Welcome to the Mind-Body Medicine section – this is for people who have unresolving chronic illness that just isn’t getting better with normal interventions.
You will find a whole raft of articles, research, tips etc in the MBM section of the blog here.
You can read an article I wrote about it here: Mind-Body Medicine For Multiple Sensitivity – Micki Rose
Why Mind-Body Medicine?
When I was poorly, I always said (whined, actually..): ‘I just want to have a normal life, that shouldn’t be too much to ask!’. No, it shouldn’t. And I’ve set this special section up to try and help you get there.
I have spent many years as a naturopathic medical nutritionist running Purehealth Clinic, working with people on the functional side of what may have gone wrong with them. Is it their adrenals, methylation status, a parasite, an allergy, a nutrient deficiency? And on the search usually goes.
This works for many, many people, but what happens when someone has what I call an ‘unresolving chronic illness’ that just isn’t responding to normal mainstream or alternative treatment?
And what if those people can’t tolerate the foods, meds or supplements to help and have ‘avoided’ so many foods (and possibly chemicals and even life!) that they are now left with an extremely restricted diet, a joyless life, a skinny backside and are still not getting better?
That’s what happened to me. I had to find another way to heal myself with ‘non-ingestive’ methods – ‘nil by mouth’, as I call it.
I started researching all the different ways I might be able to stop this chronic illness getting any worse and maybe even reverse it. It was a massive learning curve and one where I had to suspend disbelief quite a lot, but it worked. Ultimately, I now eat most foods safely, have got rid of a lot of pain and chronic fatigue, restless legs and more besides.
People kept asking me what I did, and I found it really hard to explain. So, being a writer, I wrote it down.
First, as a blog ‘Healing Series’ to document what I was doing. I’ve made that now into the Mind-Body Medicine posts category, where I will post even more stuff as I see it – it evolves constantly, so sign up for email updates.
Then, the Healing Series evolved into the Healing Plan, which guides you through the five main steps I took to get better. It was really tough to write, not only because it is so personal, but also because it is such a subjective and instinctive ‘journey’, but I did ultimately – after much wrangling – get it into some order that made sense. The beta readers agreed too – lump in throat time at their comments, which you’ll see in a bit…
Essentially, it has all influenced the way I practice and advise people now. My approach to illness, and chronic, unresolving ones especially, is to use a blend of functional, naturopathic and mind-body techniques to get people well.
For chronic illness, the approach is now to combine my TrulyGlutenFree Plan with this Healing Plan so we are coming at it from both functional medicine and mind-body medicine angles. Much more is explained about this in the Healing Plan itself.
What do you mean by Mind-Body techniques?
We’re not talking woo-woo here. This is scientifically-proven stuff with a shed-load of research behind it. Mind-body techniques might include meditation, hypnotherapy, CBT, brain-retraining, neuroplasticity, knowledge therapy, emotional release techniques and there are many more. They are aimed at:
- calming the amygdala and hypersensitive system down
- building new neural pathways in the brain and weakening the old, unhelpful ones (much like a stroke victim who has to recover the use of a limb, you can create new ‘healing’ brain pathways)
- identifying and releasing the emotional and trauma side of illness, which is huge, trust me, and
- re-setting old conscious and unconscious beliefs.
I tried 47 different techniques over the 3 years it took me to get well and now choose the ones I know work best!
People generally pay lip service to the ‘stress’ involved in illness – I did and I know A LOT about it. We all do. But it can have a massive impact on the immune system and inflammatory nature of our bodies at the very least. If you don’t believe me, read this for a start.
But following a consistent, regular, targeted programme is what’s required in many cases to unpick an unresolving illness – and that’s what I had to do. It’s not as easy as thinking positively and doing a bit of relaxation meditation; it’s a complex job that takes time and dedication BUT you have something to do and you no longer feel like a victim. Best of all, you start seeing improvements and you wonder: ‘how the heck…?!‘
Anyway, my best advice if you have an illness that isn’t responding to normal mainstream or alternative approaches – and especially if you have one of the illnesses mentioned – is to consider this different approach. I wish I had done it years before! It took me three diagnoses of PTSD/emotional-triggered illness and a LOT of suffering before I clocked it. Dur..
Not everyone has PTSD of course, but many of the so-called central sensitivity illnesses (CFS, fibromyalgia, multiple intolerance, chronic pain etc) have a sense of safety and hypervigilance at their heart, so emotional clearance and PTSD type approaches work – even when you are totally convinced the problem is 100% physical, like I was.
The truth of the matter is that emotional illness trapped in the body screams to get out and causes very, very real physical conditions. This is NOT all in your head. I know, I’ve had that pain and fatigue, and I wasn’t imagining it! That’s not what I mean here; this is true mind-body illness and you need mind-body medicine to get past it. That starts with identifying if it is the case for you – and denying it several times, no doubt, as I did! – then accepting it and dealing with it. At the very least, it opens you up to healing, where before it was very likely blocking you.
In the end, I had no choice. I couldn’t eat or take anything to make myself better – including painkillers, meds or supplements, so my body made me have to look at it a different way. And, boy, I wished I had listened earlier. The body is giving us messages; we just have to learn how to listen. I resolved to open up to whatever the ‘Universe’ wanted to send me (and no: I am not one iota religious) and to stop using my analytical, biochemically-trained mind to block myself – and it worked. Thank goodness.
You can read more about the Healing Plan here – and my genuine hope is that it will help you too. To be honest, I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t – although I can’t yet eat hats!
Here starts your journey back to energy, fun, joy – and normality! Fingers crossed!