Tag Archives: integrative medicine

Healing Truths I Learned Riding My Motorcycle

It recently occurred to me that most of the truths I learned about achieving wellness and healing have parallel truths I learned while riding my motorcycle. Healing is as much a mental process as a physical. I hope the following wellness tips bring a smile to your face and help you advance in your healing journey.

Dr. Pamela's Motorcycle

Focus on Where You’re Headed, Not Where You Are

Most beginning motorcycle riders find that cornering (making a turn) is one of the hardest skills to master. Cornering has so many different facets to consider that schools exist which have the sole purpose of teaching how to corner more effectively. One of the first lessons learned is that the best way to turn without winding up in a ditch or in oncoming traffic is to focus on where you want to end up. (This tidbit works while driving a car, too, but is most effective in motorcycle riding.) It’s a simple fact that when you focus on your ultimate destination, your mind automatically triggers your body to do what’s needed to take you there. Most beginning riders get hung up looking down at the road lines or at their own front tire and wind up veering far away from where they need to be. Focusing on our destination is especially important for physical healing.

I find many people become so focused on being sick they fail to focus on becoming well. Their thoughts become burdened by their physical challenges and they stop thinking about regaining health. I know how easy it is to stop focusing on wellness and to become almost obsessed with the many physical problems you’re battling. I’ve been there. I can speak from experience that true healing requires the ability to look past today’s challenges to focus on tomorrow’s victories. Doing so will be easier some days than others, but committing to focus on your end goal will help you feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.

Always Wear Protective Gear

Nothing concerns me more than seeing a motorcycle rider zipping along without a helmet and without any protective gear. Common sense dictates that wearing protective gear will help protect one from the unexpected. In our household, one of the basic rules each of our kids has to follow before riding anything with two wheels is that full protective gear is always required. Ignoring this rule and not taking basic precautions for protection would be foolish. The same is true of wellness.

I am often amazed when I meet with people who want to feel better but who are not doing basic things to maintain the health they have or who are not doing the things they know they must to control a specific condition. For example, a diabetic who eats everything, doesn’t exercise and who never checks a blood sugar is asking for trouble. Regardless of the health challenge one is working to reverse, there are simple lifestyle habits that must be done on a daily basis. Occasionally skipping a day is acceptable, but ignoring basic health needs on a continual basis may result in worsening health or in an additional diagnosis. Taking full precautions to protect oneself from harm just makes sense. I’m not talking about extreme changes, but am merely referencing the basics. I estimate it only takes me about 60 seconds to put on my protective riding gear. Taking the steps needed to improve health are also rarely complicated or time consuming.

Speeding Doesn’t Get You There Faster

If you do the math, you’ll quickly find that riding fifteen to twenty miles over the speed limit only gains two to three minutes on short trips. The time gained is minimal and typically does not justify the added risks. Driving from one location to another is a process. It would be nice to speed up the process or skip a mile or two, but that usually isn’t possible.

The same is true in healing. Healing takes time. Most health conditions develop over time, so it logically will take time for your body to reverse conditions. One of the basic healing guidelines I learned in school was that the body heals conditions in the reverse order they occurred, and that one can typically expect the body to need about one month of healing time for each year the condition has existed. This is just a guideline – each person’s situation will be very unique. Sometimes the body can reverse a condition very rapidly, sometimes additional time is needed. Regardless, the fact remains that the body requires time to heal. Healing is a process. Mainstream medicine says you can skip the process by taking a pill, but this merely hides the symptom instead of reversing the problem. Healing takes times. We live in a society used to receiving instant gratification. Our bodies don’t work that way. Patience may sometimes be needed to stop being a patient.

Drop the “When Not If” Mentality

When I was learning to ride, one of the things I heard over and over again was the mantra: “It’s not a question of IF, it’s a question of WHEN you’ll drop your bike.” So what naturally happened? I developed a nagging fear of dropping my bike and dropped my brand new Buell within two months of buying it. Here’s my problem with the “when not if” mentality: It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you have those seeds of impending doom planted in your subconscious, they inevitably take root and bloom if you don’t work to pull out that weed of deception.

