Naturopathic Medicine & My Optimum Wellness Plan
Years ago, my good friend gave me the book "Natural Choices for Women's Health." It was my first look into the world of Naturopathic Medicine and the eastern approach to health. It's funny how Naturopathic Medicine is labeled "alternative" when (in my opinion) it should be looked at as a primary form of healthcare. Naturopathy favors a holistic approach to healing, seeking to restore and maintain optimum health by emphasizing nature and our bodies self healing process. A key principle is treating the WHOLE person. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, environmental, and social aspects are all looked at when treating a patient (taking into account that the health problem could form from any of these areas). Then, instead of merely suppressing the symptoms (hello synthetic drugs), naturopathic physicians seek to treat the underlying cause of the problem so that you are not just stuck in a vicious cycle of pain, drugs, pain, drugs. The idea of prevention also jived well with me. Don't wait for an issue to come up, do what you can NOW to prevent it.
Consulting with a naturopath was something I've wanted to do for a while, but with my money going towards the obligatory bills (rent, groceries, car insurance, medical insurance, etc) I didn't allow myself to spend what I had left on an appointment. With a few shifts in my life and the deep passion for health and optimum wellness, I knew it was time and it was worth it. I found Dr. Ye through my yoga community and from our first meeting knew she was my doctor. We made plans to meet for my first consultation and spent over an hour discussing my past medical history, activities, lifestyle, diet, relationships, and daily practices. She created a wellness plan for me that I have been excitedly following for the past few days. My personal wellness plan centers around mindfulness and yin/grounding activities for my vata dosha.
So what does that look like? Yesterday was a pretty perfect example. I woke up and did a short yoga asana practice followed by a longer than usual meditation practice (orders of the doctor! I need to SIT more haha) I made myself a protein rich breakfast and ate it in complete silence. No phone, music or magazines to distract me. Mindful eating means unplugging and relishing the taste and texture of the food. Multi tasking is a no-no (even though I'm sooo good at it!) ;) I went for a swim that ended up being a meditation in itself. I don't know if it was me or the Ocean but I was gliding through water and for a second forgot that I am a human and not a mermaid! Off to my friend Tara's house who gave me an amazing deep tissue massage with calming oils lavender and frankincense (and then we proceeded to geek out on the amazing benefits and healing properties of essential oils!) Feeling ultimate relaxation, I returned home to for a few hours before heading to Open Space for a relax deeply class. Yep, it just keeps getting better and better. Feeling ridiculously calm and mellow, a friend and I headed to Olive Tree for a delicious Greek dinner and some girl time before calling it an early night and getting to bed at a decent hour.
I am very aware that this was a special case day although I wish it wasn't. It is the one day I don't work this week so I really did exactly what I wanted. Even after only a few days of these practices, I feel myself becoming more centered. I'm not jumping from one thing to the next, not feeling antsy and unable to sit still, and focus is coming a lot easier. There is some stillness residing in my body and mind. For this lover of change and movement, stillness is an unfamiliar but welcomed feeling!