Integrative Holistic Health
Integrative Holistic Health
Let’s face it, eating and food rank are essential survival needs. Diet, nutririon and supplement information is searched for thousands if not millions of times per day online and it is one of the fastest growing wellness areas. With a few keywords, a search engine page pulls up a front page filled with sponsored listings for apps, nutrition certification programs, books, blogs and coaching.Not to mention, we’ve all encountered someone preaching the benefits of a fad.
But what happens when a desire to eat healthy becomes an obsession? A common pattern I have seen with patients with body image issues or in recovery from eating disorders (or other additions) is a preoccupation with long term restrictive regimes that may have negative effects on their health and relationships. While eating a healthy well balanced diet is important. Realistically we all encounter situations where the only option is what is in front of us and it is break a regular routine or go hungry.
In cases where the propcpatiion or obsessive nature of following a specific diet begins to create issues for an individual,, clinicians are recognizing patterns of what is defined as Orthorexia Nervosa. While note currently recogznied in the DSM-5 (The primary diagnostic manual used for mental health concerns), it is currently being researched for the relationship with other eating disorders as well as anxiety and depression.
Chinese Herbal Medicine Restores Inner Balance
Let’s face it. Most of the medications that you can buy at the drug store or pick up from your pharmacist mask symptoms. They are a temporary fix.
Although a temporary fix may make you feel better, the underlying issue is not addressed. This means that a large percentage of people deal with the same disease or disorder year after year.
What if you could change that?
What if—instead of chasing symptoms—you could correct the underlying cause of symptoms?
What Is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine relies on roots, twigs, leaves, seeds, flowers, fruit, stones, shells, and even insects. Most often, the herbs used in an herbal formula are sourced from China (and rigorously screened for pesticides and heavy metals).
What goes into a formula depends on your unique body type and your unique needs. The same diagnostic tools that are used in acupuncture are also used in Chinese herbal medicine.
Unfortunately, few of us in the United States take herbal medicine seriously.
But as it turns out, the right herbal formula can treat anything from a serious infectious disease to depression and insomnia.
This is because Chinese herbal medicine heals imbalance at the root.
Think of it like this: When the body in pain or sick, it is giving you a message. If you only treat the symptoms of a disease or disorder, you ignore the message that you are receiving from your body.
Ignoring the body throws it into a deeper state of imbalance.
Herbal Medicine Can Work With The Body’s Biochemistry
Chinese herbal medicine dates back to over 2,000 years ago. Because of its long recorded history, Chinese herbal medicine is unlike any other form of herbal medicine.Today’s practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine are standing on centuries of documented clinical experience.
And it is not just the history of clinical experience.
Herbal formulas—or specific combinations of herbs—have been passed down through generations. Chinese herbal formulas are fine-tuned and specifically crafted to bring balance back to the body. They are able to stimulate the body’s own ability to heal.
But does old medicine apply to modern-day ailments—like heart disease, stubborn weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, or autoimmune disorders?
The answer is, “Yes!”
The Science Behind Chinese Herbal Medicine
When used correctly and in the right combination, Chinese herbs have the ability to restore balance within the body.
In other words, herbal medicine can create a shift in the biochemistry of the body. With herbal medicine, you can gently and holistically correct the root of a disorder.
For example, got chronic pain?
Old, lingering pain that acts up from time to time is often the result of inflammation. Studies show that very specific herbs used in Chinese medicine effectively shut down the inflammatory pathway. This is more effective than heavy narcotics, which dull our ability to sense pain.
Other research confirms that herbal medicine can help prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy—even when she is having trouble conceiving.
And according to a 2010 Cochrane Review, herbal medicine can also help relieve symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). All of this and more without any negative side effects.
Remember: Herbal medicine should only be used under the guidance of a licensed practitioner.
What To Expect
A custom formula is designed to fit your unique needs. This includes allergies or any medication that you may be taking. There are 4 different forms of herbal medicine that you may receive:
Raw: Raw herbs are whole herbs that you cook at home in water. Raw herbs are portioned and packaged, typically into 4 doses taken over the course of 2 days. Raw herbs must be cooked into a tea—or decoction—before consuming. Keep in mind that the taste of a decoction can range from extremely bitter to sweet or pungent.
Powder: Powdered herbs are already cooked and prepared for you. Available as single herbs or in an herbal formula, powdered herbs are most effective when mixed into warm water.
Pill or capsule: An herbal formula can be either pressed into a pill or encapsulated. Especially useful when traveling, if you spend most of your day away from home, or if you find it hard to stomach the taste of raw herbs.
Topical: Topical herbs are only used on the skin—as a compress, an ointment, or a wash.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Diet and Nutrition are often connected to both the bodies unique needs to restore and retain balance and a diet factoring in seasonal and local produce. As the seasons change, what we need to adapt to the
changing conditions is frequently related to what is growing locally and in season. By adjusting our menus to the season, the body is able to make the most of what we take in energetically. This has a positive impact on digestion as well as being able to maintain a healthy, nutrient dense menu on a budget without spending extra on imported produce. Many seasonal foods will also be appropriate for helping the body stay in harmony with the effects of seasonal changes.
While the temperatures in Southern California have been remaining warm (and even hot on some days) and dry throughout fall, the days are shorter and the nights are getting cooler. However, since it is fall and we are officially moving into the holiday season, here are some ideas for making the most out of the seasonal squashes currently available at most local grocery stores and farmers markets. A few of my favorites include: Spaghetti Squash, Butternut Squash and my newest discovery Delicata Squash. Happy Cooking!
(all recipes link to there original posting site and are also shared via Facebook each Monday) photo: Delicata Sqaush
Roasted Delicate Squash with Tumeric by Gina Homolka
Easy Vegan Pumpkin or Squash Pie by Nava Atlas
Coconut Curry Soup with Sweet Potato Noodles by Taylor Kiser
Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes with Sriracha Pumpkin Aioli by Jenn
A key value that I was raised with is the importance of being of service in the community through the support of local organizations and education. Through initially working in social services after moving to the Los Angeles area, I have had an opportunity to become familiar with a wide variety of organizations, and actively volunteer when able to. To provide information on both how to get involved, as well as resources that may be of assistance, I will be sharing information at www.facebook.com/balancefromwithin every Saturday and include a monthly blog post with more in depth information on the organizations. Remember, even if you are reading this and unable to contribute financially, time is always an appreciated gift and there are organizations to help and support many causes and connect with the community. In gratitude and service
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. " Albert Schweitzer