The Holistic Health Ring: Who do you want in your corner?
When diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, we unknowingly create a team of people that accompany us on this life-long journey. These people include:
- Primary Care Physicians
- Gastrointestinal Physicians
- Other inflammatory bowel disease patients
Our team supports and cares for us, gives medical advice and makes us feel like we aren't alone. The amount of knowledge that these people have regarding the different ways to help us feel better is massive, but what if there were more people who may be able to help?
When I got diagnosed with Crohn's disease, I also began with my small IBD team: my family, friends, primary care physician, GI doctor, and the amazingly wonderful IBD community. Each person had their own way of helping me to feel better, whether it be venting to my sister about how hard living with IBD was or getting medication recommendations from my GI. Once I felt that my disease had stabilized, I started thinking about how I could expand my team to incorporate different ideas and perspectives around living healthy with Crohn's disease.
Alternative practitioners and treatment
It is a trial and error process to find alternative practitioners and perspectives that resonate with you and how you want to manage your disease, but here are a few different types of people who may be able to help you feel your best:
- Acupuncturists: A professional trained in the Chinese practice of acupuncture, where fine needles are inserted into the skin at specific points to help promote healing and relieve pain.
- Holistic Nutritionists: A professional trained in natural nutrition and who educates individuals on the benefits of good nutrition.
- Health Coaches: A professional who motivates and helps individuals create positive, healthy lifestyle changes.
- Therapists (Massage or otherwise): A professional trained to help patients work through life's obstacles. A professional trained in therapeutic massage.
- Chiropractor: A professional who focuses on treatment through manual adjustment of the spine.
- Naturopathic Doctor (ND): A physician who focuses on identifying and removing barriers to good health by utilizing alternative medicine and holistic health modalities.
- Yoga Teacher: A professional who guides students through the postures of yoga while simultaneously helping them to feel more free in their own body.
- Reiki Master: A professional trained to open up closed energy centers within the body in order to help promote balance and healing.
Learning to thrive with Crohn's disease
As a newly diagnosed patient, it was natural for me to come out fighting the disease. However, by expanding my team to include different types of practitioners and perspectives, it has helped me break down the wall that I had built up around myself and learn to thrive with IBD. These professionals had knowledge and skills that I didn't know I needed and making my IBD team larger and more diverse has helped me feel healthier than ever.
While I know that each person's disease and perspective is different, I hope that you all think about incorporating these types of practitioners into your own teams. They may have new ideas regarding your treatment protocol that you never thought of before or help you find a way of managing your stress that is just what you need.
Incorporating both GI doctors and alternative medicine practitioners will be tough at first, but with a disease like IBD, you can never have too many people in your corner.
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