How to Heal – update

I really love living on an island and the last few days have been such glorious weather that the beach constantly beckons. Not only have we had clear blue skies and beautiful sunshine but we have the added attraction of whales visiting our waters.

I’ve been spending time outside both at the beach and in the garden and I can feel it doing me good. Sometimes, in winter especially, I spend too much time indoors and forget that I need to ground myself to the earth.

So feeling well grounded this week I’ve started writing again. My current project – How to Heal – has been on hold for a couple of months and although I have been trying to write it just hasn’t been flowing. This has mainly come about because a good friend of mine died in April. Dave was one of my best friends and although he lived in Queensland we regularly spoke and messaged each other. He was always on hand to read my writing and give me feedback and I will miss him tremendously. So I’ve been struggling with Dave’s death and the presence of coronavirus and at the same time have been busy starting a new medical practice. All of this has contributed to my lack of progress on How to Heal.

Earlier this year I had been blogging about my writing and publishing excerpts of the book but with my lack of writing the blog posts have also dried up. But I’m back into it now so I hope the blogs will become more regular.

Of course coronavirus has been foremost in all our lives and its presence has also changed the direction of How to Heal in various ways. Initially the book was just about how people can heal on an individual level from disease and illness. It addresses various ways that can increase our natural healing ability such as paying attention to our symptoms, our feelings and our intuition; by addressing lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep and exercise; and using herbs and various other techniques to promote healing.

Coronavirus made me question what I had been writing and I had to look at the bigger picture of how we had been mistreating our planet. Isolation meant more time for reflection and contemplation. The book has expanded from looking just at healing on an individual level to how we might help heal the larger system – society and our planet. And how Earth can help heal us. And grounding ourselves to the Earth is one great way to improve our health. So in my next blog I will write more about grounding and some of the science behind its health benefits.

My most recent book – Tools for Transformation – is still available as a free download when you sign up to my newsletter at www.drcarolhead.com.au

Our new practice


Mel Rose (nurse practitioner) and Dr Carol Head (general practitioner) are pleased to announce that they are joining forces to fill the gap in health care on Phillip Island. 

Our practice, Phillip Island Health, will be located at Phillip Island Sport and Rehab at 207 Settlement road, Cowes and will provide holistic health care. We will provide general medical care and our services will expand over time. We will not be providing care for emergencies or acute illness/injuries. Our special interests include chronic disease management, wound management and preventive health strategies. Dr Carol will also provide her laser acupuncture service.

Our services will include a home visiting service once the immediate threat of the coronavirus pandemic eases, bringing back the old style house calls. We will also provide face-to-face consultations and Telehealth.

From Wednesday May 6th Melanie will be providing face to face and telehealth consultations at the practice at 207 Settlement road, Cowes and Carol will provide telehealth consultations via video conferencing or telephone.  

Melanie will be available Wednesdays from 9am to 5pm and Saturday mornings. Carol will be available Monday afternoon and Tuesday and Thursday mornings for telehealth consultations. She will begin a regular laser acupuncture session in June.

With the threat of coronavirus still a concern we are very aware of the need to keep face-to-face consultations safe for everyone involved. Patients will be required to wait in their cars to be seen at the clinic and will be temperature screened prior to the consultation. If patients are febrile or have symptoms of Covid19 (sore throat, cough, aches and pains), they will be referred to the HUB for testing.

Face to face and tele-health services will be bulk-billed for everyone at this stage.

For house calls there will be a $30 out of pocket fee. The full fee will be payable at the time of consultation with Medicare rebates available. Pensioners will be bulk billed.

We are both very excited to provide this service to our community.

We can be contacted via telephone – 0478 483 389 or by email for appointments at this stage – drcarolhead@gmail.com

Online bookings will soon be available on our website – www.phillipislandhealth.com.au

Coronavirus

I have returned early from my locum in Broome due to the coronavirus and possible implications for travel. I didn’t want to get stuck in Broome or be away from my family and friends. My parents are elderly and at risk and I wanted to see them and convince them to stop their social activities for the time being. It’s good to be back home.

What can we do to stay healthy?

