When I was little, my mom and I had a deal. Antibiotics were not the first round of treatment for a cold, so if I wanted antibiotics (which, after having strep throat three times in one month, you can bet I wanted them) I had to first try to heal holistically.
Which inspired a pretty deep-seated hatred of holistic remedies in me. Growing up I tried everything. Acupuncture, homeopathy, medical intuitives, energy work, reiki, teas, herbs, sugar pills!
But when it came right down to it, holistic treatments could never rid me of an infection—and being undiagnosed with primary immunodeficiency disease—healing from infections was pretty imperative. And immediate medical treatments were usually necessary.
As an adult, I’ve had to take a step back and start looking at holistic treatments differently. When you expect a t-shirt to keep you warm in a snowstorm, you’re probably going to be pretty grumpy when you freeze to death. But if you have a t-shirt on under your big insulated coat, hey—you probably won’t die, and you may just be a little more comfortable than if you were naked.
And that’s my new view on holistic medicine.
It’s not going to cure you of your rare and genetic diseases, but it’s going to make life just a little more bearable. Here are the holistic and alternative treatments that have actually improved my life, made coping with the pain and discomfort of my symptoms easier, and have allowed me to push myself hard and do a little bit more every day.
Cranial Sacral Therapy
I’m a very hands on person, so most of the therapies I’ve tried are physical ones. My body can’t even process WATER for godsakes, so no Chinese herbs are not going to have any actual effect on me. Cranial Sacral Therapy however, has worked very well for me and for many other patients I’ve spoken with!
What is cranial sacral therapy? This is a very specialized light-touch massage that works with the cranial structures and temporal bones. Treatments generally last about one-hour and tend to make me fall into a very deep, relaxed sleep. I’ve found this is especially outstanding for treating TMJ.
My recommendation: If you’re in South Florida, Boca Raton, Broward County, Palm Beach County or Miami—seek out a woman named Carrie Fisher. She works in Boca Raton and is one of the best cranial sacral therapists in the country.
Chiropractic Therapy, Adjustments
You can find me at the chiropractor once, twice, or even five times a week if need be. Here is a list of symptoms I can avoid taking narcotic pain killers for by having an adjustment instead:
- Back aches
- Joint Pain
- Pain from stress
- Neck Pain
It also helps to make a huge difference when it comes to breathing issues. Congestion, asthma, bronchitis—these can all tighten your airways and having an adjustment helps you open it all back up again.
Every chiropractor has a different style. Some have a very light touch and some crack you like they’re at all you can eat crab buffet.
I think out of all alternative therapies, this is the most effective one for me. I’ve made a commitment to really make my appointments a priority in my treatment. I know that if I’m starting to get a migraine, I need to drop what I’m doing and get an adjustment. If I’ve just leaned down for thirty minutes to wash the dog, dry off—and get an adjustment. Keeping your life in check with chronic illness is all about PREVENTION and getting adjusted is one of the best ways to do that.
My recommendation: If you’re in the Broward County/Palm Beach County, Deerfield or Boca Raton area seek out The Deerfield Health and Wellness Center (http://www.deerfieldhealth.com/) to visit Dr. Wald. I can’t say enough good things about this dude. Becoming one of his patients was literally one of the best choices I’ve been able to make in my treatment. Period.
Dr. Wald is one of those doctors who listens, observes changes, and is always willing to try a new technique to give his patients the edge over their illnesses. He uses a variety of treatments in his office, including acupuncture. Most importantly his clinic is a walk-in and 99% of the time you’re able to get a same day appointment. His office also has two skilled masseuses, as well as Olin—who does the kind of deep-tissue massage that kind of makes you cry while it’s putting your back into spasms—but then you get off the table and realize you can lower your shoulders an inch and a half more than you could when he started. So that’s always good.
In my family, we have a history of…uh…let’s call them lady problems. Whether that’s endometriosis, dysmenorrhea, ovarian cysts, or infertility—you name it, my clan has dealt with it. The good news? We have our very own acupuncture genius in the family. Acupuncture is a great alternative therapy for chronic illness as well.
Scared of needles? Ask your acupuncturist to start by trying one on your hand. You barely feel a thing, and soon you won’t be afraid to have them poking you in the temples, ears, or stomach.
Acupuncture is a proven remedy and has been recommended by not some, but ALL of my doctors over the past few years. Yes. It. Works.
My recommendation: Particularly if you’re having difficulty with your menstrual cycle, PCOS, ovarian cysts, hormonal imbalances or infertility issues and you’re in the Broward County, Palm Beach County, Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach, Wellington, or Delray Beach area check out Dr. Susan Schiff at Acupuncture Associates. (http://gotacupuncture.com/) (Here’s a neat little statistic on her by the way: Dr. Schiff has helped over 500 couples achieve pregnancy during the course of her career)
What’s been your holistic healthcare experience? Comment below!