Natural Health: Beginning the Process

May 20, 2010

Lately I’ve become extremely interested in natural wellness. Usually people in the medical field have a reputation for being reliant on drugs and medication, and as a nurse I do believe that they have their place. In my field (cancer and blood disorders) I see patients where things have gone horribly wrong in their bodies, and medications can save or extend their lives but also take an overwhelming toll on them.

Up until this year I have taken my health for granted. Growing up I would experience the occasional sickness or headache, but nothing too out of the ordinary. This year I have felt betrayed by my body several times over, and it’s jolted me into awareness. I still consider myself a healthy person overall, but I want to start taking care of myself naturally before things get worse.

I’ve begun actively seeking non-drug treatments for any issues I have. Personally my main concerns are infertility, nutrition, and headaches, but underneath that is the desire for overall wellness. Some of the things I’m pursuing are acupuncture, massage, chiropractic care, fitness, and a nutritional overhaul. It’s going to be a process, and unfortunately it won’t be cheap. You’d think that since I work in a hospital I’d have great insurance, but that’s not the case. I have in-network benefits only and that network is basically limited to the hospital system.

Of course I’m not completely shunning the medical community; it is my profession after all, and one I’m passionate about. But I’m not the kind of nurse that pushes medication on my patients; I encourage them to decide what is best for them and to consider other options. I personally still see a primary care doctor once a year for physicals, and I do plan to undergo fertility treatment. Maybe the natural treatments & changes I’m taking on would allow me to get (and stay) pregnant, but I’m a little bit impatient in that area.

I’d like to share the journey with you, so from time to time I’ll be posting about each aspect of natural health & treatments that I’m experiencing.

What are your health concerns? What kind of natural solutions have you found effective or ineffective? Is there anything I should try?

Posted in: health

Comments on Natural Health: Beginning the Process

  1. 1

    From CW:

    Hi there–I’m new to your blog, but I wanted to chime in. I’m going to be starting nursing school full-time in the fall after a career change, and I’m extremely interested in “natural health.” I think there is a trend happening to consider complementary/alternative medicine as “integrative medicine” which has its place in the traditional medical environment rather than opposing it. My own primary care physician is very supportive of using lifestyle changes and anything besides medicine as a first-choice option to treat many ailments. I’ve been opting for natural “cures” for years now as opposed to just taking a pill. For one thing, lifestyle changes like good nutrition and exercise can work wonders, and I like that because it doesn’t just fix what’s wrong: in a lot of cases, it prevents or treats the root of the problem.

    Anyways, I don’t know what your fertility issues are, but my doctor thinks that I might have PCOS, so my doctor has prescribed a low glycemic index diet to help with that. I don’t have problems with headaches, but I know that stuff like stress management, meditation, yoga, and possibly even some herbal remedies work.

    One funny anecdote about my experiences with “natural” therapies: a couple years ago I had a nasty fungus in my fingernail. I tried a couple of OTC drugs which didn’t work. Then I found something online that said vinegar and Vick’s could help. So I soaked my nail in vinegar a couple times a day and rubbed Vick’s Vapor Rub on it overnight. It started to heal pretty quickly after that. It’s pretty amazing what power a common household product can have!

  2. 2

    From kapachino:

    I’m so glad to hear you’re starting nursing school soon! I love encouraging new nurses because it’s such a satisfying career. More like a calling.

    A lot of the ideas that you mentioned are stuff that I’m thinking about. Can’t wait to try different things and see what works!

  3. 3

    From Lauren From Texas:

    I like that you don’t push medicine. 1 of my doctors just writes a prescription at the drop of a hat… another likes to do “pulses” of medication & then take me off as soon as possible. I like that way better. I recently went to an essential oils class & it was so interesting! I really want to get into this more… thanks for the additional inspiration. :)

  4. 4

    From Kelly:

    Fun! A friend of mine (actually, you know her – Leilani) has been recommending her chiropractor to me for a long time. In addition to chiropractic he does a lot of “whole health” stuff. She has epilepsy, and because of Dr. Krupka has been able to get off all the medications and has her epilepsy completely controlled with Omega-3 fish oils (there may be more to her treatment than that, but I know it’s a big part of it). I started reading Dr. Krupka’s blog on his site and decided instantly that I like him. :-) I’m finally going to fork up the extra money to get better care outside of my insurance benefits. You might want to check him out.

  5. 5

    From kapachino:

    Of course I know Leilani! Tell her I said hi. :)

    The chiropractor I went to recently sounds similar to the one you mentioned. They are very big on holistic health at his clinic and not just treating the symptoms but getting to the cause and preventing problems that may arise. He is also a clinical nutritionist. I’m really excited about becoming a patient there, but I just have to come up with the money first!

  6. 6

    From Emily Jane:

    Oh I’m excited to read about your journey in natural health options. I too am in the very limited insurance boat – in that $150 of my pay every month goes to mandatory benefits that get me about $300 of coverage in each option for a year. I don’t quite understand the math either. :S My biggest concern is chronic back pain – because it’s so one sided it’s confused most of the people I’ve seen, I’ve tried chiropractors, physios, acupuncture, massage, cortisone shots and even reiki and so far no luck – I use an electric heat pad and tennis balls for trigger points throughout the day right now. I’d love to find something that works – I take vitamin supplements and drink lots of water too, but I’m still open to other things. Best of luck!

  7. 7

    From kapachino:

    Wow, sounds like you’ve tried everything! I don’t know a lot about this stuff yet, but as far as chiropractors go, they are very different from one another. Lots of them just give you a temporary fix so you’ll have to keep coming back to them, instead of searching for the real cause.

    There are also homeopathic MD’s out there, which is another option I was considering, but decided to go the chiropractor/nutritionist route. Might be something to consider!