  1. Stay at home. This is the number one for a reason; this reduces transmission of the virus. Only go out for essentials – food and work (work from home if you can). If you do go out stay two metres away from other people.
  2. Hand washing and hand sanitising – this is especially important if you go out but should be part of your normal routine.
  3. Eat as healthily as you can. This may be hard if there is less access to fruit and vegetables but a good diet can help boost the immune system.
  4. Stop smoking. The complications of coronavirus seem to be worse in smokers.
  5. Supplements – I suggest Vitamin C (1000mg), Zinc (20-40mg) and Vitamin D (1000IU, unless you know your vitamin D is low in which case take more). These are all essential for the immune system.  Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce cold symptoms so if you get sick try to use these if you can get some and take more Vitamin C. Of course if you have iron or B12 deficiency it’s important to supplement these as well. A general multivitamin may help if your diet isn’t too good.
  6. Herbs. Your local naturopath or health professional can suggest herbs that boost the immune system. We don’t know if any herbs can target coronavirus but no doubt there will be some. In the meantime I am taking an immune booster that contains Astragalus and olive leaf.
  7. Exercise is still important and we can do home routines – there are many options on the Internet. For the moment we can also go for walks, runs or cycles if we stay two metres away from people and don’t touch surfaces that may be contaminated.
  8. Be kind to yourself. This is an opportunity to take life more slowly and look after ourselves. We can start new creative projects, learn to play that guitar in the cupboard, plant a vegie garden, play board games as a family, prepare meals more mindfully. Look after yourself in whatever way you think will help.
  9. Be kind to others. Life will shrink back to family and close friends and our local community. We will have to look after each other as best we can and if we approach this crisis with love and kindness instead of fear we will come through this together.
  10. Be present. Take time each day to find gratitude for what we have. Enjoy the sunrise or sunset. Reflect on what this pandemic is asking of us all. Don’t give into the fear.
  11. Connect with the spirit of the earth. Sit on the grass or on the beach. Walk barefoot. Garden if you can. Watch the weather, the sunrise and sunset, the stars at night, the moon cycles. Contemplate what the earth needs from us.
  12. Prepare for change. Like any major world event this pandemic will bring about great changes to our way of life. Let’s all work together to make those changes positive. How can we look after the earth better? How can we look after our communities better? How can we be more loving towards ourselves and others?

We are at a turning point and we can only hope that we rise to the occasion and not descend into panic and chaos. We can each take personal responsibility for this. Let’s live our best lives in this time of uncertainty and do what we can to help others. Let’s pull together as a community and not give into fear. Let’s choose to love.

Stay safe

Carol

Shifting paradigms

I’m into my second week in Broome and thankfully have settled in. I’ve got more used to the heat and the humidity and finished a week’s work in the clinic. The staff and patients are lovely and very welcoming and have helped me understand the processes and how to tackle their computer system.

I’ve been doing the touristy things including looking at the pearls. I did a tour of Willie Creek pearl farm yesterday and although it was very hot I enjoyed the drive through the local country to get there. It was a very rough track but eventually we arrived at Willie Creek where we were shown how they culture pearls and taken on a boat cruise up the creek. We didn’t see any of their resident crocodiles but were told they will be there somewhere. The pearls were beautiful with a lovely lustre but quite expensive so I haven’t bought any yet.

For the last few weeks I haven’t been writing much of my book How to Heal Yourself. I have been reflecting on what I have written and rearranging bits of the book to make more sense. I am about halfway through the writing of the first draft and of course it has taken longer than I hoped. It’s changed a bit from a scientific look at how to heal to much more of an holistic view of healing. I thought I needed to back up everything I wrote with science but then I realised that is the old paradigm and the old way of thinking. We are moving towards a new paradigm that doesn’t necessarily need scientific studies to prove something works. Instead we trust the innate wisdom of our own body, mind and spirit to lead us on our healing journey.

The old Western scientific paradigm needs to be replaced by new ways of thinking and being. We need to begin to view everything holistically. This means we look at the whole person and their connections with everyone and everything. Any illness or disease is pointing the way towards greater wholeness and if we can navigate towards this we can heal ourselves.

Of course my first book Holistic Medicine – beyond the physical is all about this process but as I am so socialised into the Western scientific paradigm I keep having to remind myself of the importance of holism. I have to make sure I frame what I write within this holistic paradigm rather than from the old paradigm. And this is hard for all of us because we still live in a society dominated by the old mechanistic, reductionist paradigm. But the shift is happening and as more of us begin to view life holistically and live within this framework we will influence others around us. As more and more people change their viewpoint and way of living the general worldview will begin to shift. How to Heal Yourself is therefore a book about shifting paradigms on a personal level. It will help people heal but this will also affect the general shift towards a more holistic world view. I’m excited to be writing this book and hope it will help many people.

My new book Tools for Transformation will be launched on March 30th. It’s a bit later then planned due to various changes I had to make during the publishing process. It will be available as a free eBook to people who subscribe to my email list or paperback copies can be purchased via my website or via online booksellers.