This is closely related to focusing on your desired destination and not on where you are now. I find many people become terrified of and focus on the potential outcomes of their condition instead of being thankful for the health they have now. I recently chatted with a woman who has had active cancer for over fifteen years. The doctors keep telling her she should be dead, but she refuses to listen. She gets up every day and gives thanks for how good she feels – even when she doesn’t. Her blood work continues to improve, she feels better every day, and her doctors can’t figure it out. By focusing on the positive and ignoring the potential negative consequences of her illness, she is maintaining a high degree of health. There are no guarantees. Just because you’ve received a diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re going to have every possible complication associated with that diagnosis. Focus on your wellness and maintain a positive attitude! Focusing on the positive actually creates physiological changes in our body chemistry that aid healing. Keeping a positive attitude may accomplish more healing than anything else. Even if it doesn’t, you feel better when you focus on the positive, so give it a try!

Everybody Loves a Custom

Anyone who’s ever watched the Discovery Channel knows many hit shows revolve around taking a stock motorcycle or stock parts and creating a custom look. We have a fascination with taking what the factory hands us and customizing it to fit our own personality and style. Most bike owners find customizing their bike is a back and forth process that is never really done. We need to use this same approach with wellness!

Every eating plan and lifestyle program can and often should be “tweaked” to fit your personal needs. Your body won’t lie to you. If you began a program that worked well for a few months but you’re now starting to lose the momentum you gained, it’s time for a change. I encourage my clients to get regular blood work or Zyto scans every six months to make sure various nutritional and physiological measures are staying at their optimum level. There is no single eating style or lifestyle approach that is perfect for everyone. Constantly monitor your progress. If you start to feel poorly or regain symptoms, then it’s time to identify and address the reason. This typically means a change is needed in lifestyle habits, eating styles or supplementation. Wellness is a journey with many twists, so we should expect to need to make adjustments along the way.

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What are your thoughts about this analogy? Please share your perspective!

For more information on healing and motorcycles, please visit:

Diabetes and the Art of Motorcycle Riding

How Motorcycle Riding Improves Physical Health

 

Diabetes Myths that Need to be Busted

There are a multitude of diabetes myths still perpetuated and shared as “fact” even though they are blatantly false. Myths get perpetuated in odd ways. Case in point: the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) recently allowed Krispy Kreme donuts to sponsor a fundraising run. During the run, participants – many of whom have diabetes – ran a single mile, ate a dozen donuts, and then ran a mile back. The JDRF spokesperson defended this run by stating that “food doesn’t Debunking Diabetes Mythscause Type 1 diabetes.” Guess what? Studies done in Finland since 1991 prove she’s wrong!

I was blessed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1967 and have been researching it through life experience or active study ever since. I’ve studied the mainstream approaches to Diabetes control and have also studied and experimented with many natural wellness approaches. My desire is to help people with any form of Diabetes live life abundantly and realize that having Diabetes doesn’t mean their life is over. Following are a number of myths related to diabetes that need to be busted right now:

Myth #1: Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune condition that has nothing to do with food

Fact: While Type 1 Diabetes is indeed an autoimmune condition, autoimmune reactions are caused when the body secretes antibodies that attack cells of the body. Studies have connected dairy antibodies (antibodies the body produces to cow milk, not human breast milk) to an attack on the beta cells in the pancreas that secrete insulin. Countries having the highest intake of bovine dairy products (Sweden, Denmark and Finland) also have the highest incidence of Type 1 Diabetes in children. The connection cannot be denied. The studies found that children who were not given bovine dairy prior to the age of 7 months had significantly lower incidence of Type 1 Diabetes than those who were. My recommendation is to not give babies cow milk, cheese, ice cream or other dairy products prior to the age of 12 months. (Avoid soy, too, as other studies found that boys given soy formula had lower sperm counts as adults and that girls given soy formula developed breasts and began menstruating at an earlier age.)

