our health. Osteopathy, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy and other forms of bodywork, as well as physical therapies and neural therapy, can help address these problems.

Psychosocial stress has a tremendous impact on our health. Most people who experience physical or emotional abuse and/or neglect early in life will have significant adverse health effects unless they actively work to heal from these traumas. Emotions such as fear and anger are just as toxic as chemicals and pathogens, while feelings of love and happiness are important aspects of health and healing. I know of no illness that is not aggravated by stress. As the world we live in becomes more hectic and stressful, it can be an increasing challenge to cope with stress and maintain equanimity. Of course, not only do our emotions affect our physical health, but the physical stresses of toxins, electromagnetic pollution, pathogens, nutrient deficiencies, and hormonal imbalances can profoundly affect our emotions.

All of the above stressors can contribute to the growing epidemic of hormonal imbalances, especially hypothyroidism, adrenal hormones, and male and female sex hormones. This can create profound health problems. One of the newest discoveries in modern medicine is the growing problem of hyperviscosity, or thick blood, caused by the interaction of genetics, toxic exposures, pathogens, stress and nutrient deficiencies. When the blood becomes too thick our tissues become starved of oxygen and essential nutrients, leading to a variety of pain syndromes, chronic infections, fatigue, cardiovascular disease and increased risk of cancer. Temporarily thinning the blood may be a crucial therapy to allow other treatments to work and to eliminate pathogens.

Proper nutrition is an essential component of healing. No matter what other therapies are given, if we are deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids or amino acids we will be unable to fully heal. Nutrient needs vary tremendously, based on genetics and environmental stressors (for example, toxins can inhibit enzymes, dramatically increasing our need for nutrients). Just taking a nutrient is no guarantee it will be properly absorbed and utilized, so it is important to give nutrients in forms that the body can use.

Sometimes removing obstacles to healing and providing proper nutrition is all someone needs to heal, but many times the person remains imbalanced. This is because our bodies are electromagnetic mechanisms as well as physical/chemical mechanisms. Energy-based therapies are often essential to healing. As a practitioner, I find this to be the most rewarding (yet also most challenging) level to work with.

There are many modalities of energetic healing. The one I specialize in is classical homeopathy (see my articles on this in our article section). My associate, Cindy Quattro, is a licensed acupuncturist who also does medical Qi Gong. Other energetic modalities include light and sound.