Our five-pronged approach to your health: using the wisdom of traditional medicine with the research from modern medicine as tools to support your journey back to health.
We know that your genes play a factor in your health, but your lifestyle has the biggest influence on your vitality, so we have created five areas that you can explore to address your symptoms and improve your overall well-being. The good news is that you don’t have to aim for perfection in each area, if one area is not accessible to you then you can be a little more diligent in the other areas and still reap the benefits. And it is surprising how little you need to do to create change - a little but often mindset can make a huge difference.
Most people think of nourishment as diet or nutrition, and of course, a whole food diet is going to help every aspect of your health including your friendly gut bacteria (microbiome), immune system, and endocrine (hormone) system. We will also look at how you are nourishing yourself in other ways. You can easily reach burnout if you don’t find the time for self-care. It doesn’t have to be grand gestures, it can be listening to the birds, taking pleasure in watering your plants, or belly laughing with a friend - something that gives you that warm glow. Doing something that you love, surrounding yourself with nourishing people, and listening to your body even for a few minutes every day will help you feel fulfilled. So, the what, when, and how you eat is important, but we will also look at the ways you are nourishing other aspects of your life.
We live in a culture that tends to think that you have to be fit to be healthy. But we like to encourage movement rather than exercise. Movement tends to need the goldilocks effect, too little will cause you to under-use your body (and it really is use it or lose it), but too much can actually have a negative effect on your hormones and immune system. Tuning in to your body to find the right amount of movement for your age, for the season, and where you are in your menstrual cycle (if you are in your fertile years) rather than comparing yourself to what you think you ‘should’ be doing is key.
With movement comes a change in your breath, which will nourish your nervous system, posture and support regular bowel movements. Finding movement that brings you joy is far better than forcing yourself to exercise if you don’t actually enjoy it. You may want to consider movement for health rather than to burn calories or change your shape, we often recommend walking, yoga, or tai chi as they are very accessible and have so many positive benefits for your brain health, insulin levels, and even your immune system.
Top athletes know that the most important days are the rest days because that is when their body can repair and become stronger. We are a nation that glorifies busyness and this is impacting every aspect of our health. One of the main culprits that are causing sleep problems is mobile phones - not just the blue light that is emitted that makes your brain think it is daylight, but the content from your news feed is very hard to digest just before bedtime. We will explore any lifestyle changes you can make to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep so that your brain can do a deep clean (via the glymphatic system), which will help you feel refreshed when you are awake and promote better decision making. And it is not just sleep that we will look at, it is important where possible, to build downtime into your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be 40 minutes of meditation while sitting cross-legged. Taking your awareness to your breath for one minute is a micro-meditation and you will gain accumulative effects from it. If downtime is alien or difficult for you, we may need to look at your belief systems around rest - is your self-worth tied up in ‘doing’, have you had to make yourself useful to feel valued? Events from our early years can reflect on how we value pausing.
We have all been through experiences that have been so overwhelming that we have not been able to process them at the time, so we non-consciously lock those feelings away in a box never to be felt again. But unprocessed emotions can cause symptoms such as IBS, headaches, or anxiety. There are some wounds that time never heals, and unexpressed emotions take up valuable resources. Having your emotional pain validated can free up energy for your body to deal with the day-to-day repair that is needed. And it isn’t always about transforming old painful emotions, sometimes finding ways to access your joyful playful side can be just as healing.
Even though industry and technology have evolved rapidly, our nervous system is still wired the same as our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We are essentially still cave people, but we’re now posh cave people with smartphones. If you are cast out from the tribe then your nervous system will perceive that as a life-threatening situation as you are more likely to be eaten by the wolves. It is really important for your health that you have a sense of community and social connection so that your nervous system perceives safety. Having a connection to nature also has a list of benefits for your health and doesn’t have to be a week listening to the waves lap on the beach, even looking at a picture of nature can cause changes in your brain. We may look into your connection with yourself so that you know what your needs are and how to get them met, explore your creative side and help you remember how to play.
The route in will be different for everyone, but once you improve one area you will see benefits in the other areas. For example, if you improve the quality of your sleep, then you will make better food choices which will improve your mental health. You can see from these five fields how health isn’t about your BMI or how ‘fit’ you are. This holistic approach may help you realize that you are actually healthier than you thought in some areas, and will help you focus on where you can easily make changes that will support you now and in years to come.