Broome

I’ve arrived in Broome to do a four-week locum at the Aboriginal Medical Service here. I arrived a few days ago and have found it a little challenging to adapt to the different climate and to the relative isolation. It has been hot and steamy with frequent thunderstorms. The high humidity is typical of the wet season and it’s a bit like being in a sauna.

I haven’t started work yet although I had orientation on Friday, which was a bit overwhelming with a complicated computer system and what looks like a busy clinic. I’ve been reading up on common conditions that I will encounter – ear and eye infections, skins infections, rheumatic heart disease and renal problems. Most of these are less common in Victoria and the treatment is often different. I discovered I knew one of the locums who is finishing up; we went to school together. So we have caught up a couple of times before she left and she filled me in on what I needed to brush up on. It’s an odd synchronicity to meet up with her again.

I’ve spent the last two days exploring Broome, between rain showers and thunderstorms. Cable beach is lovely but you can’t swim there in the wet with stingers and Irukandji lurking. There was a crocodile sighted at the Town beach last week so I’m a bit wary of even walking on some of the beaches! I’ve walked around town and it’s pretty quiet, not tourist season at the moment.

I find it is a bit weird to be up here alone and not know anyone. My usual network of friends and family are far away and although I can ring or text it’s not the same as face to face contact. I find myself reflecting on how much support I usually have and how when it’s not right there I start to feel a bit anxious. But then I remember why I have come – to have a bit of adventure and get out of my comfort zone, to experience a different culture and to hopefully make a small difference. I begin to trust again that I am looked after by the universe and that my inner self will take care of things that my logical brain cannot. And I relax into the experience. I begin to trust the process of my life again.

I haven’t done any book writing for a couple of weeks but hope to do some for next week’s blog post.

My new book Tools for Transformation will be launched on March 30th. It’s a bit later than planned due to various changes I had to make during the publishing process. It will be available as a free eBook to people who subscribe to my email list or paperback copies can be purchased via my website or via online booksellers.

Healing Earth

I have just spent over a week in Halls Gap doing some locum work. It is such a beautiful place with lovely native bush and so much wildlife. We would sit outside on our veranda and watch the currawongs, magpies and cockatoos as they came to visit. The blue wrens would occasionally make an appearance too but they can be shy.

Sometimes the kangaroos would graze in the yard and some adolescent emus would wander down the road. My daughter scared a snake in the yard and it took off towards the bush, probably as terrified of her as she was of it.

On our walks we saw more kangaroos and emus and the occasional echidna wandering along the track. The bush was dry but incredibly beautiful with tall eucalypts and grassland eaten down by the kangaroos. Climbing further up the rocky hills the understory thickened and the wallabies plunged away into the scrub as we approached.

The spirit of each wild place is evident if you just take a moment to feel and connect with it. And we need to take the time to connect with this spirit that permeates the earth. This is the only way we can begin to heal the earth from the damage we have done. We have to become part of her spirit again. We have to live within nature rather than battle against her. We have to regain our deep connection with the land and ask ourselves what we need to do to help the healing that needs to happen.

It is tempting to turn to Indigenous wisdom for answers and this will certainly help but the connection with the earth energies has to happen on a personal basis. We need to feel with our hearts the spirit of the earth and then we realise we are all one larger system. We are part of the earth and we can no longer afford to believe that we are separate and in control. We cannot reduce the problems we are facing to little bits. We need to view it holistically and to do what we need to become part of the system. Becoming part of nature again rather than trying to control everything.

As we lean into the earth and connect our heart with hers we can begin to know what she needs from us in order to help the system heal. For some this is healing on a personal level from the illnesses our separation has shaped; we come back to ourselves. For others it is work that supports the earth rather than destroys her. For many it will mean turning away from consumerism and towards more self-reliance. For most of us it will mean a radical shift in the way we think about the world. Our beliefs about how the world works need to change.

Go out in nature and open your heart to the connection we all need to make our lives meaningful. We need to connect with the earth to heal ourselves and the earth needs our hearts to help her heal. We will not succeed in this by thinking about it but rather by feeling out the way. By feeling what we each can do to make a difference. This inner knowing of how to help can come to us in dreams or visions, as sounds or sights or feelings. When we connect with the earth energies we open ourselves up to experiences beyond thinking that can help forge new directions. We just need to stop thinking with our heads and start living from the heart, opening ourselves up to the greater wisdom of the earth and being present to our true selves.

I haven’t been writing my book this past week because I wasn’t sure which direction to take. So I’ve been reading some great books by Stephen Harrod Buhner and doing some yoga and working. And I feel like the book needs some reworking so this week’s blog took on a life of it’s own. It sprang from my spending time with earth energies and realising that if I am open I will write what I need to write. What I write doesn’t have to fit into a western medical paradigm but is actually a different way of looking at our health and illness. I keep coming back to the holistic view.

