My Big “Why”
Being a mom, an acupuncturist, nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, friend, sister, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, and health advocate, I have many, many reasons for being who I am today.
At age 10 I began suffering from headaches on a regular basis. By the time I was 16, I was having daily headaches. My worried, caring and proactive parents set out to figure out the cause. I am grateful they left no stone unturned.
I saw every medical specialist, received every kind of test. When the best of modern medical diagnostic know-how found no reason for my daily pain, all they had to offer me was drugs. But we refused to stop there.
I continued down the path of alternative medicine as well, once Western Medicine essentially failed me. Years later the only change I experienced from Western Medicine was severe damage in my intestinal tract, adding to my daily pain.
Despite my chronic pain, I refused to let it take over my life. I was still highly successful in high school and college, studied abroad for a year, worked overseas for summer internships, etc.
However, the chronic pain and medications took their toll. Then I discovered Acupuncture and Alternative medicine.
Though my recovery was slow, and my journey continues to this day, these therapies turned my life around.
Discovering Alternative Solutions
Chronic pain became the passion that drove me in my Acupuncture practice and that quickly expanded to all the chronic issues that are rampant today and for which modern, conventional medicine is often baffled and of little use.
In fact, in an effort to fix chronic issues, conventional medicine’s tools are often integral in deepening the problem. By focusing on symptoms and directing treatment only (usually) toward stopping symptoms at all cost, they (conversational therapies) frequently make matters worse, if not immediately, then in the long run.
For the past 9+ years, I have had the honor and fortune of working in an integrated medical setting. This has been amazing, since I have been able to work closely with western medical providers who have a desire and passion for using alternative, traditional treatments whenever possible in order to NOT fall into the trap that modern medicine often creates when attempting to treat chronic, complex disorders.
I have learned an incredible amount about the brilliance of modern medical diagnostics, testing, advancements and treatment when it is warranted.
I have been able to truly INTEGRATE for myself how to best choreograph the dance between the BEST of modern medicine and alternative, Traditional, Eastern/Naturopathic medicine.
I feel extremely fortunate to have the clinical experience that I have; to have worked with some of the best MD’s, Acupuncturists, Pain specialists, Nurse Practitioners, and Integrated practitioners of all sorts.
I feel that although I am far from “cured” and still a student “practicing” my medicine, that I have come to a place where I want to share what I have, what I know; and, on my most confident days, I feel that I have a lot to share. And I decided not to wait any longer to share it. I decided not to wait til I am perfect to share what I have experienced and learned and lived.
The Dependence Dilemma
My belief is that the pendulum of our cultural philosophy has swung too far to the side of technology and the “Doctors know best” belief that medicine has come so far that the common person can no longer possibly know how to keep herself healthy without outside help, know-how and intervention.
We are so advanced in every way in our modern world that the average person has come to feel inadequate, useless and incapable of ever figuring out the machine (whether it’s the body, the Iphone, or the computer). This leaves the majority of humans feeling like victims and has put the power in the hands of “the experts”.
It has taken the instinctual, maternal knowledge away from moms’ and parents’ and placed it into the hands of those wearing white coats, making policy, creating the Food Guides, and making the laws.
Since when did we turn to a government agency to tell us what to eat? There were more grain and agricultural lobbyists involved in adopting the USDA Food Pyramid than there were nutrition experts. Since when did we allow a chemical company to tell us what cereal was healthy? Or allow the sugar and grain producers to dictate what foods make it onto the American Heart Association’s “Heart Healthy” ranking system.
If you knew who decided that butter was bad and sugar was heart healthy you’d be utterly shocked and disgusted. Unknowingly, we as parents have allowed the unthinkable to happen, because we trust our government and health authorities.
We have allowed the grain industry to tell us that our growing children should eat 11 low-fat servings of grains daily doused in highly processed, non-fat, hormone-laden milk, or even chocolate milk, as long as its is non-fat.
We have allowed the pharmaceutical companies to take away our parental instinct about the fact that our child’s sniffles can be handled at home with chicken soup and instead run to the pediatrician’s office for a vaccine or a round of antibiotics.
Back to Basics
My philosophy may seem simplistic. It may seem out-dated. It may seem naive, or primitive. But when my research points me back to a time when the nutrition that our great-grandmothers used, the bone broth soups, the farm fresh butter and raw dairy and home cooked meals, correspond to a simultaneous lack of incidents of heart disease, cavities, obesity, auto-immune disease, degenerative disorders; I cannot help but look deeper.
Thousands of hours of study and research have revealed mountains of evidence of a time when people knew they had to eat special diets in order to give birth to babies that survived; and those babies developed straight teeth and no diabetes or ADHD; when people knew how to prevent and treat measles with vitamins and didn’t freak out about it; when grandma knew her homemade bone-broth soup was what cured a cold and that allowing a fever to run its course was common knowledge.
I ask you this: have we gotten healthier in the past 30 years with our low fat diets, our quadrupled vaccine schedules, our fast-food fanaticism, a medical system that ranks #1 in the world, our frequent dental cleanings?
Many think great-grandma was primitive and that but for Modern medicine, we would have all gone extinct. Many think the life expectancy of our ancestors of 10,000 yrs ago was like 30 years. But if you remove trauma and infection, our ancestors’ life expectancy was actually as good as ours and they lived 80-90 years without arthritis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
If you combine hygiene, modern sanitation and emergency medicine we have ridded our environment of the things that killed us 10,000 years ago. Unfortunately, we’ve added a plethora of chronic, painful, degenerative, and deforming diseases instead. How? Why?
I believe it is because we have moved so far from our natural state, swung so far to the extreme of technological and medical advancements that we have lost sight of the fact that we are human animals whose DNA has been developing over hundreds of thousands of years and cannot adapt to the challenges we have thrown at it in the past 80 years.
We have gotten so swept up in the love affair with everything MODERN and new and shiny and advanced that we have left our bodies behind, panting and suffocating, trying to catch up.
This generation of children is predicted to be sicker and to live shorter lives than previous generations for the first time ever.
We have prayed to the altar of Modern Medicine for the past 80 years and lost our intuition, our heritage, our traditions, our ancestral knowledge of nutrition and natural medicine. We have been told by authorities how we are supposed to eat, sleep, drink and raise our kids, not knowing that these authorities may not have our best interest in mind, but financial gain.
Coming Full Circle
From chronic pain and doctors and medicine to the opposite end of the spectrum that acupuncture and herbs could cure all; then into integrated medicine practice and raising my own children; back around to the truth the we are our own best healers.
Here’s what I know: our bodies are amazing when we give them the right inputs.
And we do know best when it comes to our bodies and that of our children’s bodies. Do we need the miracles of Modern Medicine sometimes? You bet. Do we defer to the doc or follow our instincts? Sometimes it depends.
These are difficult questions for sure. But armed with enough knowledge, we can make these decisions and move forward knowing we are making the best possible decisions for our families, the planet and our species.
Yes it’s big. We do have to make decisions that take into account our children, the environment, the bees, our sanity, society and our children’s children.
The place I have arrived is that by erring on the side of nature, the innate healing ability of the body given the nutritional abundance that our ancestors were acutely aware of, being in nature, moving more, eating as close to-the-earth, least refined and as varied a diet as possible and most of all loving deeply, slowing down and fully enjoying our lives is how we bring the pendulum back. Back to center. Back into balance.
I invite you to join me on this journey that is ever evolving. My passion is to help you take back your health, take back your intuitive brilliance, live your fullest life and leave our children healthier, not sicker than previous generations.