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 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.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 13

Nurture connections 

This week I’ve been working on Chapter 13, which is all about nurturing our connections with people and with the earth. I’ve been thinking about connections a lot this week with the terrible fires all around us here in Australia. I’ve been thinking about how important our connections with people are as we rise together during and after such natural disasters. I’ve been thinking also about our connection to the earth and how we have failed to look after her properly; we have forgotten how important our connection with our planet is.

So this blog is about how we can connect with the earth better; it is a shortened version of the chapter but it gives you an idea of how we might renew our relationship with mother earth.

There are two parts to this renewal; the first is to restore our connection with the earth and the second is to look at ways to look after the earth better. In the book I go into more detail but here are the ways of connecting with and looking after the earth that I think are important.

Ways to connect with the earth

  • Go outside

We should make it a priority to spend time in nature. Walking in the bush or swimming at the beach or tending plants in our own garden are all very therapeutic. 

  • Grounding activities

I have three favourite grounding activities. The first is just to walk barefoot on the earth; grass and sand are ideal. Walking on the beach has a double benefit if you put your feet and legs into the water. 

The second activity is to find a tree and either lean into it and give it a hug or sit at its base with your back against it. Imagine you are part of the tree with its leaves touching the sky and its roots sinking into the earth.

The third activity is to lie on the earth. I like the beach but any grassy area will do. Lie on your back and feel your weight sink in and be supported by the earth. Visualise how big the earth is and how you are part of her. Feel her energy flow into you.

  • Animals

Having animals in our lives has been shown in many studies to be beneficial but we don’t need research to tell us this. The joy that pets and other animals bring to us is immeasurable. Connecting with both wild and domesticated animals brings us healing and brings us closer to the earth.

  • Indoor plants

Tending to plants connects us with their cycles and their needs and can be a mindful activity. Enjoying the growth and changes in our plants brings us in touch with the natural world. Especially if we live in a city having indoor plants is a wonderful way to remind us of our connection to the earth

  • Gardens

Connecting with the earth through gardening is an easy way to bring more earth energy into our lives. Gardening is also a mindful activity and can be done by almost anyone on some level. Maybe only indoor plants are achievable but getting outside and getting our hands in the dirt is what we have been doing for centuries.

  • Pay attention to cycles

If you are a gardener you will notice the cycles of the earth. Even without spending time gardening we can pay attention to the cycles of the earth. The days get longer and shorter, the tides come and go, the moon goes through a 28 day cycle, the seasons cycle around the year. When we connect with the earth and her cycles we become more in tune with her energies. 

  • Consider taking herbs

Herbs have the energy of both the earth and the individual plant itself. When we take a herb we are not just getting the actions of all the parts of the herb but we are getting the energy of the whole. Plants and particularly herbs that we use have developed over millennia to have useful properties. 

Ways to look after the earth

  • Consume less

While generally decreasing our consumption of stuff the important areas to focus on are buying local and seasonal foods with minimal packaging, avoiding the use to single use plastics, eating less meat and dairy. We can grow some of our own food and avoid wasting food. We can make do with buying less stuff.

  • Use renewable energy

Using renewable energy instead of those based upon fossil fuels is an important change. As well as using renewable energy we can make an effort to use less energy in our homes and workplaces.

  • Cut down carbon emissions

This follows on from the previous point and I believe we all need to think about our personal carbon emissions. Flying and driving are large contributors to carbon emissions and we can take personal action by decreasing our travel where we can and offsetting the emissions when travel is essential. We can make a difference by using public transport and cycling or walking instead of driving; holidaying closer to home and having virtual business meetings instead of flying to meet in person.

  • Become an activist

This is my 2020 news year resolution – to become an activist and help bring about change. I encourage everyone who is able to become active in pushing for change. This might mean becoming active in a local conservation group or a worldwide organisation. It might mean lobbying the government for change or supporting a greener politician or entering politics yourself. 

  • Avoid investing in non sustainable companies 

For those of us who invest, either through our superannuation or out of it, we should avoid investing in companies that aren’t sustainable. Investing in renewables instead of fossil fuels can make a difference .

