- Posted by jdavis on June 23, 2011
By Jane Sheppard, excerpted
Many chronic illnesses can be alleviated or healed completely after making certain changes in these critical areas. Nutritional, Structural, Environmental, Mental-Emotional and Spiritual. Keep in mind that although nutritional, environmental and structural problems may seem physical in nature, these factors can greatly affect your mental and emotional health. Likewise, mental and emotional nurturing can positively affect the physical body. You are one mind-body with all these interrelated, interactive systems, and emotional stress, environmental toxins and processed food will impact your entire being.
Nutrients are needed to provide energy and assist in the functioning of many body processes. Food is a vital part of health, and diet can be a substantial factor in the cause as well as the treatment of many health problems. Take a look at what you eat on a regular basis. Does your diet give you enough of the nutrients you need for good health? Do you eat a lot of processed foods that contain sugar, hydrogenated oils, additives, or white flour? Is your food mostly organic? Pesticides and other chemicals can diminish the functioning of the body, particularly the nervous, hormonal and immune systems
Simple changes to your diet can improve your health considerably. In addition, you may want to supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals and herbs. There has been much research done in this area, and it is best to find out all you can before purchasing any supplement. A certified or licensed nutritionist, naturopathic physician, medical doctor specializing in nutritional medicine, traditional Chinese medical doctor, or herbalist can assist you with nutritional assessment, diet and/or supplementation.
Even if a healthy diet is eaten, the metabolism may not be functioning optimally. Food may not be absorbed into the body properly, causing the cells and tissues to be lacking in the nutrients needed. A doctor specializing in environmental medicine or a qualified homeopath may be helpful in these situations.
The structure of the body includes the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems. The components of these systems give the body support to stand upright and move around in all directions. The nervous system controls nerve impulses from the brain that stimulate important organs and tissue of the body. Improper spinal alignment may cause patterns of strain and impede the flow of nerve impulses and energy to certain organs and tissues, which can result in pain or disease. Chiropractic adjustments can be beneficial in aligning the spine and unblocking the nerve flow.
Many forms of massage and bodywork can help to correct structural imbalances and alleviate symptoms of pain and tension. Alleviating stress is an important aspect of maintaining structural health and strengthening the nervous and immune systems. Exercise is a necessity, and yoga can be helpful. Deep breathing, relaxation techniques, and meditation have been shown to decrease stress and pain by promoting deep relaxation
Unexpressed emotions, physical trauma, poor diet, pollution and stress can cause the flow of energy in the body to become blocked or stagnated. This can weaken immune and other systems. Acupuncture or acupressure can be helpful in releasing the blocked energy and strengthening immunity and overall health. Reiki, therapeutic touch, or energy work can positively affect physical health as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Extensive research done over the last 30 years shows a definite link between environmental toxins and disease. Exposures to synthetic chemicals and natural allergens, such as dust, molds, and pollen can trigger serious physical, neurological, and psychological problems. In addition to typical allergy symptoms such as asthma, eczema, hives and hay fever, environmental toxins can directly cause, contribute to, or aggravate the following health problems: fatigue, arthritis, recurrent infections, stomach aches, constant congestion, headaches, muscle or joint pain, hyperactivity, depression, bowel problems, bad breath, twitches, auto-immune diseases, behavioral problems, memory problems, learning problems, and emotional problems.
Be aware of what you are breathing, touching, applying to their skin, and eating. Remember to take environmental factors into account when you are determining the cause of any disease. There are numerous tests you can do on your own or with a doctor. A doctor practicing environmental medicine will do a thorough environment and nutrition history, as well as a physical examination, in order to uncover possible contributing factors to your health problems. Homeopathy, when prescribed by a qualified classical homeopath, can be very helpful in assisting the body to recover from environmental insults.
There has been an enormous amount of research done on how thoughts and emotions affect the cells, organs and tissues of the body. Many researchers and clinicians have reported the negative health effects of hopelessness, depression and the bottling up of emotions. Thoughts and emotions actually generate physiological substances that affect the processes in the body.
The field of psychoneuroimmunology is helping us to better understand how the nervous, immune and endocrine systems communicate. Neuropeptides and neurotransmitters are messengers released by the brain that influence the cellular activity in the body. White blood cells (key factors in getting rid of bacteria and cancer cells) receive direct messages from the brain through the nervous system. These are just some of the communication paths between the mind and body. Through research and experience, it is becoming increasingly evident that the mind and body are one and the same. Your state of mind definitely influences the development of and the healing of illness.
Beyond the mind-body connection, there is a source of inspiration that you can access. This is your spiritual connection. Working with spirit means reaching beyond your understanding of your own limits to access a greater healing power. You can bring this healing power into your life. It can take the form of prayer, inspiration, intuition or insight. In his book The Healing Journey, O. Carl Simonton, M.D., stated “our work with patients has demonstrated that health involves body, mind, and spirit. And while the mind alone can be used to influence the physical state, it is used most effectively when it is aware of spirit.”
It is not necessary to subscribe to a particular religion in order to work with spirit. You can explore your own beliefs about what spirit means to you. Intuition, gut feelings, hunches, meditation, and prayer are only a few of many spiritual processes. When you pay attention to these “gifts”, you can increase your awareness of your health condition and gain important insights. Nature is a potent healing force and an essential part of the healing process. Meditation can be as simple as observing or counting breaths.
A recent double-blind study looked at the effects of prayer on heart attack patients. These patients all received the same high-tech coronary care, but half were also prayed for by name by prayer groups across the country. The group that was prayed for had fewer deaths, faster recovery and used fewer medications. (Randolph C. Byrd, Positive Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Care Unit Population, Southern Medical Journal, Vol. 81, no.7, July 1993, pp. 826-29) This is one of many studies done that suggest a healing connection to prayer. Larry Dossey, M.D, author of the best-selling books Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine and Prayer is Good Medicine, has looked at 160 of these studies. In talking about prayer, he notes, “…interestingly, the studies on prayer show no correlation between religious affiliation and the effects of prayer in the laboratory. The factors that seem to work are love, compassion, empathy and deep caring.”
Approaching health holistically means that you strive not only to be free from disease, but also to create deeper healing on all levels. Preventive measures of holistic health can become a way of life.
Jane Sheppard is the owner, editor and publisher of “Healthy Child”, as well as an author. While specifically a child health advocate and parent educator her work speaks to people of all ages.