The American Academy of Pediatrics Work Group on Cow’s Milk and Diabetes Mellitus issued this statement in 1994: “The evidence incriminating cow-milk consumption in the cause of type 1 diabetes is sufficient to cause the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue this warning, ‘Early exposure of infants to cow’s milk protein may be an important factor in the initiation of the beta cell destructive process in some individuals.’ and ‘The avoidance of cow’s milk protein for the first several months of life may reduce the later development of IDDM or delay its onset in susceptible people.'”

Having said that, let me add that dairy antibodies are not the sole causative factor of Type 1 Diabetes. Many other factors may be associated with Type 1 Diabetes, including viral infections, bacterial infections and some genetic factors. There is also some evidence that toxins in vaccinations may be associated with auto-immune over-stimulation that may contribute to Type 1 Diabetes. Genetic factors also play a role in whether or not a child’s body can counteract certain antibodies.

Myth #2: Only fat people get Type 2 Diabetes

Fact: I personally know several very thin, athletic people who have Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is caused when the body develops insulin resistance, or when the body’s cells no longer absorb and use insulin as they should. Although insulin resistance is much more common in people who are overweight, thin people may also develop it.

The pancreas of most – not all – people with Type 2 Diabetes typically works as it should. It works so well, in fact, that it over-produces insulin in response to elevated glucose levels. The excess insulin in the blood stream causes the body’s cells to become “overwhelmed” by the excess insulin, which creates worsening insulin resistance. Please read my article, “The Top 3 Blood Tests Almost Everyone Should Request” for information about having your insulin level checked. Unfortunately, insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so excess insulin in the blood stream may make weight loss very difficult if it is needed.

There are multiple potential causes of insulin resistance, and every person with Type 2 Diabetes may have very distinct issues that led to their body’s resistance. The fact does remain, however, that people who are overweight and who eat diets which are extremely high in high-glycemic carbohydrates are much more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than those who are thin and who eat a more balanced diet. Luckily, many people with Type 2 Diabetes have reversed their insulin resistance and reduced or even eliminated their need for prescription medication simply by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

Myth #3: My doctor says I have “pre-diabetes,” which means I don’t need to make any changes

Fact: The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes has become so high that a new term – Metabolic Syndrome – was developed for people who have the early stages of insulin resistance but who may not have highly elevated blood glucose levels. Those who are in the very beginning stages of insulin resistance, or “pre-diabetes,” often reverse insulin resistance by making simple lifestyle changes.

When I have clients whose blood work shows elevated insulin levels, I recommend the same regimen I recommend to people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Placing a prefix before the word “diabetes” doesn’t mean there’s nothing to worry about, it simply means early intervention is needed.

Myth #4: People with Diabetes have to eat a very restricted diet

Fact: This myth floors me. People with any form of Diabetes need to eat a very nutritious diet, but not one that is severely restricted. I will admit that my research and personal experience with diet cause me to disagree with the typical regimen prescribed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The ADA encourages people with Diabetes to eat high amounts of carbohydrates and to avoid fats, stating that carbohydrates are essential for energy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a client come to see me and claim their dietitian is trying to kill them. People with Diabetes can eat carbohydrates, but I encourage them to primarily eat low-glycemic carbohydrates that don’t require large amounts of insulin. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so weight loss is often dependent upon eating in a fashion that allows the body to produce less insulin. Eating in this manner may also improve insulin resistance, as a lower amount of insulin in the blood stream may help the body’s cells not be “overwhelmed” by it. For more information on effective eating styles for controlling glucose levels, please read: Why Mainstream Diabetes Diets Often Fail.

