Many individuals who come to me with ill health are caught between two places. The first is: my body is breaking down and no one seems to be able to tell me what the matter is. Symptoms are concrete, frequent, specific, and real. There is something specifically wrong with me. Why is it so hard to get a diagnosis? The second space is: I am anxious and know that stress plays a role in this illness, but it seems to me that the illness is causing the stress, not the other way around. But all my doctors tell me that […]
The ubiquitous, frivolous, and irresponsible abuse of plastics in our culture of throw-away consumerism has led to a significant environmental burden of growing concern. We have all probably heard about the huge floating continents of mostly plastic trash in that are clogging our oceans but we are just starting to learn about how microscopic particles of plastic have found their way into our food. These small particles of plastic, or microplastics, are difficult to track and quantify but recent studies have shown they are increasingly present in our food supply. Table salt, seafood, and both tap and bottled water […]
We hope the holiday season provided you downtime to experience some disengagement from the press and drive of life’s demands. We call this slowing the flywheel — that instrument within that spins and keeps the engine roaring and the wheels turning fast.
This is actually our autonomic nervous system at work, reacting to the pressures it perceives as danger by sending the signal to the body to release more stress hormones. This is to activate our defense system, get our dukes up, be ready to slay the dragon in its many forms. Day after day, year after year of […]
At Plum Spring Clinic, our holistic approach to healing chronic illness is grounded in the conviction that our well-being arises from our self-care in five major domains: happiness and resilience to stress; nutrition; exercise and movement; rest and sleep; and toxin avoidance and elimination. This article provides holistic health tips and features a brief discussion of each of the pillars of wellness.
Pillars Of Wellness
Happiness and Stress Resilience
First in the pillars of wellness, happiness, may seem to be simple; however, it takes no less attention or practice to achieve and is certainly no less important than the other four. […]
What seems like a long time ago, I was teaching in a medical school course that introduced medical students to different philosophies of healing. A person I later got to know and become friends with, a medicine man in the Cherokee tradition named Hawk Littlejohn, gave a lecture on how he understood his approach to compare with conventional allopathic medicine. He talked about understanding illness as a loss of balance between primary forces. I’m not sure how much I remember from his talk and how much I later learned – having been stimulated to read and study Native […]
As I work with adults who experienced childhood trauma, I’ve increasingly become aware of a child’s belief, deep down inside many of these folks, that they are the cause of their own unhappiness. The chronic symptoms that have brought them to see me reflect how this core belief has lingered into adulthood in crippling ways.
Most children in unhappy settings experience not only physical discomfort but too frequently adults who are inclined to blame and be critical (the lingering residue of their early trauma). Well into adulthood, individuals who grow up in such environments, where the pervasive message is that mistakes […]
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And no, it is not snake oil.
I’m old and pretty active. I play racquetball several times a week, I garden and haul big, 50 pound bags of “stuff” around and dig and bend over and weed and Kathleen makes sure my vegetable intake is pretty good. I also spend a lot of time sitting in a chair talking to people.
I do have some cardiac risk factors and my family history in that regard is not so good. One of the clinical tools we use in our medical practice is a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) machine that […]
I was a first-year medical student and like my classmates, vulnerable to developing whatever disease we were studying. Or at least compulsively worrying that I was in the early stages of its development. This week we had learned about anterior compartment syndrome. This is a condition where trauma to the muscle just on the outside of the shin-bone causes bleeding and swelling. That muscle happens to be contained in compartment composed of the tough fibrous sheet – called the fascia – that surrounds the muscle.
Because that sheath is so tough, the swelling has nowhere to go and compresses the muscle. […]
Functional Medicine: thinking of your body as a factory
In our holistic medical practice we are increasingly looking into metabolic disturbances that often have far reaching and unpredictable consequences on health and wellbeing. Given increasingly sophisticated technology, we can pull away the curtain that then reveals blockages in normal body functions.
One analogy I use is to imagine a manufacturing facility that makes a lot of different products of amazing abilities. One of the surprising features of this facility is the relatively simple supply chain. It can make widgets that are used in lots of different products […]