  8. 8

    From Emily Jane:

    My chiropractor was JUST like that!! “Come back three times a week” and then after a year, told me he couldn’t fix it… but that I should just keep coming back to work on my posture anyway. At which point I never returned lol. Nutritionist… that’s a new option! I will have to look into that! Thanks for the suggestion :)

  9. 9

    From Elizabeth:

    I think this is WONDERFUL, but you knew that. =)

    If you need ideas for smoothie recipes, just let me know. I really give those credit for changing my life, as corny as that sounds. They’ve gotten rid of any acne I had, and I’m a lot more comfortable in the heat than I ever was.

    Also, this is a loooong shot in terms of miscarriages, but it was cheap enough to make it worth it for me–my chiropractor told me some women can’t process folic acid very well, so she recommended a more biologically activated form. After doing some research, 5-MTHF, or Metafolin is what I came up with from that–I ordered some from Solgar on Amazon. This is supposed to help with loads of other things like depression if you have a hard time breaking down folic acid.

    Vitamin D–so important! I am actually taking 7500 iu a day, and I think it’s making a difference. I was diagnosed with a deficiency by my endocrinologist, but she told me that she tells all of her patients to take it, deficiency or not.

    I’ve also put in a ton of research for all the other vitamins I take, but those are boring. =)

    I’ve also been drinking loads of organic Raspberry Leaf tea. Apparently that’s really good for reproductive health and good linings. I love the taste too.

    Anyway! Best of luck with all of this. It’s worth feeling better with or without pregnancy plans. Sorry for rambling!

  10. 10

    From kapachino:

    I would love your smoothie recipes! I’ve heard a lot about them but haven’t tried any yet.

    I’ll definitely look into the folic acid thing. I also have a Vitamin D deficiency and take 2000 IU a day. I should probably be taking more, so maybe I’ll just increase that myself. My husband just told me about an article that was about a long-term study of vitamin supplements, and it showed that the only vitamins that really make a difference are prenatals and Vitamin D. Coincidentally, that’s what I’m taking!

    I’ve heard of the raspberry leaf tea thing too, but I can’t stand the taste of tea so that’ll be a last resort thing for me. :)

  11. 11

    From Nikki:

    Kat – Robert’s family read the Ultrametabolism book and started eating according to the suggestions in the book. Since starting this, they have all lost a lot of weight, Robert’s mom is no longer on diabetes medicine (that is huge for her), a big rash of warts Robert has had since grade school disappeared, and they’ve all had more energy, no headaches, etc. I wish I could say I followed the same suggestions, but I like ice cream too much. But I would really recommend getting the book and reading it and seeing what you can put into practice. Honestly, Robert never gets sick, never has headaches, and has a clear mind and lots of energy because of how he eats.

  12. 12

    From kapachino:

    Wow, that sounds awesome! I’ll check it out. I don’t think I can give up ice cream either though, so maybe if I just follow MOST of the recommendations it’ll help. :)

  13. 13

    From Nora:

    My biggest issues are my allergies; I know that sounds crazy but they are a huge reason I can’t be as healthful as I want. That sounds like a cop out probably but I’m allergic to anything that grows on a tree, a vine, in the ground, (basically, that has pollen in it) not to mention soy, fish, sesame seeds. I do the best I can with what I’ve been dealt for now.

    However, I’d like to have fewer headaches (a migraine once a month thanks to the “lady friend,” is really annoying) and fewer sinus infections (i’ve had the sinus surgery, but i have small sinuses, so may need to do it again). I’m curious to hear what you’ve got to share.

    I think I just need to suck it up and go see a nutrionist to get some help in that area first. I don’t eat awfully by any means, but I know my body doesn’t have 100% of all it needs, you know?

  14. 14

    From kapachino:

    Nora, my chiropractor would love to have you as a patient! One of the first things he treats is allergies, and he’s also a nutritionist. Some chiropractors just give you a temporary fix, but others really treat the whole body and get to the cause. It’d be worth checking into!

  15. 15

    From Ashley:

    My biggest health concern is simply feeling energized (and migraine free) day to day. It isn’t as big of a problem in my life as it was when I was younger, because I have learned to take care of myself decently, but I could be doing so much more. I have a real challenge keeping up with regular exercise, but my biggest challenge is to eat well. I never learned how to eat properly growing up and I’ve improved so much, but I still feel behind people my age in this kind of knowledge. I also have such a lack of interest in preparing food and cooking and just generally putting any effort into it. I’ve thought about writing posts on the subject, but I still don’t feel like I’m at the point where I’m ready to make a big change. I do feel like I’m getting closer to that place, though.

    The slow changes I’ve made over the last several years have gotten me to a point where I no longer experience regular headaches and most days I feel pretty good. My doctors always emphasized eating right and exercising as a good solution, but I still didn’t get the message for years.

    I’m excited to follow your journey!

  16. 16

    From dadman:

    The thing that has helped me the most in dealing with headaches is to set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it. I like to be in bed between 10 and 11 and up at 6 or 7. And do that every day, not just work days. That and losing some weight (duh) seemed to help me. And it’s all natural:)

  17. 17

    From Rae:

    Good for you! I am not in any way anti-drugs, but why not take the best from every method of healing? I have heard great stories of infertile women being treated with acupuncture, so I am hopeful that it may help you. I am glad that you are trying all of your options and hope that it goes well.

  18. 18

    From Hannah Katy:

    I think it is so awesome that you are getting into this. The oldest and most simple remedies are the ones that work the best! I am thinking about getting into some Chinese medicine this summer.. I cannot wait to see where this journey leads you. I will be faithfully following.


    Hannah Katy

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