The more I learned about physiology over the years the more amazed and fascinated I became. To begin to understand the intricacies of how my body functions and how many processes were happening every moment below the surface without my conscious participation BLEW MY MIND! After years of study and experience I grew to form the same type of reverence one might feel while taking in the sheer beauty and magnitude of a natural landscape like the Grand Canyon, but for the microscopic, intelligent inner workings of my own body.
I now live in daily awareness of this innate wisdom and have formed a partnership with my amazing body. I do my best to listen to its messages and make shifts when it’s not happy. Of course I am human and sometimes make choices that don’t serve “the greater good”, but I feel that because I have this strong bond and serve my body well the majority of the time, it adapts and reestablishes balance more efficiently than it would otherwise.
Now even with this foundation I was not immune to the same mental & emotional steps many naturally go through when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in my 30s. Being as that it is an autoimmune thyroid disease, and the conventional view of autoimmunity is that it’s an expression of the body turning against itself, I felt betrayed by the body I served. How could this happen when I was so health-conscious? Was all the time and effort I prioritize for acts of self-care for nothing!?!
As a holistic healthcare provider I knew I had to take action, so after honoring the feelings that surfaced I dove back into research. What resulted over time was yet another layer of welcomed clarity! My incredible body was doing the best it could with the situation it was in! Though I ate well, slept enough, exercised regularly, and took supplements & herbs I WAS UNDER STRESS and had been for years (being the type A I was back then). I had been exposed to chemicals all throughout my life (some by choice and some beyond my control) that my body was doing its best to detoxify from. I was also being exposed to mold in our house EVERY DAY without my knowledge at the time. (I can only imagine how much more serious it would have been had I not been taking care of myself!) Once I got the &#@% out of that house, recommitted to my wise body, and took the necessary steps to heal I was able to reestablish my health again.
My overall point is that the conventional medical model that most people are familiar with often compartmentalizes things. (For example, hypothyroidism is so common in women my allopathic doctor just told me to go on medication and stay on it for the rest of my life!) What gets missed is the big picture a lot of the time.
THIS IS WHAT I LOVE ABOUT HOLISTIC MEDICINE! It takes the person, AS A WHOLE, into consideration. It focuses on supporting the innate wisdom of our bodies as opposed to simply quelling symptoms, attempting to block our bodies’ natural response to stressors, or cutting out malfunctioning glands or organs. Yes, there can come a time when that type of intervention is more necessary (and thank goodness for allopathic emergency medicine when it is), but the goal is to catch imbalances early and to work preventatively so that we’re not backed into a health corner.
The same perspective can apply to our view of wintertime illnesses. Our marvelous bodies do the best they can with the situations we’re in. Things like stress, processed foods, not sleeping or resting enough, eating refined sugar, and chemical exposure through seemingly simple things like our drinking water, body care products, cosmetics, synthetic fragrances, and household cleaning products deplete our reserves and therefore our immune system function over time making us more vulnerable to illness.
The choice is ultimately ours. The more conventional option when “addressing” illness, which is constantly normalized in our productivity-focused society, is to take something over the counter to suppress symptoms so that we can get on with our lives. This does not allow our bodies to go through their normal healing processes and can actually prolong symptoms (like fatigue and brain fog) and contribute to our overall physical and mental depletion.
The other option is to partner with our bodies, do our best to reduce the amount of stress they are under, AND be proactive by providing more support than usual as they do the amazing jobs they were built to do.
China Rose Zamora is a functional nutritional therapist, clinical herbalist, and yoga teacher who has worked in the holistic health field since 1998 and has proudly served her community as China Rose Wellness since 2009. When she’s not coaching women to rise to their health potential, practicing herbal alchemy, traveling the country via mobile tiny house teaching inspirational workshops to demystify wellness, or co-facilitating transformational retreats with AJ, her-eco warrior partner in adventure, you can find her meandering on the nearest hiking trail or jammin’ at a local, live music venue. China Rose is a firm believer that wellness encompasses everything that nourishes us, body & soul!