The typical eating style I recommend for people with any form of diabetes is highly personalized to meet the physical and personal needs of each person. I typically encourage the use of low-glycemic carbohydrates in somewhat limited quantities. I basically encourage my clients to use a similar eating style to that which I use. Why? Because the eating style I use – which is not at all restrictive – allowed me to cut my insulin needs to less than a third of what they were ten years ago and to reduce my Hemoglobin A1C from 8.5% to a typical reading of 5.7%. Hemoglobin A1C is an “average” of blood glucose levels over a three-month period. “Normal” levels are said to be between 4.5 – 6.0%. I know people who are not diabetic who have higher A1C readings than I do. Not bad for someone who’s had Type 1 Diabetes for more than 46 years! (On a side note, I recommend asking your doctor to run an A1C after age 40 simply to establish a baseline that can be used to spot any changes.)

The program I recommend to people who have insulin resistance or full-blown Diabetes is always very personalized. Cookie-cutter approaches don’t work. I customize the approach to be suitable for anyone of any age and any body size, including pregnant women and children – with physician approval.

Myth #5: I had gestational diabetes, but I’m no longer pregnant so I don’t need to worry about it

Fact: The incidence of developing Type 2 Diabetes is significantly higher for women who had Gestational Diabetes. Those women obviously need to make careful dietary changes while pregnant in order to maintain normal glucose levels and protect their baby, but should consider continuing to consume fewer carbohydrates and lower-glycemic carbohydrates after giving birth. Making post-partum dietary changes may help improve insulin sensitivity and may reduce the likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

Note: None of these statements were evaluated by the FDA and none are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition. This information is shared for informational purposes only and should never be used to replace standard medical care. Always check with your physician before making any changes to diet or lifestyle, and never adjust medication or begin taking supplements without your physician’s recommendation.

References:
Infant Feeding in Finnish Children <7 yr of Age With Newly Diagnosed IDDM. 10.2337/diacare.14.5.415 Diabetes Care May 1991 vol. 14no. 5 415-417.

Cow’s milk consumption, HLA-DQB1 genotype, and type 1 diabetes: a nested case-control study of siblings of children with diabetes. Childhood diabetes in Finland study group. 10.2337/diabetes.49.6.912. Diabetes June 2000 vol. 49no. 6 912-917

Infant feeding and the risk of type 1 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr May 2010vol. 91 no. 5 1506S-1513S

http://healthesolutions.com/the-cow-milk-connection-to-type-1-diabetes/

Nature Immunology 3″, 338 – 340 (2002), doi:10.1038/ni0402-338

http://content.nejm.org 

 There is a Cure for Diabetes, Gabriel Cousens, multiple references.

How I’m Different from Other Practitioners

The words, “Naturopathic Medicine” evoke a wide variety of different perceptions and misconceptions in people’s minds. Because of that, and because no natural practitioner is exactly the same, I thought it might be wise to share more details about my practice and about my philosophies of healing. As you read, please feel free to ask if you have any questions.

As I said, every natural practitioner is wonderfully unique. That’s part of what I love about my profession. Because we are very unique, we can each help a very different set of people. The points that follow provide information that will help distinguish me from other practitioners. Please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

  1. Not opposed to mainstream medicine: Many people incorrectly believe I am opposed to all forms of mainstream medicine and pharmaceuticals. That is not true. There are many situations where mainstream treatments are necessary. What I am opposed to are violations of the first tenet of the Hippocratic Oath: “Do no harm.” I see the results of serious damage caused by medical doctors and/or pharmaceutical medications every day in my office. THAT is what I’m opposed to. There are many situations where mainstream treatments are needed and are a huge blessing. It’s the times they are used incorrectly or in ways that harm the patient that I’m opposed to. I embrace an approach where mainstream treatments are seamlessly combined with holistic approaches. I am happy to consult with my clients’ doctors to request blood work, recommend medication alternatives, provide information on non-invasive test procedures, etc. Many of my clients bring their test results and blood work results with them to every appointment so that I can review their results in a holistic fashion, explain the potential causes of abnormal results, and explain what the results mean in a way that’s easily understood. I myself am alive due to insulin, so I recognize the need for mainstream intervention when needed. Clients in my office will never be made to feel inadequate for choosing to use pharmaceutical medications.
     
