Taking Charge of Our Own Health
“Within all of us is the archetype of the Divine healer. This Divine healer is the true healer in all beings, not any particular individual or special personality. To heal ourselves we must set this Divine healer in motion within ourselves.” – Sri Dhanvantari Namah
In the wee hours of March 31, 2012, I awoke suddenly with my heart pounding out of my chest. I noticed that my left hand was grossly swollen and itching and that the swelling was working its way up my arm. I got up in a panic and tried to assess the situation. Being alone, I let fear get the better of me. I worried that I was having an anaphylactic shock reaction and so I reluctantly called 911.
My apartment is just down the street from a fire station so within minutes there were firemen pounding up my stairs followed by two EMS paramedics. It was 3am. Gulp. So embarrassing. They hooked me up to a heart monitor and gave me an okay there, but the paramedic taking my blood pressure told me it was 200/100. Yikes. They asked me if I wanted to get dressed before they took me to the hospital. Well, the word hospital got my attention and my holistic health persona took over. I asked if I could be having an anaphylactic reaction and they said that although it looked like an allergic reaction, it didn’t appear to be life threatening. I declined a ride to the hospital, signed the waiver and said thank you.
Somehow I managed to fall back asleep and the next day, which was a Saturday, I begrudgingly ended up at a clinic with my still-swollen hand. I was relieved to see that there was only one other patient in the waiting room. But my optimism was dashed when the doctor came in to see me. She walked into the examining room, turned her back on me and curtly said “Why are you here?” No handshake, no niceties.
When I told her what had happened, she took a quick look at my hand, declared it was cellulitis and that I needed an antibiotic. I replied that I would only consider taking an antibiotic if it was a staph infection and asked if she would please draw blood. “Oh…you’re one of those healthy types who don’t take antibiotics,” she said, and followed with a mini rant about “us.”
I was speechless. I questioned her cellulitis diagnosis because there was no pain, only itching. She ignored me and pulled out the blood pressure cuff. My blood pressure was still elevated, no surprise after this stressful ordeal, but it was considerably lower than 200/100. The doctor immediately started writing me a prescription for high blood pressure medication (HCTZ) and one for an antibiotic (Keflex). I bit my tongue, paid my bill and made a half-hearted effort to make it to the pharmacy on time, only to find it had closed an hour earlier than what was posted on the door. Was this a sign?
That night I reached for my trusty oil of oregano remembering that in addition to having anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, it also acts as an antihistimine. I took one drop orally and put a drop in some coconut oil and rubbed it on my hand. The next morning, my hand was almost back to normal.
Here comes my disclaimer. I am not a medical doctor or a nurse. I did spend one semester in nursing school before transferring to art school and once had a dream about Florence Nightingale. But in all seriousness, I am not dishing out medical advice. I am simply telling my story and trying to illustrate the importance of taking back the power of healing our bodies.
Since overcoming the pain of fibromyalgia using a holistic approach, I have learned how to listen to my body and I always seek a mind, body, spirit approach to healing first. If I need a little helping hand, naturopaths, acupuncturists, homeopaths, herbalists and energy healers are my first line of defense. Yes, I am grateful that there are Western medical doctors who can mend broken limbs, stitch up wounds and perform life-saving surgeries. And I know many who are caring individuals with great bedside manners. But I believe their alliance with pharmaceuticals is often misguided.
I feel strongly that antibiotics are overprescribed and I have not used them myself in years. I sometimes wonder what it would take for me to turn to them again. I thought, well, if I had pneumonia I would probably take them. Instead, I got a nasty case of whooping cough and lived to tell about it after being healed with the help of a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor. Or maybe a staph infection would warrant antibiotics. But then I got a staph infection on my shoulder and, against everyone’s advice, I opted for Chinese herbs and energy healing. The infection was gone within days and my shoulder was intact, with not even a visible scar.
I personally don’t think any pharmaceutical drug should be taken lightly–over the counter or behind the counter. Their overuse today is mind-blowing and the statistics are bleak. According to an article last year in the New York Times poisoning is now the leading cause of injury death, and 90 percent of poisonings were caused by drugs.
I did take the matter of my elevated blood pressure seriously. My diet is very healthy so I doubted that was the culprit. I meditate daily and am calmer than I’ve ever been, but I decided to monitor my blood pressure twice a day for a few weeks. It was elevated for a few days after the emergency before it began creeping back down to a normal range. Probably the most helpful thing in bringing it down was not a pill, but an email I received from my friend Ross telling me about a method he learned from Gregg Braden, a pioneer in bridging science and spirituality, to achieve heart coherence which also lowers blood pressure. I have pasted it below.
One evening I took my blood pressure and it was 158/80–higher than it had been in days. I decided to do Gregg’s exercise, combined with a little aromatherapy. I gently inhaled Young Living’s Peace and Calming essential oil blend as I meditated. After 10 minutes, I re-took my pressure. It had dropped to 127/76!
Here are a few key things to remember if you are interested in regaining control over your health:
- Our bodies are all different. Even the healthiest food or herb may not be right for you. Get to know your body.
- Take the time to educate yourself about all types of healing modalities so you can make smart choices. Finding a primary care doctor who is open to all methods of healing is well worth searching for.
- Eat organic, seasonal foods whenever possible. Avoid processed and genetically modified foods.
- Drink pure filtered water (shower with it also), and lots of it.
- Learn to meditate. There is nothing about the mind, body or spirit that isn’t improved through meditation.
- Be patient. It sometimes takes years for the body to reach a state of dis-ease and it takes time to get back into its normal state of balance.
- And last, but not least, always always trust your intuition.
Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart (From Gregg Braden)
Place one or both hands on your chest, over your heart.
1. Think of something that makes you smile – something you are grateful for.
2. Hold that thought while you start taking slow, somewhat deep, conscious breaths.
3. Notice your heart and your hand(s) rising and falling on your chest. Do this for at least 3-5 minutes.
It WILL help immediately and for hours afterward.
Repeat as necessary.
Here are some books that have helped me on my own healing journey:
- Perfect Health: The Complete Mind/Body Guide and Quantum Healing by Deepak Chopra M.D.
- Radical Healing by Rudolph Ballentine M.D.
- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
- Truth Heals: What You Hide Can Hurt You by Deborah King
- Foods that Heal by Bernard Jensen
- Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northrup M.D.
- New Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way by Susun Weed
- Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford