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Are you familiar with the term “echo chamber”? Amongst other things, it’s a media concept that describes how the internet works. Instead of expanding our awareness and experience of the world, it can limit it. The belief systems or “lens” we inadvertently apply in our social media engagements and google browsing, is amplified and reflected back to us. We only see what we already believe to be true. As the internet giants adapt to keep us engaged, our society becomes more polarized, with more extreme political views, and violence. Healthcare is not immune to this effect.
Trouble sleeping at night because of an enlarged prostate? Tired of waking up more than three times at night to go to the bathroom? Perhaps the only advice given to you is to stop drinking water before bedtime, or stopping coffee and soda. This advice can be helpful, but it does not help get to the root cause.
The Healing Power of Tea
I love tea. One of my favorite daily things to do is to make myself a cup of tea and take a moment to slowly sip it. However, when I first started practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor I gave little respect to the humble herbal tea. It was when I did a residency at a first nations health clinic in downtown Toronto that I truly learned the healing power of a cup of tea. In naturopathic medicine we often use tinctures, which are alcohol extractions of plants.
In medicine, when an infection becomes chronic, we generally consider that either the immune system is failing to control the infection, such as in HIV and AIDs, or that the infection is able to hide from the immune system, such as with the herpes virus that causes cold sores. Evidence suggests that chronic infection with any of the microbes associated with Lyme disease symptoms, falls into both categories.
When treating chronic infections, many mainstream immunological approaches attempt to boost the immune response with a vaccine, or by applying cytokine therapy.
In my field of work, I see several clients struggling with chronic stress and anxiety. These individuals often find themselves pulled into habitual and problematic thinking patterns, which usually include (in cognitive behavioural therapy terms) catastrophic thinking, worrying and over-planning, should-ing, rumination, black and white thinking, and mind reading. Because thinking in this way has become quite automatic to the stressed or anxious individual, it can happen outside of their conscious awareness. Before realizing it,
Over the last few years, I’ve developed an awe and respect for the illness we’ve come to identify as Chronic Lyme Disease. Like the great Eastern gurus who guide their students to deeper levels of self-awareness, Lyme disease pushes people to more fully, develop their faith and spirituality. A patient who has healed from chronic symptoms has done a lot of soul searching, and practiced forgiveness and gratitude. This guru teaches us many lessons, including the paradigm-shifting awareness of what an “infection” is. Chronic Lyme Disease is not an infection.
Physiotherapists are primary health care providers that have an in-depth knowledge of the body and specialized hands-on clinical skills that can assess, diagnose and treat a variety of conditions and injuries. How physiotherapists work within the guidelines is completely different, which is just one reason why I love my job. I have created my own philosophy, which is often different from other physiotherapists.
Sarah Knight has recently brought an internationally-known therapeutic practice to the clinic, that focuses on healing uncomfortable family dynamics, including inherited patterns and traumas that go back generations. Some people and old-world medicines refer to this as resolving energy patterns carried forward from our ancestors. Science calls it epi-genetics.
I stepped in to the centre of the circle of people and my posture changed immediately. I slouched, my toes turned inward, and my gaze shifted fearfully towards the floor as I stood several paces away from both my “husband” and my “daughter”. My body became very much aware of a need to get her as close to me as possible, while steering well clear of his strong presence.
I was not actually married to this man, I’d only just met him earlier that day, but we had both been asked by the young woman to step in to the roles of her parents, in a process known broadly as “Family Constellations”. We were given no information, but such is the experience of a participant who is willing to just follow the lead of their own body in a Family Constellations workshop. As it turned out, we were embodying her parents pretty accurately, and through the careful lead of the facilitator this young woman gained some great insights, and likely took a bit of a leap in her own healing journey, as the constellation revealed clues as to how her family imprint holds her back.
As the beautiful summer slowly comes to an end many parents are preparing for the upcoming school season. With new lunch boxes and sharpened pencils also come new viruses and colds. There are many things we can do to strengthen our children’s immune systems, including ensuring that they get a good night’s sleep, eat a wholesome diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and keep their daily sugar intake below 30g. Supplemental supports can also be very helpful in keeping young immune systems strong. There are many, many options on the shelves. Here are two that I feel are essential.