  2. Belief in the body’s ability to heal itself: I am a firm believer that the body will heal itself if given the support it requires. However, healing of extreme, chronic, long-term issues does not occur rapidly. Most chronic conditions require extreme dedication and commitment to changing lifestyle, food choices and negative thought patterns. My belief is that healing requires the removal of any toxins or issues preventing healing, and the identification of systemic weaknesses or nutritional deficiencies. If you remove the blockages that are preventing healing, your body will often heal. The “trick” is to dig deep enough to find all the issues preventing healing. I have had diabetes for almost 50 years, but still believe I can support my body so that it can heal itself. So far I’ve gone from taking 80+ units of insulin daily to needing less than 20. My pancreas has gone from not producing any insulin to producing insulin in small amounts. I’m not there … yet … but I’m on my way. The bottom line is that if you believe you cannot heal, you can’t. Reversing the emotional scars that make us cling to illness is essential for healing. My job is to help identify nutritional deficiencies, cellular damage, systemic weaknesses, toxic overloads, and negative thought patterns that are preventing the body from healing itself. I then work with you to create a plan to slowly but surely reverse those issues.
     
  3. Dedication to finding the cause instead of masking the symptoms: I was in the corporate world during a time when performing a “root cause analysis” of every business problem was the craze. These exercises were developed based on the belief that finding the cause of a problem was essential to correcting it. I apply this same approach to wellness. Instead of trying to solely minimize your symptoms, I use a variety of assessment techniques to find the CAUSE of your issues. I then work with you to create a plan to address and reverse the cause, thereby eliminating or diminishing the issue. Although I try to focus more on the cause than the symptoms, I will also recommend supplements and therapies to alleviate any symptoms which are negatively affecting your daily life and ability to function. For example, in the case of someone having daily headaches, I will recommend ways to alleviate the pain so that the client does not suffer while we perform the necessary assessments to identify what is causing the headaches.
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  4. Compassion – I’ve been there: I can honestly give thanks that I spent ten years almost bedridden due to illness because it helps me relate to a very wide variety of symptoms and health conditions. It also provided exposure to a wide range of medical specialties and procedures. During my illness, I dealt with diabetes, hypo- and hyperthyroidism, depression, adrenal fatigue, chronic sinus problems, extreme food allergies, multiple autoimmune disorders, severe neurological disorders, cardiac abnormalities, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, debilitating anemia requiring IV therapy, malnourishment caused by malabsorption, environmental sensitivities, liver disease, poor kidney function, hormonal imbalances, GERD, hypertension, and more. I was incorrectly diagnosed with MS three times and cancer once. When a patient or client sits across from me and breaks down crying because he or she is frustrated and discouraged beyond the breaking point, I often cry with them because I’ve been there. I understand. I KNOW what it’s like to be sick and tired of being sick and tired, to do all the right things and get no results, to be too ill to function yet have “normal” test results, and to deal with doctors who refuse to listen to your insight and and imply your physical issues are all in your head. I know what that’s like because I lived it. But … I also know what it’s like to heal. Of all the issues I listed above, I now only deal with a few very minor ones. Healing happens. My goal during a consultation is to listen more than I talk, to address every single concern or symptom you have, and to provide encouragement and support. In the midst of that, my goal is to empower you with the knowledge you need to achieve wellness and the support you need to be successful in pursuing your goals. (I cover more about this in my post, Why I Do What I Do.)
     
  5. Truly holistic approach: I work with my clients to address any and all imbalances in body, mind and spirit. Wellness is not solely a physical issue, and most physical issues have a spiritual and/or emotional component. Solely addressing the physical side of an issue is similar to chopping off two legs of a three-legged stool and expecting it to stand better than it did before. True balance cannot occur unless all three legs of the stool are healthy and whole. I use a variety of non-invasive but very effective techniques to help identify and address any issues that may be impeding healing.
     