  • Talk about it

Start a conversation with your family and friends about looking after the earth better. Let them know what you’re doing and simple things they can do to help.

Let me know in the comments or by email if you have any more suggestions about connecting with and caring for our planet.

In my next blog I will go back to Chapter 2 which is about making choices and decisions on treatments.

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.

How to Heal Yourself – Chapter 1

Responsibility for your own Health

Well it’s the New Year and I’m enacting one of my resolutions, which is to write a blog each week. This week in How to Heal Yourself I have been finishing off  Chapter 1 – Responsibility for your own Health. This chapter is about the first phase in healing from any illness, which is to take responsibility for your own health. Too many people give away their responsibility to other people; to doctors or other health professionals. They follow treatment plans that they have no real idea about because they trust their doctor. But ultimately healing is done from within, not by external forces, so we must be responsible for all the factors that affect our health. This does not mean we don’t use conventional treatments it just means we take charge of our management and don’t just blindly follow along.

Responsibility means being both responsible and accountable for our own health and healing. Some definitions include being to blame but I don’t feel this is a helpful way to look at disease. Our lifestyles may be to blame for our illness but mostly we do the best we can in our lives. Blaming ourselves or others for our illness is not very productive. I like to look at it as being accountable. This means that we look at all the possible reasons why we might have become sick and try to change. It means we take account of the whole of our lives and seek to heal not only the physical body and the mind but also our soul and spirit. We can look at our lives and our situation in a holistic way and take steps to become responsible for our own healing. That means making changes that give our body the best chance to heal.

If you’ve read my other books you will know that I believe that our inner self, our soul, is the authentic self and through our soul we have a connection to universal spirit. When we connect with our inner self or soul we can better channel source energy and become the person we are meant to be. And this source energy, which is the energy of life, helps us heal. Much of the work of healing is about increasing the flow of energy from source through our soul to our body and mind. It is about being the person we are meant to be and this brings about healing on all levels.

The responsibility we have is to get in touch with our own soul and spirit and work in ways that enhance the flow of healing energy within our bodies and minds. We have to become accountable to ourselves for what we do to our body, mind and spirit. We cannot blame anything external to ourselves for our illness or disease; we must take the responsibility ourselves. We must do the inner work that brings our soul’s presence on to centre stage. We are ultimately responsible for making sure we live a life that is centred on our soul’s needs.

When we get sick we often feel out of control, plunged into chaos. Disease and illness destabilise our sense of control and solidity. We feel adrift from our life, as we knew it, especially if it is a serious illness. We may feel as if our bodies have let us down.

The feeling of loss of control is common with many illnesses and it often causes us to question everything. Indeed I believe this is one of the purposes of serious illness in our lives. It helps us question the life we had been living and encourages us make changes that bring about a better life. We can choose to not make the changes and let our illness be in control. Or we can become responsible both for the illness and our own healing.

I have been thinking about the steps we might take in order to take more responsibility for our own health. I think the first one is to learn to trust ourselves better. We need to trust that our bodies can heal and to follow along with our deep knowing about the best ways to heal. We need to trust our own body, mind and soul and its amazing capacity to heal given the right conditions. We simply have to trust that this is so and work out what the right healing conditions are on an individual basis. 

The second step is to trust the process of life and understand that illness has a deeper meaning for each of us. The changes we make that lead to our physical healing also lead to deeper healing and transformation. The transformation is ultimately about becoming our authentic selves and living a soul centred life.

The third step in taking responsibility is to make conscious decisions about our life and treatment plans rather than getting caught up in the machine that is illness and conventional medicine. If we don’t consciously make decisions about our life then they will be made anyway so we need to get conscious about it. 

The fourth step is to regain a sense of control and that is what the whole book is about – how to regain control of our lives in a conscious way in the midst of our illness.

My next blog will be about Chapter 2 – Choosing between Treatments. I am currently struggling with this chapter and finding it difficult to write but I think it is important to look at how we might choose between various treatment options for our illness.

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2020.

Carol