I have spent many years as a naturopathic medical nutritionist working with people on the functional side of what may have gone wrong with them. Is it their adrenals, methylation status, a parasite, an allergy, a nutrient deficiency? And on the search usually goes.
This works for many, many people, but what happens when someone has what I call an ‘unresolving chronic illness’ that just isn’t responding to normal mainstream or alternative treatment?
And what if those people can’t tolerate the foods, meds or supplements to help and have ‘avoided’ so many foods (and possibly chemicals and even life!) that they are now left with an extremely restricted diet, a joyless life, a skinny backside and are still not getting better?
That’s what happened to me. I had to find another way to heal myself with ‘non-ingestive’ methods – ‘nil by mouth’, as I call it.
I started researching all the different ways I might be able to stop this chronic illness getting any worse and maybe even reverse it. It was a massive learning curve and one where I had to suspend disbelief quite a lot, but it worked. Ultimately, I now eat most foods safely, have got rid of a lot of pain and chronic fattigue, restless legs and more besides.
People kept asking me what I did, and I found it really hard to explain. So, being a writer, I wrote it down.
First, as a blog 'Healing Series' to document what I was doing. You can read that here on the Mind-Body Medicine blog, where I post lots of stuff as I see it - it evolves constantly, so sign up for email updates.
Then, the Healing Series - and much more - turned into the Healing Plan (see below), which guides you through the five main steps I took to get better. It was really tough to write, not only because it is so personal, but also because it is such a subjective and instinctive 'journey', but I did ultimately - after much wrangling - get it into some order that made sense. The beta readers agreed too - lump in throat time at their comments below...
Essentially, it has all influenced the way I practice and advise people now. My approach to illness, and chronic, unresolving ones especially, is to use a blend of functional, naturopathic and mind-body techniques to get people well.
For chronic illness, the approach now is to combine my TrulyGlutenFree approach with this Healing approach so we are coming at it from both functional medicine and mind-body medicine angles. I discuss this a lot more specifically in the Healing Plan so you know what to be doing when.
What do you mean by Mind-Body techniques?
We're not talking woo-woo here. This is scientifically-proven stuff with a shed-load of research behind it. Mind-body techniques might include meditation, hypnotherapy, CBT, brain-retraining, knowledge therapy and many more. They are aimed at
I tried 47 different techniques over the 3 years it took me to get well and now choose the ones I know work best!
People generally pay lip service to the 'stress' involved in illness - I did and I know A LOT about it. We all do. But it can have a massive impact on the immune system and inflammatory nature of our bodies. If you don't believe me, read this for a start.
But following a consistent, regular, targeted programme is what's required in many cases to unpick an unresolving illness - and that's what I had to do. It's not as easy as thinking positively and doing a bit of relaxation meditation; it's a complex job that takes time and dedication BUT you have something to do and you no longer feel like a victim. Best of all, you start seeing improvements and you wonder: 'how the heck...?!'
Anyway, my best advice if have an illness that isn't responding to normal mainstream or alternative approaches - and especially if you have one of the illnesses below - is to consider this different approach. I wish I had done it years before! It took me a LOT of suffering before I clocked it. Dur..
You can read more about the Healing Plan below - and my genuine hope is that it will help you too. To be honest, I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t – although I can’t yet eat hats!
STOP PRESS: New introductory article published here too for you:
If you prefer, I've made an A4 size paperback. It looks huge, but I made it this size as a lot of people buying the paperback either had vision problems and needed non-screen, or they wanted to make notes in it. You can purchase the Print on Demand version here. Note there are a lot of links in the ebook, which obviously you won't be able to follow in the printed version BUT you can join the Facebook group as above and access the most up to date digital version for links.