  6. Comprehensive remedies: After assessing the issues affecting you, I will work with you to create a holistic plan to address them. One of the things I believe sets me apart from others is that I work with you to create a plan instead of dictating a long list of do’s and don’ts and then sending you on your way to do them. You are responsible for helping your body to heal, I’m merely a support tool. I will meet you where you are and will not ask you to make huge changes overnight. I will not overwhelm you with changes but will create a plan that allows you to make changes at your own pace. I will also provide support and encouragement every step of the way. YOU are the only person responsible for your health. My job is to educate and empower you to make the right choices to improve your health on a daily basis. The remedies I recommend will be comprehensive and may include any (but not all) of the following: lifestyle changes, modifications to eating habits, supplements, hypnosis or EFT to address harmful habits, gentle exercise, lymphatic therapies to boost immunity and speed healing, massage, acupuncture, Jin Shin Jyutsu (a Japanese art used to bring balance to body and mind), detoxification, aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, or specific protocols for health conditions that I customize to fit your needs. I NEVER use a “cookie cutter” approach. If you want an allopathic approach where the exact same supplement protocol is always used to treat specific conditions, I will not be a good fit. I will work with you to create a very customized, very personal plan. What is right for you may not be right for anyone else, and that’s ok. We are each wonderfully unique and each need a very personalized program to achieve the maximum wellness possible. I also don’t believe there is one, single dietary approach that is correct for everyone, nor do I believe extreme dietary habits are good. Again, I will work with you to develop a realistic eating plan that allows you to get the nutrition you need while providing your body with the building blocks it needs to heal itself. (For the record, I’m not raw or vegan. I support those lifestyles but typically encourage a more balanced approach.) On what may be an unrelated side note, I want to express to my Christian readers that I have no concern with the therapies I use being occult or satanic. Please ask me if you have any concerns with the origins or spiritual connections of any therapy. I’m happy to share the research I did that led me to accept the therapies.
      
  7. Education, education, education: My role is to teach and equip you to help your body heal itself. I do that by working one-on-one with you, providing hand outs and resources you can refer to after our appointment, and by always being available to answer questions. I also hold frequent classes and seminars to provide education on specific topics. If needed, I will schedule a grocery shopping consultation with you and will go grocery shopping with you to help educate you on label reading and how to make good choices while shopping. If you leave a consultation without having learned anything new or gained new insight into an issue, I’ve failed. I also assume I’ve failed if you leave without feeling encouraged and uplifted. I feel so strongly about the value of education that I travel nationwide speaking on natural health topics. I also speak locally and lead corporate wellness programs. If I can teach you enough about wellness to ensure you never need to schedule another appointment with me, I’ve succeeded. I may be in the only profession in the world whose primary goal is to put myself out of business. I’m ok with that. (Please feel free to contact me if you’d like more information on scheduling me to speak.)
      
  8. Unique assessment techniques: I use a variety of unique assessment techniques to identify and assess systemic weaknesses, nutritional deficiencies, and blockages that prevent nerve flow and physiological energy from freely circulating. In addition to reviewing blood work and test results from your MD, I use any or all of the following to identify other issues:
  • Bio-Impedance Analysis (BIA) Testing: To assess metabolic function and cellular hydration
  • ElectroDermal Scan (EDS): EDS measures nerve flow through acupuncture points in the body to identify systemic weaknesses, nutritional deficiencies and more. I can also use the EDS unit to assess your current supplements to determine if they are right for you or not.
  • Fingernail and tongue analysis
  • Iridology
  • Saliva hormone testing (more accurate than blood tests)
  • Food allergy testing

If you would like to receive additional information about scheduling a consultation in person or via Skype, please feel free to call me at 317.489.0909 or email me. Please also feel free to sign up to receive my newsletter. Thanks so much!