My new book Tools for Transformation is almost ready and the ebook version will be available free on signing up to my email newsletter. Look out for this in the next few weeks.

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia.

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 5

Look after the physical – diet, detoxification and fasting.

This week’s blog is about Chapter 5 of How to Heal Yourself. This chapter is about diet and includes a discussion of detoxification and fasting practices. What follows are some of the ideas I have around detoxification; which is a process our bodies undertake naturally.

Detoxification occurs all the time and we don’t need special diets to detox our system, or coffee enemas, or laxatives. The system works best when we support it naturally. The best ways to support it naturally are as follows:

  1. Limit alcohol and other drugs – alcohol and drugs are mostly metabolised by the liver. Too much alcohol can be metabolised to acetaldehyde, which is toxic to the body. If you are stressing your liver with alcohol and drugs then it will not be detoxifying other potential toxins as efficiently.
  2. Drink enough water – this helps the kidneys eliminate wastes and also helps with loss of toxins through sweating and breathing.
  3. Get plenty of sleep – we naturally detoxify and restore ourselves while we sleep so getting 8-9 hours a night will help.
  4. Reduce intake of sugar – high sugar intake can lead to fatty liver and diabetes. Fatty liver can lead to decrease in the natural detoxification pathways.
  5. Reduce intake of processed foods, artificial colourings and preservatives – most processed food contains chemicals
  6. Eat more vegetables and fruit – these have natural antioxidants and lots of vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants help clean up free radicals in your body, which can lead to degenerative diseases. Vitamins and minerals are needed for the metabolic pathways in the liver and other organs that help detoxify chemicals.
  7. Decrease the load of chemicals on the body. Switch to natural cleaning products to decrease your exposure to toxic chemicals. Avoid pesticides and herbicides in the garden and try to eat organic food where possible.
  8. Switch to natural personal care products – products that you put on your skin should be as natural as possible to decrease the load of chemicals in your body.
  9. Sweating is a good way to help get rid of many toxins. Exercise is a good way to sweat more or you can choose to use saunas to increase the process
  10. Fibre in the diet will help bind toxins that are waiting to be excreted in the bowel. Sometimes these toxins can be reabsorbed through the bowel wall but if we have plenty of fibre this will help excrete more of the toxins. Eating plenty of vegetables helps but we can supplement with things such as psyllium husks.

My next blog will be on Chapter 6 – Look after the physical – clean living

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia.

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 4

Pay attention

This week’s blog is from chapter 4 of How to Heal Yourself and is about paying better attention to our parts and their messages in order to heal and live whole. The following is an excerpt.

In our journey to healing we need to pay attention to our whole self. This is hard to do because we are so used to living in a semi trance state and not paying attention to our lives. We let ourselves coast along and forget that our bodies are designed to help us find our way. In Holistic medicine – Beyond the Physical I explained more fully how to pay attention to our parts. I used the metaphor of each of us being composed of earth, fire, air, water and ether and described how we can pay better attention to each part.

Earth is our physical body and we pay better attention to this by looking at the meanings behind our symptoms and illness and also looking after the physical body better with good diet, exercise and sleep.

Fire is our intuition, our passions and our creativity and when we pay these more attention we find more joy in our lives.

Air is our rational logical thinking mind. Too often we pay this part of ourselves too much attention but we do need to listen to our logic in combination with our intuition; we need to pay attention to both.

Water is our feelings and emotions and by paying attention to these we find ways to deal with the issues in our lives.

Ether is the energy connections that bring about the signs and synchronicities that help us on our way.

 So when we pay attention to the five elements – earth, fire, air, water and ether our lives become easier. It’s like we have a road map on how to live. Our soul and spirit are in charge and they let us know what to do and what we need through our five elements. As we get better at paying attention to all our parts we begin to live a life centred upon the needs of our soul and spirit. It’s a new way of living so it takes some practice and perseverance but as we pay more attention we get better at it. It’s a paradigm shift from the Western reductionist way of thinking and being to a holistic way of thinking and being. Holism is the theory that all our parts are intimately connected and they cannot exist independently. We cannot understand the parts of ourselves as completely separate from the whole and the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.

Everything in our lives has a meaning beyond what is just the physical meaning.

My next blog will be on Chapter 5 – Look after the physical.

If you would like to buy a copy of my book – Holistic Medicine, Beyond the Physical – copies are available on my website for $30 including postage in Australia.

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 3

Use your intuition

This week’s blog is on Chapter 3 of How to Heal Yourself and is about using our intuition. 

Our intuition is one of our greatest gifts, which helps point us in the direction we need to go in in order to promote healing. We can use our intuitive skills to help us decide what treatments we use, what lifestyle changes we make and how we might change our lives in order to optimise our healing. Yet many of us ignore our intuition in favour of logic and rational thought. 

Intuitive thinking is unlike logical thinking; it doesn’t always make sense. It can bring us answers in flashes of inspiration or come about through signs and synchronicities. We don’t always believe intuitive answers because they don’t necessarily make logical sense. They appear from our right brain without a logical train of thought. The left brain thinks in a linear way, one thought leading to another to another and sometimes to a conclusion. But the right brain thinks in pictures and patterns and has sudden inspirations and ideas. 

These sudden ideas that come to us are worth following.

Intuition happens all the time if we pay attention to it. We just have to follow the leads it throws up and we begin to find answers to our problems that we hadn’t been able to find with our logical and rational brain. Of course we don’t get rid of our logic; we can use it to look at things in a rational and methodical way in concert with our intuitive thinking. We use both together and find our path.

We need to research and find answers that lead us on the best path to healing. This is done by using our rational brain to look at the information in a logical way but also by following intuitive hunches about how to improve our health. Health is such an individual thing because no two people are alike and an illness is an individual experience. It is a dis-ease of our body that we need to pay attention to and work out our own individual path to healing.

Intuition comes in varying forms and most of us have a preferred method of intuition. The four main methods of intuition are clairvoyance (clear seeing), claircognisance (clear knowing), clairaudience (clear hearing) and clairsentience (clear feeling). Each uses a different sense to convey intuitive information.

Our intuition is like an inner guidance system. It lets us know when we are on the right path and when we are not. It’s not just the right side of the brain but our gut and our feelings. They all connect to provide us with an inner guide. This inner guide is connected to spirit and soul. It knows what is best for us. Yet often we don’t pay it enough attention. We listen to our logical thinking when we need to listen to our inner guide instead. Whether it is through seeing or hearing, knowing or feeling we need to get used to paying attention to our intuition. We need to trust and follow it. 

This chapter includes ways to pay attention to and follow our intuition better. Next week’s blog will be on Chapter 4 which is all about paying attention to body, mind and spirit..

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 2

Choices – Conventional versus alternative therapies.

This week’s blog is about how we can make better treatment choices. It summarises Chapter 2 of How to Heal Yourself. We can explore both conventional and complementary therapies in order to supplement our own natural healing ability. Healing comes from within but in many cases we use conventional medical drugs or surgery as well as alternatives such as herbs and energy healing.

I am a medical doctor so I use conventional treatment strategies all the time with my patients but I also offer alternative strategies when they have been shown to work. This chapter on choices explores how we might decide if a treatment works or not based upon scientific principles. 

As I was writing about choices I found myself getting a bit too technical and scientific. But science has a prominent place in working out whether a particular treatment in useful or not, and whether the side effects are acceptable in terms of benefit. This chapter turned out to be very much about logic and rational thinking. Looking at the pros and cons of a particular treatment in a rational way. Of course logic and the left side of the brain always need to be balanced by the right side of the brain and intuition so I had to reorganise the structure of the book. I decided the next chapter would have to be about intuition and how important that is in judging what methods we follow in order to maximise our healing.

I am currently rewriting Chapter 2 to try and make it more readable; the first draft was a bit dry and scientific. I explore in some detail how we can use scientific research to make more informed decisions about treatment options. I discuss the use of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) and how we can apply its principles to help decide whether to pursue a particular treatment.

The chapter concludes with the three main ways you can make better choices about your health. 

The first is to become an expert on your disease. No-one is going to be more invested in your own healing than you, are so take advantage of this. Learn everything you can about your disease and the possible treatments for it. Delve into the scientific literature if you’re able or simply ask your health professional a lot of questions. 

The second way is to be an expert on your self. You know your body, mind and spirit better than anyone or at least you have that potential. Become the expert on yourself – pay attention to all your parts and interpret the messages from your inner self in order to work out the best path to healing. The rest of the book will help you pay better attention to what you need.

The third way to make better choices is to pay more attention to your intuition which is you inner knowing. Your intuition tells you what you need and this inner guidance will not let you down. The next chapter will explore paying attention to your intuition in a lot more detail.

I acknowledge and pay respect to the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which I work and live.

Disclaimer. This blog is for research and entertainment purposes only. The information given in this site is not intended to replace a therapeutic practitioner relationship.